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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
00:00
00:00
Digital Nation NTIA-SBI Highlights – session audio

Anne Neville Presentation

Download File





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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
00:00
00:00
Digital Nation NTIA-SBI Highlights – session audio

Anne Neville Presentation

Download File



4:10pm – 5:00pm:  Broadband Is Like Oxygen to Rural America – What Technology and Companies Will Provide It?
Will Gigabit networks or wireless services best meet the needs of the nation’s rural communities? What options are rural communities missing without good-quality broadband? And when commercial providers are in short supply, how do non-profits, cooperatives and municipal broadband providers help fill the void? Hear the perspectives of a range of rural Internet providers.
        Moderator: Drew Clark – RTC Board Member; BroadbandBreakfast.com; Of Counsel, Kirton McConkie
        Speakers:
Luis Reyes – CEO/GM, Kit Carson Electric
        Will Aycock – CEO, Greenlight, Wilson, North Carolina
        Ron Walters – CEO, PANGAEA, Tryon, North Carolina
        Bill Shilito – President, North Carolina Wireless, LLC
00:00
00:00
Broadband is Like Oxygen to Rural America – session audio

Luis Reyes Presentation

Download File


Will Aycock Presentation

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Ron Walters Presentation

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Bill Shilito Presentation

Download File



Wednesday, April 15
9:00am – 9:50am: Lessons From Successful Broadband Deployments
Join this session to learn and discuss the state of rural broadband access. Hear actionable details about the innovative projects that are providing solutions in rural areas to create positive economic and community outcomes from broadband deployment.
Moderator: Jason Whittet – RTC Board Member; Program Officer, IDC Research
        Speakers:
        Tony Wilhelm – Vice President, Affiniti
        Mark Dzwonczyk – CEO, Nicholville Telephone
        David Salway – Executive Director, NY State Broadband Program
        Luis Reyes – CEO/GM, Kit Carson Electric
00:00
00:00
Lessons from Successful Rural Broadband Deployments – session audio

10:00am – 10:50am: Broadband and the Farm
Broadband technology is an essential tool to those who are linked to the land – modern farmers and ranchers, landowners, builders, and loggers that feed and supply the nation. Their efforts and success drive a significant component of the USA and world economy. The panel will provide a commercial perspective of how broadband is needed on the farm, a state perspective on its importance to the state economy, and discussion on how fiber and wireless networks are essential infrastructure to rural America.
        Moderator: Keith Montgomery – RTC Vice President; CFO Declaration Networks Group, Inc.
        Speakers:
        Mark Lewellen – Manager, Spectrum Advocacy, John Deere & Company
Phillip K. Brown – Director, State/Federal Policy and Broadband Planning, Connected Nation
        Dan Hunter – Assistant Commissioner for Water and Rural Affairs, Texas Department of Agriculture
00:00
00:00
Broadband and the Farm – session audio

Broadband And The Farm Presentation

Download File



2:30pm – 3:20pm: The Internet of Things – Its Impact on Rural Communities
Your refrigerator can order groceries when you need them, your house can call the plumber when there’s a leak, share a diabetic’s blood sugar values with his doctor, and  turn on the irrigation system when the soil is too dry or wait if rain is forecast. Along with medical devices and the fitness industry, these are examples of the Internet of Things that will add to our lives and integrate measurement, analysis, and even social media. Ubiquitous broadband with low latency is critical to make it happen.
Moderator:
Jane Patterson – RTC President; President, The View Forward
        Speaker: 
Mark Johnson
– CTO and VP of Data Architecture, MCNC
        John Chowdhury – Director of Utility Practice, Fujitsu Network Communications, Inc.
00:00
00:00
The Internet of Things Impact on Rural Communities – session audio

Mark Johnson Presentation

Download File


John Chowdhury

Download File



3:30pm – 4:20pm: Monitoring Rural America’s Health
Learn from projects that have outstanding outcomes in rural and statewide telehealth networks. There will be time to ask questions and have an interactive discussion about telehealth topics important to you. Hear about how current laws and regulations have impacts at state levels with privacy and security.
        Moderator: Galen Updike – RTC Past President; Mesa, Arizona
        Speakers:
        David Kirby – Project Director, NC TeleHealth Network
        Michael Keeling – Partner, Keeling Law Offices PC & Lobbyist for ATIC / Arizona TeleHealth
00:00
00:00
Monitoring Rural America’s Health – session audio

