NTCA Members

Home Telecom: 'Telecom 2020: A Vision for the Future'

“Any Content, Every Device, All Networks”

Imagine that you wake up tomorrow and want to watch your favorite TV show. The program will not play. You don’t have the specified device that the content owner now requires this program to be played on. It is only available on a particular device per an exclusive agreement between the content owner and the device manufacturer. Not only is your device prohibiting your viewing, but you also have the “wrong” video provider. The TV program you want to watch is owned by a video provider you don’t wish to use, but the show you want to watch can now only be seen on the video system that owns the program. Bad things can happen if content, devices, and networks are all controlled by the same party.

Scenarios like the nightmare described above is what Home Telecom is constantly fighting to avoid. As an industry leader, we keep our finger on the heartbeat of events that would directly impact our customers. Rules and laws impacting how we communicate are constantly changing. In addition, it seems mega mergers are announced several times a year; the big just keep getting bigger. Home Telecom is constantly monitoring the communication environment, working with our lawmakers and regulators to make sure that any changes in communications laws and regulations are for the better, not the worse.

Rural Broadband Providers Discuss Cybersecurity Issues

Ransomware, distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks, phishing campaigns – is your company prepared to address and mitigate current cyber threats? Within the last few years, cyberattacks have intensified in frequency, sophistication and severity. Corporations, networks and individuals are under constant attack from cyberthreats originating within the United States and abroad. Bad actors are targeting all organizations, regardless of their size or business mission. A cyberattack could adversely affect the continued viability of your company. 

Bad actors typically target credit card information, employee data, customer data, intellectual property—often information that is found on your “enterprise” or company network(s). Additionally, those that operate a telecom network may face broader exposure. A bad actor may desire to infiltrate a telecom voice and/or data network(s) to access and exploit networking gear, disrupt communications or reach the networks of your business customers. 

NTCA Members Discuss Rural Broadband With the FCC

This week NTCA members discussed broadband with United States senators, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and Commissioner Ajit Pai. 

Wheeler met with members in Ohio on October 7 and West Virginia on October 11. He also took part in a roundtable discussion hosted by the Ohio Telecom Association that included representatives of large and small telecom service providers. NTCA members Ayersville Telephone Co. (Defiance, Ohio) and New Knoxville Telephone Co. (New Knoxville, Ohio) were in attendance, and they outlined the small-company perspective and the challenges they face, including how to sustain service in high-cost markets.


Ohio Telecom Association with FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler

The next week U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D–W.Va.) hosted Wheeler at a broadband connectivity roundtable in Thomas, W.Va. NTCA members Hardy Telecommunications, Inc. (Lost River, W.Va.), Shenandoah Telecommunications Co. (Edinburg, Va.) and Spruce Knob Seneca Rocks Telephone, Inc. (Riverton, W.Va.) attended and discussed the challenges and opportunities of deploying broadband networks in the state. The discussions also included a debate about the second phase of a universal service mobility fund and access to “middle mile” networks.

New York Community-Based Providers Receive Broadband Grants

NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association member companies Armstrong Telephone Co. of New York (Addison, N.Y.), Germantown Telephone Co. (Germantown, N.Y.), Margaretville Telephone Co. (MTC; Margaretville, N.Y.) The Middleburgh Telephone Co. (MIDTEL; Middleburgh, N.Y.) and TDS Telecom (N.Y.) are round one winners of the New NY Broadband Program grant. The companies were among the 25 recipients that received a part of the $75.8 million investment in broadband—$54.2 million of which will be funded by the state and $21.6 million of which will be funded by private investments.

Rural Just Got a Whole Lot Smarter

Earlier this month, the Smart Rural Community Advisory Council met at NTCA offices in Arlington to designate the 2016 class of Smart Rural Community (SRC) Showcase award recipients. Since 2013, 44 NTCA members have been recognized for demonstrating excellence in collaborating with other local leaders to incorporate broadband-enabled solutions to support economic development, education, health care, public safety and other vital community functions. The most recent group of Showcase award companies will be announced at the NTCA Fall Conference in Indianapolis next month.

Education, Health Care Enjoy Support with Smart Rural Community Awards

What do students in Alaska, vacationers in Vermont, and medical patients in Minnesota have in common? They all benefit from broadband-enabled solutions supported in part by Smart Rural Community (SRC) Collaboration Challenge awards.

Since 2014, Smart Rural Community has provided nearly $24,000 in matching funds to support community-building initiatives in rural America.
Since 2014, Smart Rural Community has provided nearly $24,000 in matching funds to support important initiatives in rural America.

METC, Walnut Communications to Merge

NTCA members Marne and Elk Horn Telephone Co. (METC; Elk Horn, Iowa) and Walnut Communications (Walnut, Iowa) are set to merge later this year. The board of directors from each company approved the merger earlier this week. The long-time partners have been doing business for 100 years.

“This merger allows our communities to be served by a local, committed and forward-looking communications provider who understands our customers and our rural communities and employs a team of local experts,” said Walnut Communications General Manager Bruce Heyne.

“We have worked on projects and partnerships for years, so this really is a continuation of a lifetime of work together,” said Marne & Elk Horn General Manager Janell Hansen. “Bruce and I were talking about his upcoming retirement and the transition plans for the company, when we first discussed this merger. The process evolved from that point.”

 

Rainbow Communications Embarks on Smart Rural Community Road Tour

On September 21, 2015, Rainbow Communications of Everest, Kansas, received the Smart Rural Community Showcase award. In its application, Rainbow Communications highlighted as many as twenty different local organizations and businesses that utilize broadband to enhance growth and innovation.

Smart Rural Community Grant Energizes Community

   In 2014, Waitsfield and Champlain Valley Telecom (WCVT) (Waitsfield, Vt.) earned a Showcase Award in the NTCA Smart Rural Community (SRC) program. In 2015, WCVT secured an SRC Collaboration Challenge grant, which matched community funding for a free downtown Wi-Fi network. Kurt Gruendling, WCVT Vice President of Marketing and Business Development, shares with New Edge the inspiration for the network and how it has changed WCVT and its communities. A map of all SRC award companies can be found here.

NE:     What sparked the idea to create a free downtown Wi-Fi network?

KG:    We saw an opportunity to expand high-speed access outside the home. Our high-speed service to residential and commercial customers is great, but we wanted to extend the mobility outside of the home and enhance the perceived value of our services by offering a community Wi-Fi

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ATMC Gives Back

ATMC (Shallotte, N.C.) recently demonstrated its continued support of local education by donating 25 computers to the Computers for Kids project, an all-volunteer project that provides refurbished computers to students who do not have a home computer. Area businesses donate used computers to the Computers for Kids program through WAVES 4K.I.D.S.,  and volunteers refurbish them so that they may be redistributed to Brunswick County students in grades K-12.


Pictured (l-r): Ed McCarron and Bruce Maxwell (Computers for Kids), Adam Robinson (ATMC), Heather Jenkins (ATMC) and Gordon Nash (ATMC). 

When ATMC replaces its office computers, many taken out of service are recycled through the Computers for Kids project in an effort to provide a benefit to the community. ATMC has awarded Community Connections grant money for testing equipment and has donated more than 100 computers and accessories to the project since the program began in 2006. More than 1,800 Brunswick County students have been given computers through the Computers for Kids project since the program was established.