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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

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AUSTIN, April 16, 2015 – The board of 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

Drew Clark, Incoming President, Rural Telecommunications Congress

“I gained a passion for the vital role of broadband as the leader of the Illinois broadband authority, and while living in and traveling throughout rural Illinois.  I continue to experience the truth that better broadband leads to better lives through my work to help cities and rural communities build Gigabit Networks.”

Clark is Of Counsel with the Salt Lake City-based law firm of Kirton McConkie.

“The RTC has played a vital role in rallying rural America’s interest in broadband through its annual Rural Telecommunications Congresses,” said Jane Smith Patterson, Immediate Past President, and who served as President from 2013 to 2015.

Patterson has played a legendary role in enhancing technology access and adoption in North Carolina, and nationwide, through her leadership of the Rural Internet Access Authority and e-NC Authority from 2000 to 2012.

“I’m confident that our new officers, including Drew Clark, Jason Whittet, Frank Odasz and Eric Ogle, will help to continue to enhance the voice of rural America on issues of better broadband,” she said.

Jane Smith Patterson, Immediate Past President, Rural Telecommunications Congress

Jane Smith Patterson, Immediate Past President, Rural Telecommunications Congress

The RTC’s roots date back more than 15 years, when a group of concerned citizens, local and state government officials, consultants, and others met under the aegis of the Aspen Institute in Colorado to discuss how the western states could benefit from the utilization of high speed broadband services.

The RTC has been the voice of rural America concerning broadband since 2002. Since then RTC has hosted events in locales including Des Moines, Iowa; Spokane, Washington; Lexington, Kentucky; Little Rock, Arkansas; Smugglers’ Notch, Vermont; and Springfield, Illinois. These events have showcased the importance of a strong broadband infrastructure to eliminate the digital divide, enhance the quality of life in rural America and encourage broadband adoption and education in rural America.

“The country’s economy and quality of life is enhanced with a strong an essential infrastructure to connect us all in a digital world,” said Keith Montgomery, former Vice President.  “RTC has been a strong voice for broadband adoption and education.”

Beginning in 2010, the RTC has been in a partnership with Broadband Communities Magazine and the Broadband Communities Summit to co-host the Rural Telecommunications Congress at its annual event held in Dallas and now Austin.

“I want to congratulate the newly elected slate on their leadership role with the RTC,” said Hilda Legg, former Administrator of the Rural Utilities Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Vice Chairman of Broadband Communities Magazine. “I have observed this entity for 15 years: The hard work and energetic efforts has created one of the most significant organizations for deploying broadband in rural America.”

“The RTC can have an indelible mark on the rural communities and families through its advocacy, education and vigilant support toward the goal that every rural resident will have access to high-speed broadband connectivity,” said Legg.

At the Broadband Communities Summit in Austin this week, the RTC program of panels, seminars and plenary events was interspersed throughout the three-day conference.

The presentations, discussions and face to face encounters with the best and brightest technologists, policy advocates, and policy makers from all levels of government, armed attendees with today’s best practices in building capacity and adoption.

Besides the newly-elected officers, the other members of the RTC Board include:

  • Monica Lynn Babine, Kirland, Washington
  • Michael Curri, Ontario, Canada
  • Chris Janson, Newburyport, Massachusetts
  • Keith Montgomery, Northern Virginia
  • Joel Mulder, St. Charles, Illinois
  • Frank Ohrtman, Denver, Colorado
  • Galen Updike, Mesa, Arizona

About RTC

The mission of the Rural Telecommunications Congress is to facilitate the development of a reliable and sustainable rural broadband ecosystem to ensure a strong future for rural America. Incorporated in Tennessee, the RTC operates as a non-profit organization and has an application for 501(c)(3) status pending with the Internal Revenue Service. For more information, visit http://www.ruraltelecon.org.

 

 

 

FCC

FCC Delays Auction of Citizens Broadband Radio Service Frequences in Light of COVID-19 Pandemic from Coronavirus

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Seal of the Federal Communications Commission

Agency Changes Upcoming Auction 105 Schedule, Postpones Auction 106

Adjustments Made in Light of COVID-19 Pandemic

WASHINGTON, March 25, 2020—The Federal Communications Commission today announced schedule changes for Auction 105 as well as the postponement of Auction 106.
Given the COVID-19 pandemic, these changes were deemed necessary in order to protect the health and safety of Commission staff and to allow parties additional time to prepare to
participate in Auctions 105 and 106.

“Many Americans have had to make tough decisions on how they do business in this rapidly changing environment, and the FCC is no different,” said agency Chairman Ajit Pai. “After consulting agency staff within the relevant Bureaus and Offices, we determined that it was in everyone’s best interest to make these changes. But we remain committed to holding the 3.5 GHz auction this summer and look forward to beginning this important mid-band auction in July.”

For Auction 105, involving the auction of Priority Access Licenses for the 3550-3650 MHz band, the short-form application (FCC Form 175) filing window will now open on April 23,
2020 at 12 p.m. EDT and will close on May 7 at 6 p.m. EDT. Upfront payments will be due June 19.

