Better Broadband Better Lives

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Rural Telecom

The broadband needs for rural America are great. How will the nation meet the needs for connectivity throughout these areas?

New Resource from Institute for Local Self-Reliance on Building Fiber in Rural America

BROADBAND BREAKFAST INSIGHT: Once again, the folks at the Institute for Local Self Reliance have produced another standout report on how to get better broadband to those parts of American that are not served by the major incumbents. This report focuses on the role that cooperatives are playing, and can continue to play, in making… Keep Reading

Shirley Svorny: Why the Second-Best Solution – Redefining the Locus of Care – Is Needed for Telemedicine

BROADBAND BREAKFAST INSIGHT: Telemedicine is one of the most immediately needed high-bandwidth broadband applications, and it promises concrete and easy-to-see benefits. Yet its usage had limited by occupational licensing. In this policy report, CATO Institute Adjunct Scholar Shirley Svorny lays out the case for the best option (eliminating all governmental licensing), a second-best option (defining… Keep Reading

White House Supports FCC Efforts to Close Digital Divide in Efficient Manner

WASHINGTON, November 21, 2017 — The White House on Friday defended the Federal Communications Commission’s decision to prevent telecommunications service resellers like TracPhone and Simply Wireless from participating in the Universal Service Fund Lifeline program, and to restrict participation in the program to facilities-based providers like AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile. The Lifeline program allows low-income… Keep Reading

FCC Restricts Options Under the Low-Income Consumer Lifeline Program, to Democratic Outcry

WASHINGTON, November 16, 2017 — In a move harshly condemned by Democrats and consumer advocates, the Federal Communications Commission on Thursday voted along party lines to significantly restrict the Universal Service Fund’s Lifeline program, which provides subsidies to enable lower-income consumers to purchase basic telecommunications services. The vote took place during a contentious open meeting… Keep Reading

Mignon Clyburn Blasts FCC Chairman Ajit Pai for Failing to ‘Put Consumers First’

WASHINGTON, November 1, 2017 — After nearly a year in the minority on the Federal Communications Commission, Democratic FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn  told reporters on Wednesday that she has had enough of a Republican majority that “is not putting consumers first.” “The first 10 months [under Chairman Ajit Pai] have been a direct attack on… Keep Reading

Creatively Tapping the Universal Service Fund to Address Hurricane Maria Damage in Puerto Rico

BROADBAND BREAKFAST INSIGHT: Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai is proposing a creative response to repair the damage done by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico by tapping into the Universal Service Fund for necessary infrastructure repairs. A decision on the matter is planned for the agency’s October 24 meeting, but could happen sooner. FCC proposes… Keep Reading

FCC/Rural Telecom/Wireless

Sens. Gardner and Hassan Introduce AIRWAVES Act, Greeted Positively by All Sides

WASHINGTON, August 2, 2017 — A pair of senators on Tuesday introduced a bipartisan bill which they hope will improve wireless networks in underserved rural areas of the United States. The aptly named Advancing Innovation and Reinvigorating Widespread Access to Viable Electromagnetic Spectrum (AIRWAVES) Act, introduced by Sens. Maggie Hassan, D-New Hampshire, and Cory Gardner,… Keep Reading

President Trump Remains Committed to Moving Broadband Through Infrastructure Bill

WASHINGTON, August 1, 2017 — President Donald Trump is committed to moving an infrastructure bill this year despite making little legislative progress towards on other policy goals, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said on Monday. “The President has been very outspoken on the need for a massive overhaul to the country’s infrastructure system,”… Keep Reading

Rural Telecom/Wireless

New America Foundation Panel Promotes a Hybrid Wireless-Fiber Network Architecture

WASHINGTON, July 28, 2017 – The New America Foundation’s wireless project promoted a hybrid fiber and wireless technology approach at a Tuesday event, “Shared Spectrum as a Fiber Extension,” discussing ways to make high-speed broadband internet more available through an additional 500 megahertz of wireless spectrum. Moderated by Michael Calabrese, director of the wireless future… Keep Reading

Rural Broadband Focus Increasingly Necessary in Infrastructure Package, Say Blackburn and Panelists at Brookings

WASHINGTON, July 25, 2017 – Rural areas of Tennessee have lost business because they don’t have access to high-speed internet, Tennessee Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn said Monday at a panel on broadband infrastructure hosted by the Brookings Institution. Trump was aggressively pushing new infrastructure, said Blackburn, the chairwoman of the House Energy and Commerce Communications… Keep Reading

