February 26, 2018
Austin, TX – The morning got started bright and early on Day 2 of the Rural Telecom Industry Meeting & Expo (RTIME) with the NTCA Rural Broadband Political Action Committee (PAC) Annual Awards breakfast where attendees were celebrating a record breaking year for the PAC. NTCA companies and individuals were recognized for 100% board of director or 100% employee participation in the PAC, and Leo Staurulakis was named PAC director of the year.
The opening general session set the tone for the day with excellent speakers and panels. First up, NTCA Board President John Klatt kicked off the opening general session by sharing highlights from last year and his outlook on the busy year ahead for NTCA and our members. He introduced NTCA CEO Shirley Bloomfield, who took to the stage as this video played – sharing how NTCA and its members are working to build a better broadband future and highlighting that rural brodband remains a focal point for policymakers. From infrastructure proposals to testifying on Capitol Hill to working with the FCC on pending items, NTCA's priority is securing the future for rural broadband.
Next up, FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr joined Bloomfield on stage to discuss connections to rural communities. Commissioner Carr shared with members that he had voted in favor of an item currently circulating at the commission that will, in part, address the USF high-cost program budget shortfalls.
NTCA's Sr. VP of Industry Affairs & Business Development Michael Romano moderated a panel with NTCA board member Kevin Beyer of Federated Telephone Coop. and Matt Colin with Calix about turning the complexity of the smart home into opportunity.
USDA's Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett hit the stage next sharing USDA Rural Development's priorities of 1) infrastructure, 2) partnerships and 3) innovation. She also shared the e-connectivity related recommendations that came from the USDA Rural Prosperity Task Force report and thanked NTCA for their work with leading the broadband portion of the Rebuild Rural Coalition. You can learn more about the coalition at www.rebuildrural.com. Her message about shared commitment to rural prosperity and the power of a coordinated strategy both among federal agendas and local partners to deliver on the promise of e-connectivity for rural America was very welcome!
Rounding out the opening general session, we had Nicholas Webb discussing Future Trends and a panel moderated by NTCA's Josh Seidemann discussing what's connected and what's not connected, a fascinating discussion about IOT devices, trends and days from IOT devices.
We saw a packed house for Telco Session Track "The Internet of Everything" with John McDonald, chief executive officer of Clear Object. Every seat was filled and flowing out the door to learn how everyday devices become smarter and connect to each other, becoming the creator and destroyer of business.
We then followed Jennifer Logsdon, NTCA Associate Member Advisory Committee (AMAC) chair, on NTCA Live for a sneek peek through the EXPO at RTIME. This year's show floor boasts more than 100 exhibitors including 37 new exhibitors. Everyone who's anyone was there and you won't want to miss it again tomorrow opening at 3 pm.
We only have 2 days left in Austin. Get in some exercise and take in some of what the city of Austin has to offer by joining Shar Arvig, NTCA Member Relations Manager, on a Fun Walk. You can meet with her at 6:15 a.m. at the lobby of the JW Marriott Hotel.
Share your stories and experiences with us on social media by using hashtag #RTIME2018.