Galen Updike Presentation

Download File


Dave Kirby Presentation

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Michael Keeling Presentation

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5:10pm – 6:10pm: Digital Education and its Impact at the Community Level
Relating adequate broadband to assure quality of life, diverse Community Anchor Institutions (libraries, schools, colleges, economic agencies, public safety, and health organizations) are challenged with finding the most effective practices for training to outcomes. Solutions are evolving across multiple platforms for innovation from mobile devices to Gigacities, across sectors from health to digital entrepreneurship, and across diverse demographics, particularly the 1:2 Americans who are low income and living in poverty.
Moderator: Frank Odasz – RTC Secretary; President, Lone Eagle Consulting
    Speakers:
    John Windhausen – Executive Director, Schools, Health and Libraries Broadband Coalition (SHLB)
    Myra Best – Executive Director, DigiLEARN
Gene Crick – Executive Director, Metropolitan Austin Interactive Network (MAIN)
00:00
00:00
Digital Education and its Impact at the Community Level – session audio

Frank Odasz Presentation

Download File


Myra Best Presentation

Download File


Gene Crick Presentation

Download File



Thursday, April 16
9:40am – 10:30am: Plows to Tractors to Computers to Prosperity
The ability to drive the economy and enable business from anywhere can happen no matter where you live. The digital divide is not only about access, but more about having the resources and awareness to effectively utilize broadband and its ever-changing solutions to business. The session will highlight current research with examples across the nation to get a look into how rural homes and businesses are utilizing broadband, and offer solutions to drive economic improvements where you live.
Moderator: Eric Ogle – RTC Treasurer, Baker Center for Public Policy, University of Tennessee
Speakers:

        Michael Curri – President, Strategic Networks Group, Inc.
Monica Lynn Babine – Senior Associate, Program for Digital Initiatives, Washington State University
Maria Alvarez-Stroud
– Director, Broadband and eCommerce Education Center, University of Wisconsin
00:00
00:00
Plows to Tractors to Computers to Prosperity – session audio

Maria Alvarez-Stroud Presentation

Download File


Monica Babine Presentation

Download File



10:40am – 11:30am: Who Will Gigafy Our Rural Infrastructure?
This session will focus on how cross-sector partnerships provides broadband to rural communities. This will be an opportunity to interact with a rural electric cooperative moving towards providing their customers broadband (North Carolina), and with Sunset Digital Communications, the oldest rural Fiber-to-the-Premises company in the USA , partnerships with Powell Electric (Tennessee and Virginia) and a major health initiative (the Northeast Texas Medical and Educational Fiber Optic Network).
Moderator:
Joel Mulder – RTC Board Member; Senior Director of Business Development, G4S Technology
        Speakers:
        Marshall Cherry – COO, Roanoke Electric Cooperative
        Mickey Slimp – Executive Director, Northeast Texas Consortium of Colleges and Universities, UT Health Northeast
        Paul Elswick – Owner, President & CEO, Sunset Digital Communications, Inc.
00:00
00:00
Who Will Gigafy Our Rural Infrastructure? – session audio

Marshall Cherry Presentaion

Download File


Mickey Slimp Presentation

Download File


Paul Elswick Presentation

Download File


Broadband's Impact

Dianne Crocker: Recession Fears Have Real Estate Market Forecasters Hitting the Reset Button

Growing fears of recession trigger pullback on previous rosy forecasts.

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The author of this Expert Opinion is Dianne Crocker, Principal Analyst for LightBox

The lyrics to “Same As It Ever Was” by the Talking Heads certainly don’t apply to how 2022 is playing out in the commercial real estate market. Two quarters of negative economic growth has put a damper on market sentiment and triggered fears that the U.S. economy is heading for a recession. By midyear, market analysts were taking a good, hard look at their rosy forecasts from the start of the New Year and redrawing the lines.