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai Questioned on Net Neutrality, Rural Broadband, During Re-Confirmation Hearing

WASHINGTON, July 20, 2017 – Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai came to his re-confirmation hearing Wednesday with a message that network neutrality regulations were hurting infrastructure investments. The hearing joined Pai, current FCC chairman, with Jessica Rosenworcel, who had been an FCC commissioner until her term lapsed at the end of last year, and… Keep Reading

Rural Americans Disproportionately Lack Access to Broadband, Says Small Business Committee

WASHINGTON, June 26, 2017 – Among rural Americans, 39 percent lack access to high speed internet compared to only 4 percent of urban Americans who lack access, said Rep. Rod Blum, R-Iowa, at a hearing Thursday on Capitol Hill. He said more needs to be done to get rural Americans service on par with urban… Keep Reading

Better Broadband Data Necessary to Make Overdue Improvements in Universal Service Fund, Say Panelists

WASHINGTON, June 26, 2017 – Without efficient data, the Federal Communications Commission can’t put together a model that shows what the cost would be to cover areas with no wireless coverage, the senior vice president of strategic relations of the broadband company C Spire said at a hearing on Tuesday. The hearing on Capitol Hill… Keep Reading

How Donald Trump’s Infrastructure Plan Departs From Traditional Federal Funding

WASHINGTON, June 3, 2017 — Infrastructure plans in President Donald Trump’s 2018 budget represent a significant break from his predecessor not only in the brick-and-mortar variety, but also in the next generation of infrastructure for the next generation of the American economy — wired and wireless broadband networks. While infrastructure investment under President Barack Obama… Keep Reading

Spotlight on Advantages of Open Access Networks at Broadband Communities Summit

DALLAS, May 5, 2017 – Open access networks are becoming more real for gigabit connectivity in the United States, according to panelists attending the Broadband Communities Summit here this week. The conference was notable in having numerous, positive discussions of the “three-tiered” model: One entity owns the fiber infrastructure, a second entity operates the gigabit… Keep Reading

Craig Settles: It’s Time for Co-ops To Stand Up and Embrace Broadband

In the battle to deploy broadband, cooperatives (co-ops) can be a decisive force to cover the rural flanks in states with aggressive broadband adoption goals such as California, New York, and Minnesota. In the more rural states, or ones without stated commitments to broadband, co-ops may have to carry the lion’s share of responsibility if… Keep Reading

Innovative Fiber Financing Through a ‘Broadband Improvement District’ in Ammon, Idaho

DALLAS, May 1, 2017 – One of the biggest puzzles in broadband today is a financial conundrum: Our nation needs next-generation networks everywhere, but advanced internet capacity is spotty at best. One solution to the problem of financing universal broadband networks — on display in Ammon, Idaho — will be presented at the Rural Telecommunications… Keep Reading

How Will the Future of Work Impact Rural Communities? Learn How at Rural Telecom Congress Next Week

DALLAS, April 25, 2017 – What kind of workplaces and economic environment are rural areas likely to experience in the future? At the Rural Telecommunications Congress program here at the 2017 Broadband Communities Summit next week, two of the sessions on Wednesday, May 3, will feature address that question. First, we’ll hear a “case study”… Keep Reading

Riverside County Introduces Broadband Initiative for Area the Size of New Jersey

RIVERSIDE, CALIFORNIA, April 19, 2017 – At 7,200 square miles, this Southern California county is nearly the size of New Jersey. On April 3, the county put out a “Request for Participants” in an effort to jump-start a $2 billion to $4 billion initiative building a gigabit fiber network. The project is dubbed RIVCOConnect, and represents… Keep Reading

NTIA Press Release for April 19 Webinar on Rural Broadband Adoption and Digital Inclusion

You are invited to join NTIA’s BroadbandUSA team today for a webinar discussing: Strategies for Broadband Adoption and Digital Inclusion in Rural Communities Date: Wednesday, April 19, 2017 Time: 2:00pm ET Overview:  This webinar will focus on strategies to promote broadband adoption and digital inclusion in rural communities highlighting the role of libraries and university… Keep Reading

Twists in the Broadband Mapping Saga, Plus the Need for Good Data Now, at Rural Telecom Congress

