Several rural infrastructure groups announced a joint campaign Monday to help promote collaboration and partnerships to deploy and operate broadband networks in unserved parts of rural America. The “Partners in Broadband” campaign focuses on creating alliances through a website that looks to connect those interested in delivering broadband to unserved rural communities with nearby partners that share a community commitment and have expertise in broadband network deployment and operation.
NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association, the National Information Solutions Cooperative, NRTC and National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corp. developed the new site, and will promote it to their customers and members, representing more than 1,500 community-based broadband and electric service providers in 49 states.
Through the site, they seek 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 an 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. “Not all rural communities are lucky enough to be served by a rural telco,” said NTCA CEO Shirley Bloomfield. “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.”
“We recognize the data requirements of today’s modern utility are transforming how they operate and how their end-users live and work,” said NISC VP of Member & Industry Jasper Schneider. “We believe 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.”
It often takes partnerships to make things happen in the more sparsely populated parts of our country, notes NRTC CEO Tim Bryan, citing the membership of electric, telephone and telecommunications cooperatives and companies.
June 13, 2017