NTCA Announces Continued Collaboration with Department of Homeland Security to Supply Small, Rural Telecom Operators with Critical Cyber-Threat Information

For Immediate Release

Contact:  Laura Withers, 703-351-2087, lwithers@ntca.org 

Arlington, Va. (November 14, 2018)—NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association today announced that in partnership with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and National Institute for Hometown Security (NIHS), the association will explore creating a forum for small, rural telecom operators from across the country to share and receive timely, actionable and relevant cyber information.

At a Capitol Hill briefing earlier today, Bob Kolasky, director of the National Risk Management Center (NMRC), presented NTCA with a National Infrastructure Protection Program (NIPP) Security & Resilience Challenge award for 2019 to support the project, which will include the creation and beta test of a daily cyber intelligence report, curated to meet the needs and interests of community-based telecommunications operators. This new award follows NTCA’s successful collaboration with DHS to create the 2018 Cyber Wise Program that provided free, industry-focused risk management training to rural telcos.

Given that small, rural operators often have limited financial, technical and operational resources, these companies may not currently be able to fully participate in cyber information sharing forums. NTCA will conduct a feasibility study to gauge the accessibility and value of such a forum specifically catered to small operators and seek member volunteers to participate in a beta test of this type of product later in 2019. A final report will detail the prospects for long-term, sustainable implementation of this type of information-sharing resource.

“NTCA is proud to support small, rural operators as they navigate an increasingly complex cyber landscape,” said NTCA Chief Executive Officer Shirley Bloomfield. “As we all know, cyber-attacks are truly a matter of ‘when,’ not ‘if,’ and this new partnership with DHS and NIHS will help explore a new forum to ensure rural broadband providers are both aware of threats and equipped with the information and tools that they need to respond. I’m grateful for this continued collaboration and look forward to seeing its results.”

Funding and support for the feasibility study and beta test is provided by the U. S. Department of Homeland Security, National Protection and Programs Directorate, Office of Infrastructure Protection, through the National Infrastructure Protection Program Security & Resilience Challenge which is implemented by The National Institute For Hometown Security (NIHS).

###

NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association is the premier association representing nearly 850 independent, community-based telecommunications companies that are leading innovation in rural and small-town America. NTCA advocates on behalf of its members in the legislative and regulatory arenas, and it provides training and development; publications and industry events; and an array of employee benefit programs. In an era of transformative technological advancements, regulatory challenges and marketplace competition, NTCA members are leading the technological evolution for rural consumers, delivering robust and high-quality services over future-proof networks that make rural communities vibrant places in which to live and do business. Because of their efforts, rural America is fertile ground for innovation in economic development, e-commerce, health care, agriculture and education, and it contributes billions of dollars to the U.S. economy each year. Visit us at www.ntca.org.