2015 Broadband Communities Summit

Rural Program Committee

Jane Patterson
The View Forward –
Go Forward
Michael Curri
Founder and President
Strategic Networks Group, Inc.
Drew Clark
Chairman and Publisher
Of Counsel, Kirton McConkie
Joel Mulder
Senior Director of Business Development
G4S Technology LLC
Keith Montgomery
VP Rural
Telecom Congress and
CFO Declaration
Networks Group Inc.
Frank Odasz
Lone Eagle
Eric Ogle
RTC Treasurer
The Howard Baker Center
for Public Policy
Jason Whittet
Program Officer
IDC Research


Rural Program

Connecting Communities Across the Countryside of Rural America
Taking Back to Rural America to Achieve High Speed Broadband

This year, the Rural Telecommunications Congress sessions, co-located with the Summit, focus on information to take back to rural America to achieve high speed broadband. Learn about real companies that have produced real economic gains with broadband. Get the details of new financing options for network builds. Understand what kind of broadband rural America needs, given new applications and the Internet of Things. Discover the rural strategies of successful providers that are moving ahead. Get a reality check on where we stand now.

Tuesday, April 14

3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
US—Digital Nation
Accomplishments of the State Broadband Initiative that can drive Rural America to move forward with Gigabit/High Speed Broadband.

Jane Patterson, President, The View Forward – Go Forward

Anne Neville – Director, State Broadband Initiative, NTIA; U.S. Department of Commerce


4:10 pm – 5:00 pm
Broadband Is Like Oxygen to Rural America – What Technology and Companies Will Provide It?
This session will examine the broadband needs of rural America. 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 will non-profits, cooperatives and municipal broadband providers help fill the void? Hear the perspectives of a range of rural Internet providers.

Drew Clark - Chairman and Publisher, BroadbandBreakfast.com; Of Counsel, Kirton McConkie

Luis Reyes – Chief Executive Officer & General Manager, Kit Carson Electric
Will Aycock – CEO, Greenlight, the Gigabit Network in Wilson, North Carolina, that petitioned the Federal Communications Commission for the removal of state broadband restrictions
Ron Walters - CEO of PANGAEA of Tryon, North Carolina, the first broadband fiber nonprofit award-winning network honored by Broadband Communities Magazine a decade ago.
Bill Shilito – President, North Carolina Wireless, LLC


Wednesday, April 15

9:00 am – 9:50 am
Lessons From Successful Broadband Deployments
Join this session to learn and discuss the state of rural broadband. Hear actionable details about the innovative projects that are providing solutions in rural areas to create positive economic and community outcomes from broadband deployment.

Jason Whittet – Program Officer, IDC Research

Tony Wilhelm – Vice President, Affiniti
Mark Dzwonczyk – CEO, Nicholville Telephone
David Salway – Executive Director, NY State Broadband Program
Luis Reyes – Chief Executive Officer & General Manager, Kit Carson Electric
Walter Haase – General Manager, Navajo Tribal Utility Authority


10:00 am – 10:50 am
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 farming and state economy, and discussion on how fiber and wireless networks are essential infrastructure to rural America.

Keith Montgomery – VP Rural Telecom Congress and CFO Declaration Networks Group Inc.

Mark Lewellen – Manager Spectrum Advocacy, John Deere & Company,
Dan Hunter – Assistant Commissioner for Water and Rural Affairs, Texas Dept. of Agriculture
Phillip K. Brown – Director of State/Federal Policy & Broadband Planning, Connected Nation


2:30 pm – 3:20 pm
The Internet of Things – Its Impact on Rural Communities
How Gigabit broadband will be used in rural settings. 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, turn on the irrigation system when the soil is too dry or wait if rain is forecast. Slow progress with medical devices illustrate some challenges. But the fitness industry is showing the way by exploiting ideas to integrate measurement, analysis and social media. Ubiquitous broadband with low latency and high capacity is critical to make it happen.

Jane Patterson – President, The View Forward – Go Forward

Mark Johnson – Chief Technology Officer and Vice President of Data Architecture, MCNC
John Chowdhury – Utility Practice Director, Fujitsu Network Communications


3:30 pm – 4:20 pm
Monitoring Rural America’s Health
Learn from the projects that have outstanding outcomes in rural and statewide telehealth networks. There will be plenty of time to ask questions and have real interactive discussions. Hear about how laws and regulations have impacts at state levels and privacy and security.

Galen Updike – Rural Telecom Congress (RTC)

David Kirby – Project Director, NC TeleHealth Network
Michael Keeling - Partner, Keeling Law Offices PC & Lobbyist for ATIC / Arizona TeleHealth


5:10 pm – 6:10 pm
Education and Its Impact at the Community Level
Related to “adequate broadband to assure quality of life,” diverse Community Anchor Institutions; libraries, schools, community colleges, eco-dev agencies, public safety, and health organizations, are all challenged with finding the most effective “best practices for training to outcomes.” New solutions are evolving across multiple platforms for innovation, from mobile devices to Gigacities, and across sectors, from health to digital entrepreneurship, and across America’s diverse demographics, particularly the 1:2 Americans who are low income and/or in poverty.

Frank Odasz – President, Lone Eagle Consulting

John Windhausen – Executive Director, Broadband (SHLB) Coalition
Myra Best – Executive Director, DigiLEARN



Thursday, April 16

9:40 am – 10:30 am
Plows to Tractors to Computers to Prosperity
The digital divide is not only about affordability, but also having the resources and knowledge available to effectively utilize broadband and its solutions. The ability to conduct business from anywhere depends on driving an understanding how to make the digital economy come true no matter where you live.

Michael Curri will delve into SNG’s research across the nation, including numerous rural areas to not only look into how rural homes and businesses are falling behind in broadband utilization, but will present possible solutions to help drive improvements.

Eric Ogle – RTC Treasurer, The Howard Baker Center for Public Policy

Larry Gates – Utilities Director, City of Chanute, Kansas
Michael Curri – Founder and President, Strategic Networks Group, Inc.
Maria Alvarez Stroud – Director, Broadband & E-Commerce Education Center, University of Wisconsin - Extension


10:40 am – 11:30 am
Who Will Gigafy Our Rural Infrastructure?
This session will focus on how a cross-sector partnership, as well as nonprofit and for profits cooperate to provide broadband now and the future ideas to take home in your toolkit with an added example of an exciting application in Texas. This will be an unusual 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 still in operation, and its partnership with Powell Electric ( Tennessee and Virginia) and a major health initiative ( UT Health Northeast, the consortium was People’s Telephone’s BTOP educational and medical partner in creating the Northeast Texas Medical and Educational Fiber Optic Network. Texas)

Joel Mulder – Senior Director of Business Development, G4S Technology LLC

Marshall Cherry – Chief Operating Officer, 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.





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