Once upon a time…

At the start of 2022, forecasters were bullishly predicting that commercial real estate investment and lending levels would be nearly as good as 2021. This was significant, considering that 2021 set new records for deal-making and lending volume as the debt and equity capital amassed during the pandemic while looking for a home in U.S. commercial real estate.

What a difference a few quarters have made. Virtually, all the predictions that started the New Year were obsolete by mid-summer. The abrupt shift in market conditions is palpable and surprised just about everyone. Now, markets are reaching an inflection point that is in sharp contrast with the strong rebound of last year.

The two I’s: Inflation and interest rates

At the core of the recent upset in market sentiment is the persistence of high inflation, which seems to be ignoring all attempts by the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates and bring prices down. Higher inflation is having a ripple effect throughout the economy, pushing up the costs of construction materials, energy, and consumer goods. Among the notable economic indicators showing stress at mid-year was the GDP, which fell for the second consecutive quarter, and the Consumer Price Index, which jumped 9.1% year-over-year in June – the highest increase in about four decades.

In July, the CPI fell to 8.5%, an encouraging sign that inflation was beginning to stabilize. By the latest August report from LightBox, however, hopes were dashed when the CPI showed little improvement, holding firm at a still high of 8.3%.

The market is responding to a higher cost of capital as lenders tap the brakes. As the cost of capital rises with each interest rate hike and concerns of a recession intensify, many large U.S. financial institutions are pulling back on their loan originations for the rest of 2022 and into 2023. This change in tenor is a significant shift, given that 2021 was a record-breaking year for commercial real estate lending. Many lenders have already shifted to a more defensive underwriting position as they look to mitigate risks.

The Mortgage Bankers Association, which had previously predicted that lending levels in 2022 would break the $1 trillion mark for the first time revised their forecast downward in mid-July. By year-end, the MBA now expects volume to be a significant 18% below 2021 levels—and one-third lower than the bullish forecast made in February. Now, investment activity is cooling as higher borrowing costs drive some buyers from the market.

In the investment world, transactions were down by 29% at midyear due to a thinning buyer pool as higher rates impact access to debt capital. Market volatility is causing investors, lenders, and owners to rethink strategies, reconsider assumptions, and prepare for possible disruption.

Looking ahead to year-end and 2023

The rapid and diverse shifts in the market make for an uncertain forecast and certainly a more cautious investment environment. The battle between inflation and interest rates will continue over the near term. As LightBox’s investor, lender, valuation, and environmental due diligence clients move toward the 4th quarter—typically the busiest quarter of the year–unprecedented volatility is driving them to recalibrate and reforecast given recent market developments.

Continued softness in transaction volume is likely to continue as rates and valuations establish a new equilibrium. If property prices begin to level out, there will be more pressure on buyers to consider how to improve a property to get their return on investment. The next chapter of the commercial real estate market will be defined by how long inflation sticks around, how high interest rates go, and whether the economy slips into a recession (and how deeply). The greatest areas of opportunity will be found in asset classes like office and retail that are evolving away from traditional uses and morphing to meet the needs of today’s market. Until barometers stabilize, it’s important to rethink assumptions, watch developments, and recalibrate as necessary.

Dianne Crocker is the Principal Analyst for LightBox, delivering strategic analytics, best practices in risk management, market intelligence reports, educational seminars, and customized research for stakeholders in commercial real estate deals. She is a highly respected expert on commercial real estate market trends. This piece is exclusive to Broadband Breakfast.

Broadband Breakfast accepts commentary from informed observers of the broadband scene. Please send pieces to commentary@breakfast.media. The views reflected in Expert Opinion pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of Broadband Breakfast and Breakfast Media LLC.

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Digital Inclusion

White House Presses Outreach Initiatives for Affordable Connectivity Program

White House officials urged schools and other local institutions to engage in text-message and social media campaigns for the ACP.

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Photo of President Joe Biden, obtained from Wikimedia.

