ICYMI: 2019 Women in Telecom Fly-In Packs A Lot Into a Few Days in Washington, D.C.

By Laura Withers, Vice President of Strategic Communications, NTCA - The Rural Broadband Association

July 17, 2019

Nearly 30 women managers from NTCA member companies traveled to Washington, D.C. last week to participate in the association’s third annual Women in Telecom Fly-In. The event was not only a chance for women executives to advocate on behalf of their communities, but also a unique opportunity to share ideas and network with others in leadership positions for rural telcos.

The event featured several high-profile Congressional and FCC speakers:

  • Fly-in participants started with a meeting at the office of Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R─WV), a founding member of the Senate Rural Broadband Caucus who has worked with NTCA member companies, including Hardy Telecom (Lost River, WV), to highlight the excellent service small companies are providing to their rural consumers and businesses.
  • Later that afternoon, the group was joined by FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, who spoke about the FCC’s efforts to close the digital divide through partnerships with companies in NTCA’s membership.
  • Sen. Deb Fischer (R─NE) then joined the group and shared how she helped U.S. Department of Agriculture Sec. Sonny Perdue understand the true impact of connectivity during a visit to her Nebraska ranch, where cellphone coverage is spotty. 
  • The event wrapped up with a breakfast for Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D─WI), where NTCA member company managers shared how they are improving their rural communities through investment in future-proof fiber-optic networks. A discussion of broadband mapping also helped set the stage for further advocacy work with the Senate on improving the accuracy and granularity of current broadband maps.

NTCA Chief Executive Officer Shirley Bloomfield led many of the fly-in activities and posted a recap on her blog, Broadband Beat. Additional fly-ins are tentatively planned for September 17, October 15 and November 19 (as part of the 2019 Telecom Executive Policy Summit). For more information, click here.