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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

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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

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John Chowdhury

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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

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Gene Crick Presentation

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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

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Breakfast Media LLC CEO Drew Clark is a nationally respected U.S. telecommunications attorney. An early advocate of better broadband, better lives, he founded the Broadband Census crowdsourcing campaign for better broadband data in 2008. That effort became the Broadband Breakfast media community. As Editor and Publisher, Clark presides over news coverage focused on digital infrastructure investment, broadband’s impact, and Big Tech. Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, Clark served as head of the Partnership for a Connected Illinois, a state broadband initiative. Now, in light of the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, attorney Clark helps fiber-based and wireless clients secure funding, identify markets, broker infrastructure and operate in the public right of way. He also helps fixed wireless providers obtain spectrum licenses from the Federal Communications Commission. The articles and posts on Broadband Breakfast and affiliated social media, including the BroadbandCensus Twitter feed, are not legal advice or legal services, do not constitute the creation of an attorney-client privilege, and represent the views of their respective authors.

Public Safety

Lack of People Opting Into Emergency Alerts Poses Problems for Natural Disaster Scenarios

Disaster protocol experts remarked on lessons learned from fire outbreaks in Boulder County, Colorado.

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Photo of Lori Adams of Nokia discussing emergency communications response to Colorado wildfires at Mountain Connect by Drew Clark

KEYSTONE, Colorado, May 26, 2022 – A lack of people opting into local emergency alerts poses a severe challenge for public officials during natural disasters, a panel of experts said Tuesday.

The panel remarked on just how significant the number of people not subscribed to emergency alerts is during a panel on disaster preparedness at the annual Mountain Connect conference.

In Boulder, getting emergency alerts is on an opt-in basis, whereas in other areas, it is opt-in by default.

The specific focus of the panel was on lessons learned from the outbreak of fires in Boulder County, Colorado this past December.

Fires presented challenges for providers

Several challenges of managing a response to the fires were recounted.

Blake Nelson, Comcast’s senior director of construction, stated that some of his company’s underground broadband infrastructure buried at a considerable depth was still melted from the heat of the fires to cause service outages for customers. Thomas Tyler, no stranger to disaster response as Louisiana’s deputy director for broadband and connectivity through several hurricane responses, pointed out that it is quite possible local officials may be skilled in responding to one type of disaster such as a hurricane but not another like a tornado.

Screenshot of Blake Nelson, Jon Saunders, Wesley Wright and Thomas Tyler (left to right)

The panel also spoke to the challenges of coordination between essential companies and agencies if people do not have personal relationships with those who work at such entities other than their own.

Successful emergency responses to service outages during disaster serve as models for the future, with Nelson stating the internet provider opened up its wireless hotspots to temporarily increase service access and Tyler saying that standing up Starlink satellite internet access helped bring broadband to Louisiana communities only accessible by bridge or boat during their periods of disaster.

Conversation moderator Lori Adams, senior director of broadband policy and funding strategy at Nokia, suggested keeping town servers not in municipal buildings but rather off site and Wesley Wright, partner at law firm Keller and Heckman, recommended the Federal Communications Commission’s practice of developing strong backup options for monitoring service outages.

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Education

Education Executives Tout Artificial Intelligence Benefits for Classroom Learning

Artificial intelligence can help fill in gaps when teacher resources are limited, an event heard.

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Screenshot of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation event

WASHINGTON, May 25, 2022 – Artificial intelligence can help fill in gaps when teacher resources are limited and provide extra help for students who need individualized teaching, experts said at an event hosted by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation on Tuesday.

As policy makers weigh the options for a structure for AI in the classroom, panelists agreed on its benefits for both teachers and students. Michelle Zhou, CEO of AI company Juji Inc., said AI technology in the classroom can be tools and applications like chatbots for real-time questions during class, and post-class questions at home for when the teacher is not available.

Lynda Martin, director of learning strategy for strategic solutions at learning company McGraw Hill, said AI provides the extra help students need, but sometimes are too shy to ask.

When a teacher has a high volume of students, it is difficult to effectively help and connect with each student individually, Martin said. AI gives the teacher crucial information to get to know the student on a more personal level as it transmits the student’s misconceptions and detects areas of need. AI can bring student concerns to the teacher and foster “individualized attention” she added.

Privacy and security concerns

Jeremy Roschelle from Digital Promise, an education non-profit, raise the privacy and security concerns in his cautious support of the idea. He noted that there needs to be more information about who has access to the data and what kinds of data should be used.

Beside bias and ethical issues that AI could pose, Roschelle cautioned about the potential harms AI could present, including misdetecting a child’s behavior, resulting in potential educational setbacks.

To utilize the technology and ensure education outcomes, Sharad Sundararajan, co-founder of learning company Merlyn Minds, touched on the need for AI training. As Merlyn Minds provides digital assistant technology to educators, he noted the company’s focus on training teachers and students on various forms of AI tech to enhance user experience.

There is an “appetite” from schools that are calling for this, said Sundararajan. As policy makers contemplate a strategic vision for AI in the classroom, he added that AI adoption in the classroom around the country will require algorithmic work, company partnerships, and government efforts for the best AI success.

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Education

Closing Digital Divide for Students Requires Community Involvement, Workforce Training, Event Hears

Barriers to closing the divide including awareness of programs, resources and increasing digital literacy.

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Screenshot of Ji Soo Song, broadband advisor at the U.S. Department of Education

WASHINGTON, May 24, 2022 – Experts in education technology said Monday that to close the digital divide for students, the nation must eliminate barriers at the community level, including raising awareness of programs and resources and increasing digital literacy.

“We are hearing from schools and district leaders that it’s not enough to make just broadband available and affordable, although those are critical steps,” said Ji Soo Song, broadband advisor at the U.S. Department of Education, said at an event hosted by trade group SIIA, formerly known as the Software and Information Industry Association. “We also have to make sure that we’re solving for the human barriers that often inhibit adoption.”

Song highlighted four “initial barriers” that students are facing. First, a lack of awareness and understanding of programs and resources. Second, signing up for programs is often confusing regarding eligibility requirements, application status, and installment. Third, there may be a lack of trust between communities and services. Fourth, a lack of digital literacy among students can prevent them from succeeding.

Song said he believes that with the Infrastructure, Investment and Jobs Act, states have an “incredible opportunity to address adoption barriers.”

Workforce shortages still a problem, but funding may help

Rosemary Lahasky, senior director for government affairs at Cengage, a maker of educational content, added that current data suggests that 16 million students lack access to a broadband connection. While this disparity in American homes remained, tech job posts nearly doubled in 2021, but the average number of applicants shrunk by 25 percent.

But panelists said they are hopeful that funding will address these shortages. “Almost every single agency that received funding…received either direct funding for workforce training or were given the flexibility to spend some of their money on workforce training,” said Lahasky of the IIJA, which carves out funding for workforce training.

This money is also, according to Lahasky, funding apprenticeship programs, which have been recommended by many as a solution to workforce shortages.

Student connectivity has been a long-held concern following the COVID-19 pandemic. Students themselves are stepping up to fight against the digital inequity in their schools as technology becomes increasingly essential for success. Texas students organized a panel to discuss internet access in education just last year.

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