WASHINGTON, September 15, 2022 – The White House on Monday urged schools and other local institutions to engage in text-message and social media campaigns, PSAs, and other community-outreach initiatives to promote enrollment in the Federal Communications Commission’s Affordable Connectivity Program among of families with school-age children.

The Affordable Connectivity Program subsidizes internet service bill for low-income households. Monthly discounts of up to $30 are available for non-tribal enrollees, $75 for applicants on qualifying tribal lands. In addition, the ACP offers enrollees a one-time discount $100 on qualifying device purchases.

To boost ACP enrollment, speakers encouraged schools to reach out directly to families. Bharat Ramanurti, deputy director of the National Economic Council, said text-message campaigns drive up enrollment in government programs. A Massachusetts text-message campaign doubled ACP enrollment rates in subsequent days, said Ramanurti.

Also highlighted was the administration’s “ACP Consumer Outreach Kit,” which provides partners with resources, including fliers, posters, audio PSAs, social-media templates.

In fact, many of these tactics have proved effective in increasing ACP enrollment among telehealth patients. In addition, Microsoft and Communications Workers of America recently announced a circuit of ACP sign-up drives in that will tour several states including Michigan, New York, and North Carolina.

Political considerations as November nears…

As students go back to school and midterm elections loom, new ACP sign-ups could benefit the enrollees as well as the Democrats’ political chances.

Public officials and private experts alike recognize the value of community involvement in extending broadband connectivity and digital literacy nationwide. Marshaling community institutions – like schools – to maximize broadband access could help Biden and other Democrats overcome inflation-driven electoral headwinds in the November midterms. The White House obtained commitments from 20 providers to offer high-speed internet plans for $30 per month or less to ACP-eligible households – this means no out-of-pocket costs for recipients of ACP discounts. Free broadband coverage could bring the administration – and all Democrat candidates, by extension – back into the good graces of low-income families.

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Digital Inclusion

Federal Government Must Collect More Granular Data on Minorities to Aid in Initiatives

Discussion on the “data gap” comes as the nation tries to connect the unserved and underserved.

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Screenshot of Denice Ross, the White House's chief data scientist

WASHINGTON, August 31, 2022 – In order to serve the needs of all Americans, the federal government must gather and act on more granular data on underrepresented minority groups that have been historically overlooked in the data-gathering process, said Denice Ross, the White House’s chief data scientist.

Ross argued at an online event hosted by the Center for Data Innovation on Tuesday that many minority groups – including African Americans, Native Americans, the disabled, and the LGBT community – are disadvantaged by the “data divide,” a term which refers to disparities in the amount and quality of available data on various groups.

Ross was citing a report issued earlier this year by the Equitable Data Working Group, a task force created by President Joe Biden earlier this year, which said policymakers are often unable to perceive or ameliorate problems facing minority communities if data on those communities are unavailable or insufficiently disaggregated. Disaggregated data, the report says, is “data that can be broken down and analyzed by race, ethnicity, gender, disability, income, veteran status, age, or other key demographic variables.”

The report recommends a federal data collection strategy that safeguards privacy and facilitates analysis of “the interconnectedness of identities and experiences,” or how individuals’ various minority-group identities compound the societal disadvantages they face. The report also advocates the creation of “incentives and pathways” promoting minority representation in the data collection process.

The recommendations come as the broadband industry and federal agencies try to improve knowledge of where there are unserved and underserved areas for broadband connectivity and to take action to improve digital literacy. The Illinois Broadband Lab and other state broadband offices, for example, implement a community-up approach to data gathering. Direct community involvement provides data insights that help states deliver coverage to in-need communities, officials say. 

In the panel discussion that followed Ross’s opening remarks, experts and academics agreed that community outreach is a necessary step in closing the data divide. Dominique Harrison, director of bank Citi Ventures’ Racial Equity Design and Data Initiative, said that some in the African American community view data collection with skepticism.  

Christopher Wood, executive director of LGBT Tech, argued that the passage of a federal privacy standard is a critical step toward establishing trust in government data collection. The most recent attempt to pass a national privacy regime, the American Data Privacy and Protection Act, was approved by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce last month.

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