SAN ANTONIO, TX â€” Several leading rural infrastructure groups announced a joint campaign to help promote collaboration and strategic partnerships in deploying and operating broadband networks in unserved parts of rural America. The Partners In Broadband campaign, officially launched during the 2017 CFC Forum, focuses on creating alliances through a website that looks to connect those interested in delivering robust broadband to unserved rural communities with nearby partners that share a community commitment and have expertise in broadband network deployment and operation.
Promoting the Value of Rural Broadband
NTCA â€“ The Rural Broadband Association, the National Information Solutions Cooperative (NISC), NRTC and National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corp. (CFC) developed the new site, available at http://www.PartnersInBroadband.com, and will promote it to their respective customers and members, representing more than 1,500 community-based broadband and electric service providers in 49 states. The site seeks to create greater recognition that broadband is an essential tool for many individuals, businesses, and anchor institutions and that making robust and affordable services available and sustainable in rural communities is a challenge requiring resolve, resourcefulness, industry expertise and a special commitment to community. By filling out a simple online form, electric cooperatives, utilities and municipalities will be matched with nearby partners with telecom expertise to evaluate options to address the broadband gap and promote partnerships wherever possible.
â€œNTCA members have an unparalleled track record in deploying and sustaining state-of-the-art, advanced communications infrastructure in the most rural, hard-to-reach areas of the country,â€ said NTCA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Shirley Bloomfield. â€œBut not all rural communities are lucky enough to be served by a rural telco. Millions of Americans in these other areas have limited or even no access to the broadband they need, and we believe we can do better by these Americans by working together with committed partners based in their communities.â€
Data Requirements are Transforming How Utilities Operate
â€œNISC has operated in both the electric and telecommunications industry for the past 50 years. We recognize the data requirements of todayâ€™s modern utility is transforming how they operate and how their end-users live and work,â€ said NISC Vice President of Member & Industry Jasper Schneider. â€œWe believe that the experience of our national partners and the expertise of our many members can be powerful partners in providing broadband to the remaining underserved areas.â€
â€œNRTCâ€™s membersâ€”electric, telephone and telecommunications cooperatives and companiesâ€”have a rich history of bringing the best technology solutions to the communities they proudly serve,â€ said Tim Bryan, CEO of NRTC. â€œIn the more sparsely populated parts of our country, it often takes partnerships to make this happen, especially when it comes to broadband. NRTC is proud to work with our allied national organizations to make this website available to facilitate collaboration and additional broadband deployment, and we look forward to helping our members fully utilize this valuable tool.â€
â€œAs the former administrator of the Rural Utilities Service, where I worked closely with both electric and telecom cooperatives, I understand their commitment to rural communities,â€ said Hilda Legg. â€œI am delighted that NTCA, NRTC and NISC have joined together to address some of the most critical and difficult to solve problems of keeping rural communities economically vibrant by facilitating the deployment of true high-speed broadband to rural residents.â€