Sen. Shelley Capito, from West Virginia, has been very engaged with figuring out ways to bring more broadband to her home state of West Virginia. The state is a challenge for a few reasons, not the least of which is the beautiful but tough to serve geography. There are a lot of mountains and “hollers” in the state and a lot of rocks and natural barriers. There are also only a handful of independent carriers in the state, and while the senator made a point of complimenting NTCA member Hardy Telecom, led by Scott Sherman and his engaged board of directors, the state struggles with ways to entice price cap carriers to invest in the state’s infrastructure. The senator even noted that she is often complimented in D.C. for the great service that Hardy provides from those who have stayed in that lovely area for a weekend away from Washington, D.C., and are always impressed (and likely uninitiated) with the services that a cooperative like Hardy can provide.
Scott Lively, on our GA team, and I have some digging to do on avenues and possible partnerships to explore to see if there are ways to help the senator, help the state and ensure resources are directed as efficiently as possible. But I always appreciate the opportunity to have the discussion with an elected official and share what the independent telcos are doing to bring robust broadband to their communities, as well as to seek assistance in interesting partnerships to allow them to do more of the same in a bigger part of the state.