Bidding will begin on July 23. Interested parties should continue to monitor the Auction 105 website at www.fcc.gov/auction/105 for any future announcements regarding the auction schedule and other important auction information. To read the Auction 105 Public Notice, visit https://go.usa.gov/xdhf4.

The FCC is postponing indefinitely Auction 106, an auction of construction permits in the FM broadcast service that was scheduled to begin on April 28. Auction 106 applicants that
submitted upfront payments may obtain a refund of those deposits after submitting a written request. Additional processes are outlined in today’s Public Notice. A revised schedule will
be announced in a future public notice. To read the Auction 106 Public Notice, visit https://go.usa.gov/xdhfZ.

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Press Releases

Tech Freedom and Other Advocacy Groups Push Back Against Growing Pressure to Modify Section 230

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WASHINGTON, July 11, 2019 – Pushing back against a growing group of critics on the right and the left, the pro-free-market pro-free-speech group Tech Freedom on Thursday released a set of seven principles and online resources designed to “guide conversation about amending Section 230.”

As the principles statement declares: “we value the balance between freely exchanging ideas, fostering innovation, and limiting harmful speech. Because this is an exceptionally delicate balance, Section 230 reform poses a substantial risk of failing to address policymakers’ concerns and harming the Internet overall.”

In its current form, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (and part of the 1996 Telecom Act) holds online content creators responsible for what they publish, while protecting third parties that generate this content from liability.

“Section 230 is the law that made today’s Internet possible. Without it, hosting user-generated content would be impossible. Today’s most popular social websites would never have taken off and the Internet would look basically like cable,” said Tech Freedom President Berin Szóka.

“Making Section 230 protections contingent upon approval of government bureaucrats would be a grave mistake. Regulation must evolve as the Internet evolves, but creating new government powers that would be subject to the whims of whichever party occupied the White House would be bad for all Americans,” said Kevin Glass, vice president of communications at National Taxpayers Union.

The statement also included expressions of support from Prof. Eric Goldman, Santa Clara University School of Law, Sharon Bradford Franklin, director of Surveillance & Cybersecurity Policy, New America’s Open Technology Institute, Emma Llanso, director of the Free Expression Project, Center for Democracy & Technology, Bartlett Cleland, president of the Innovation Economy Alliance, and others.

Some of Tech Freedom’s resources on free speech and Section 230 on its website, including:

  • An op-ed “Some conservatives need a First Amendment refresher”
  • A letter to AG Session “DOJ Inquiry re Tech Companies Bias is Misguided”
  • A blogpost “Reality Check for Trump and Republicans Crying ‘Bias’”!
  • Tech Freedom President Berin Szóka’s testimony before the House Judiciary Committee on the filtering practices of social media platforms
  • A statement on the passage of SESTA
  • A statement on the takedown of Backpage and its implications for Section 230 and recent sex trafficking legislation
  • Tech Policy Podcast #226: The Fairness Doctrine: Next Generation
  • Tech Policy Podcast #214: Information Intermediaries in a Nutshell

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FCC

Federal Communications Commission Announces $169 Million in Rural Broadband Funding

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WASHINGTON, June 10, 2019 – The Federal Communications Commission on Monday authorized $166.8 million in funding over the next decade to expand broadband to 60,850 unserved rural homes and businesses in 22 states. Providers will begin receiving funding this month. A map of the winning bids is available here.

This funding represents the second wave of support from last year’s successful Connect America Fund Phase II auction. The FCC authorized the first wave of funding in May, providing $111.6 million in funding over the next decade to expand service to 37,148 unserved homes and businesses in 12 states.

To date, the first two rounds of authorizations are providing $278.4 million over the next decade to expand service to 97,998 new locations.  Over the coming months, the FCC will be authorizing additional funding as it approves the final applications of the winning bidders from the auction.

“I’m pleased to announce that the second round of funding starts now for buildout of high-speed Internet service to 60,850 rural homes and businesses, which will bring them to the right side of the digital divide and give them access to the 21st-century opportunities that broadband offers,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.

“Providers will be deploying gigabit-speed connections to the majority of locations for which funding is being authorized today, while nearly 8,000 homes and small businesses on Tribal lands will be getting fixed broadband service for the first time,” he said.

Providers must build out to 40 percent of the assigned homes and businesses in the areas won in a state within three years.  Buildout must increase by 20 percent in each subsequent year, until complete buildout is reached at the end of the sixth year.

The Connect America Fund Phase II auction is part of a broader effort by the FCC to close the digital divide in rural America.

In addition to the funding that will be made available through this auction, the Commission recently provided 186 companies in 43 states $65.7 million in additional annual funding to upgrade broadband speeds in rural communities, and offered incentives for over 500 rural carriers to provide faster broadband to over 1 million rural homes and businesses.

Pai also announced his intention to create the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, which will provide $20.4 billion over the next decade to connect approximately four million rural homes and businesses to high-speed broadband, representing the FCC’s single biggest step yet to close the digital divide.

(Photo by Jim Bradley used with permission.)

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