DALLAS, April 18, 2017 – Over the past ten years, broadband mapping has gone through many changes. In the beginning, the Federal Communications Commission collected data about high-speed internet access, but didn’t release any local or granular data collected through its semi-annual forms. Through the efforts of organizations like BroadbandCensus.com (the predecessor to BroadbandBreakfast.com), a… Keep Reading

Universal Service Administrative Corp. Unveils ‘New Look,’ Will Address Programs at Rural Telecom Congress

DALLAS, April 18, 2017 – The Universal Service Administrative  Corporation may not grab broadband headlines, but the once-obscure federal agency is central to helping rural America and other stakeholders get Broadband Broadband, Better Lives. USAC’s programs, plus its “new look,” will be the subject of the lead panel at the Rural Telecommunications Congress happening here… Keep Reading

Register to Attend the Rural Telecommunications Congress Program at Broadband Communities Summit

DALLAS, April 6, 2017 – The Rural Telecommunications Congress program at the 2017 Broadband Communities Summit here on May 1-4, 2017, will feature panelists on the Universal Service Administrative Corporation’s role in bringing broadband to underserved and unserved communities, the role of broadband mapping in today’s telecommunications ecosystem, a case study of bringing broadband to… Keep Reading

Ajit Pai Comes to Senate Oversight Hearing, Defends his More Limited Vision of FCC Authority

WASHINGTON, March 10, 2017 – Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai defended his very vision of the agency’s role, as compared with his predecessor, during the first Senate Commerce Committee oversight hearing this year. The difference in attitude between Pai and former Chairman Tom Wheeler on broadband deployment highlighted the differences between the two. “High-speed… Keep Reading

The Battle for Rural Broadband is a Subject that Can Unite Red States and Blue States

BROADBAND BREAKFAST INSIGHT: Great piece from Ozy, a publication about which we weren’t familiar until this article, about the need for, and power of, broadband in rural communities. This, if anything, is an issue that blue states and red states can unite upon! The Battle for the Internet in Rural America, from Ozy So much… Keep Reading

New York State Broadband Funding Provides Dollars in Traditional and Nontraditional Ways

Broadband Breakfast Insight: New York State continues its innovative efforts to provide broadband funding to underserved areas of the state. In addition to funding for traditional and non-traditional telecom companies, the program has received funding from the Federal Communications Commission’s Lifeline Program. $212 Million in Broadband Funding Awarded to 26 Carriers Including FairPoint, Frontier, and… Keep Reading

New Deal Rural Broadband Act Introduced in House of Representatives Aims to Close Digital Divide

Broadband Breakfast Insight: This is a significant development to see emerging from the House of Representatives, which is generally less focused on rural broadband issues than the Senate. This new measure, the “New Deal Rural Broadband Act,” has an array of items, but one significant part appears to be the authorization of the Rural Utility… Keep Reading

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s Friday Changes to E-Rate May Be the Most Significant of the Turnabouts

Broadband Breakfast Insight: This item from the “Friday news dump” got less attention, but may be the more significant of the measures taken by Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai. In addition to overturning aspects of the Lifeline changes made by the Obama-era FCC, he and the Republican majority have also “rescinded” an E-Rate report issued… Keep Reading

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Pai Announces Broadband Advisory Group to Propose Model City Ordinances

WASHINGTON, January 31, 2017 – Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai on Tuesday announced the formation of a new federal advisory committee that would seek to accelerate deployment of high-speed broadband nationwide, and to close the digital divide, by providing a model approach to deployment for municipalities. “Access to broadband is increasingly critical for all… Keep Reading

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai’s First Action is Approving Connect America Fund Dollars to New York State

WASHINGTON, January 26, 2017 – In his first substantive action since being named to his position on Tuesday, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai announced approval of the petition by New York State’s broadband program to access the Connect America Fund. The agency’s full press release is below: FCC VOTES TO EXPAND BROADBAND DEPLOYMENT IN… Keep Reading

White House Announces September 21 Date for Release of Broadband Report

Editor’s Note: The White House announced that it would be releasing a report from its Broadband Opportunity Council on Monday, September 21. Read more about the council. Coming Soon: Building on Our Progress of Broadband Investment and Competition August 20, 2015 at 5:57 PM ET by Jeffrey Zients Summary:  The White House has received input… Keep Reading

FCC Workshop on eRate Funding Shows New Flexibility for School and Library Fiber Builds

