A New Look for TECO, FRS

NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association recently announced that the new name of its political action committee (PAC) is NTCA   Rural Broadband PAC. The PAC was formerly called TECO, the Telecommunications Education Committee Organization. NTCA Rural Broadband PAC unveiled the new name and logo during the Rural Telecom Industry Meeting & EXPO (RTIME) last month. In 2015, the PAC board unanimously agreed to modify the PAC’s name as part of a strategic plan to more readily convey who is behind the PAC and what its interests are.

In addition, the Foundation for Rural Service (FRS) also unveiled a new logo and mission statement during RTIME. This rebranding effort celebrates a new chapter for FRS since the foundation joined forces in January 2015 with the Foundation for Rural Education and Development (FRED), the foundation formally associated with OPASTCO.  FRS’s mission, in cooperation with NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association, is to seek to sustain and enhance the quality of life in America by advancing an understanding of rural issues.


A Growing Co-Dependency for Connectivity


A few weeks ago while overseas, I reached for my phone to check departure plans for the following day. Adverse weather conditions at home (the D.C. blizzard) and abroad warranted a careful review of transportation to the airport, connecting flights and driving conditions once safely on the ground in Virginia. To mild alarm, however, I found that my phone was not in its holster. Or, more to the point, I could not find my phone. After about 30 minutes of calling and texting my phone (hopelessly set to “buzz”) and searching the apartment, I ventured outside to retrace my steps and found it on the ground next to a recycling bin I had visited earlier that rainy evening.

‘I Can Feel It Coming in the Air Tonight …'


These are tumultuous times for satellite video providers. According to Dish Network’s year-end financial report for 2015, the company lost 12,000 pay-TV customers in the fourth quarter of 2015, and 81,000 for the year.

The bad news: The company began the year with 13.98 million subscribers, and ended with 12.90 million, a decline of 1.08 million or 7.7%.

The worse news? These figures include subscribers to Sling TV, the over-the-top Internet television subsidiary of Dish Network. Sling TV has attracted more than 600,000 subscribers since its launch in January 2015.  Take out these 600,000 subscribers, and Dish’s satellite subscriber numbers are even more dismal.

PRTC Hosts FCC Chairman Wheeler and Congressman Hal Rogers

 FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler visited McKee, Ky., on February 8 to highlight Peoples Rural Telephone Cooperative’s success in creating a high-speed,    fiber optic network in one of the most rugged and economically depressed areas of the country.

“I hope you folks realize what a big deal this is, and what a big deal connecting every home and business to high-speed fiber is,” Wheeler said.

The chairman said he often speaks in other communities around the nation and across the world. “Now, I’m going to be talking about Jackson County in those other places. And I’ll tell them that, ‘If they can do it up in those hol­lers, you can, too.’”

Fiber technology is shaping the future of rural Kentucky, where high-speed, broadband Internet attracts employers and offers the foundation for tomorrow’s technologies today.

2016 RTIME Concludes With Awards Banquet

The final full day of the NTCA Rural Telecom Industry Meeting & EXPO (RTIME) featured a business session, the closing general session and banquet.

The closing general session got underway with a Foundation for Rural Service update from Executive Director Jessica Golden, as well as an economic update from Sheldon Petersen, chief executive officer of the Rural Telephone Finance Cooperative.

Education, Exhibits Continue at RTIME

The Rural Telecom Industry Meeting & EXPO (RTIME) continued Tuesday with additional educational sessions, exhibitor presentations and special events.

 Tuesday started with presentations from several exhibitors, followed by regional caucuses. Later Tuesday morning, NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association Vice President Bill Hegmann introduced the first presentation of the Second General Session, “Tech Trends to Watch in 2016.” Kevin McGuire, chief operating officer of Enhanced Telecommunications Corp., highlighted new technologies he saw at the CES show in January, including an increased number of services and applications powered by robotics and an abundance of smart cars. Justyn Miller, chief executive officer of South Slope Cooperative Communications, took the stage next to offer in-depth insight on drones, which were another focus at CES. Miller also showed how 3-D mapping and infrared cameras can help save lives, and how these technologies are being used today in rural America.

New NTCA President Takes the Gavel at RTIME

The 2016 Rural Telecom Industry Meeting & EXPO (RTIME) from NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association continued Monday, as the Swing N’ Sisters kicked off the show’s Opening General Session at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Attendees heard from NTCA leaders and industry experts during several events throughout the day.

ePaper: RLECs and Muni Broadband


  This New Edge “E-Paper” explores opportunities for rural communications providers in municipal broadband network initiatives. This two-part article is intended to be an open source document to which readers are encouraged to comment and contribute. The author thanks Dave Brodin of Smithville Fiber for his contributions. A list of selected bibliographic references and source materials can be found at the bottom of this page.

RTIME Kicks Off in Florida

The 2016 Rural Telecom Industry Meeting & EXPO (RTIME) got underway Sunday in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., as more than 2,000 NTCA members registered at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort for a full day of activities. Attendees took part in educational sessions, sightseeing tours of the Kennedy Space Center and winter park, and the welcome reception.

TECO Reaches Milestones in 2015

The Telecommunications Education Committee Organization (TECO), the voluntary, nonpartisan political action committee (PAC) of NTCA-The Rural Broadband Association, is an important element of the association’s advocacy program. Established in 1969, TECO accepts voluntary contributions from authorized individuals associated with NTCA member companies and then distributes these funds to worthy federal congressional candidates. By 2015 year-end, TECO raised more than $281,000—far surpassing its fundraising goal of $275,000.  In addition, this total represents the highest amount ever raised by the PAC in a single year