June 18, 2015 – Recent changes to the eligibility rules for the Federal Communication Commission’s eRate program open the door for new fiber connections for schools and libraries using agency funds. Among the rule changes were the suspension of the requirement that applicants seek funding for large up front construction costs over several years, the… Keep Reading

Schools, Health and Libraries Conference a Vital Connection for Public Broadband

Schools, Health and Libraries Broadband Coalition Conference WASHINGTON, May 18, 2015 - More than five years after the unveiling of the National Broadband Plan, policy-makers and on-the-ground-advocates seeking to build better broadband networks will convene here this week at the annual conference of the Schools, Health and Libraries Broadband Coalition. The conference, "Enhancing Broadband Through Innovation, Investment and Inclusion," has become the regular Washington gathering point for those engaged in public broadband initiatives. Among the keynote and plenary sessions at this year's conference include addresses by Federal Communications Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, former Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, former Virginia Gov. and Sen. George Allen, plus Mayor Jill Boudreau of Mount Vernon, Washington. Keep Reading

Rural Telecommunications Congress Videos and Presentations Posted

AUSTIN, May 18, 2015 - The Rural Telecommunications Congress posted the entire video and presentations made at the recent Rural Telecommunications Congress held here last month at the Broadband Communities Summit. The original link to the sessions is at http://www.ruraltelecon.org/2015-rtc-bbc-summit.html

2015 RTC Program Agenda and Session Content


Tuesday, April 14
3:00pm – 4:00pm: Looking Forward by Looking Back: Digital Inclusion from 1980 to Today From the first community technology center (1980), the first community network (1986), to the first open gov/data initiative (1989), this presentation explores the history, themes, and future of our work. Moderator:  Jane Patterson - RTC President; President, The View Forward         Speaker:  Anne Neville – Director, NTIA State Broadband Initiative, U.S. Department of Commerce
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Digital Nation NTIA-SBI Highlights - session audio

Anne Neville Presentation
Download File

Rural Telecommunications Congress Elects New Slate of Officers: Drew Clark as Incoming President; Jane Smith Patterson as Immediate Past President

AUSTIN, April 16, 2015 - The board of the directors of the Rural Telecommunications Congress voted here on Wednesday to elect a new slate of officers to lead the organization, building upon its work over the last several years. At its annual meeting held jointly with the Broadband Communities Summit here, the Rural Telecommunications Congress unanimously approved as new officers:

  • Drew Clark, President
  • Jason Whittet, Vice President
  • Frank Odasz, Secretary
  • Eric Ogle, Treasurer
  • Jane Smith Patterson, Immediate Past President
"It is a humbling experience to be entrusted with the leadership of an organization with the history and institutional knowledge of the Rural Telecommunications Congress," said Drew Clark, incoming President. [...] Drew Clark, Incoming President, Rural Telecommunications Congress Jane Smith Patterson, Immediate Past President, Rural Telecommunications Congress Keep Reading

Better Broadband for Rural America Means Looking Beyond Tradition: Join Us at the Rural Telecommunications Congress Today

AUSTIN, April 14, 2015 - The Rural Telecommunications Congress portion of the Broadband Communities Summit opens here Tuesday with a series of conference sessions focused on looking beyond conventional rural telecom. Rural Telecommunications CongressWith a theme of "Connecting Communities Across the Countryside of Rural America," our conference sessions on Tuesday include a discussion of the State Broadband Initiative and its impact on rural America, and a robust panel on the companies and technologies that will broadband the life-giving broadband to rural America. The RTC sessions planning for Wednesday including a summary of the lessons learned from successful broadband deployments, "Broadband and the Farm," and the impact of the internet of things on rural communities -- plus important insight on telemedicine-based health and education programs. [...] Keep Reading

Jonathan Chambers of the FCC Says Results of Rural Broadband Experiment Teach Incumbents a Lesson

AUSTIN, April 14, 2015 - The official from the Federal Communications Commission responsible for the agency's unique "rural broadband experiment" on Monday said the experiment was less about learning than about teaching the rural telecom industry that it can do better. Speaking on panel at the Broadband Communities Summit here, Jonathan Chambers, chief of the Office of Strategic Planning at the FCC, said: "I wanted to teach certain people in Washington that we could do better than 4 megabits per second (Mbps) down and 1 Mbps up [in broadband speeds.]" [...] Jonathan Chambers, Chief, Office of Strategic Planning, FCC Keep Reading

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