Rural Broadband Track

Tuesday May 01

3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
County-Level Economic Development: A Key to Rural Broadband Progress

New policies are coming online from the Trump administration that seek to increase rural broadband deployment by making use of federally owned dark fiber. Counties, too, are streamlining and facilitating access to local government resources by licensing existing dark fiber networks. This session explores how these new dynamics affect county-level economic development.

Drew Clark – Editor and Publisher,; President, Rural Telecommunications Congress

Commissioner Nathan Davis - Ferry County, Vice Chairman and County Commissioner, State of Washington
Jon Walton - CIO, San Mateo County, California
Nathaniel Watkins - CIO, Garrett County, Maryland
Trevor Lane - Assistant Professor, Community & Economic Development, Washington State University, Ferry County Extension Office

4:10 pm -5:00 pm
What digiLEARN in School Today?

Learn about an exciting initiative that relies on connecting schools to high speed broadband and on using teachers as digital scholars, totally disrupting the old classroom model. Key to their discussion will be the important lessons about the central role technology can play in providing equity and access for each learner and how rural and state partnerships to fund technology can be a sound investment for states. You’ll get a show and tell from these digiLEARN leaders on how they and this non-profit dedicated to accelerating digital learning have created a new model utilizing technology and the talent of teachers to see to it that every student reaches success. And, yes, raising your hand and asking questions is encouraged.

Myra Best – Executive Director, digiLEARN

The Hon. Beverly Perdue – Former Governor, State of North Carolina; Chairman, digiLEARN
The Hon. Jim Geringer – Former Governor, State of Wyoming; Vice Chairman, digiLEARN
Phil Emer – Director of Technology Planning & Policy, The William & Ida Friday Institute for Education Innovation, NC State University
The Hon. Craig Horn – State Representative, District 68, North Carolina; Chairman of the Education Policy Committee and the Education Appropriations Subcommittee of the North Carolina House of Representatives

Wednesday May 02

8:00 am -8:50 am
Case Studies: How Economic Growth Is the Payoff for Driving Local Broadband Demand

This session takes a careful look at two western North Carolina communities that collaborated to create and use their fiber-optic network to recover from a 14% unemployment rate and accelerate growth. Pangaea Internet and the local communities it serves have attracted new companies to the area, thanks to offering reliable internet at virtually unlimited speeds at an affordable cost. Success: Statistics will surprise you! In Highland, Ill., the city is currently assessing data on demand and impact to redesign its fiber network’s business and operations plan. The goals: Drive uptake of higher value services by local businesses to drive economic growth to more quickly achieve network sustainability.

Jane Patterson – President, Jane Patterson & Associates
Mark Latham – City Manager, City of Highland

9:00 am – 9:50 am
Robust Rural Broadband: How to Get It… and How to Watch Your Bottom Line

They’ve been there, done that. Hear from two rural broadband experts who understand better than most all the costs and challenges involved in bringing fiber broadband to rural America. They’re helping provide voice, internet and video to more than 8,000 customers in one of the most rural and remote areas in northwestern Wisconsin – approximately 4 people per square mile – including bringing them 1Gb capabilities. They’ll discuss various business models and bring to light some costs that providers with little or no experience may not even be aware of. Bottom line: They’ll be upfront about the costs… and the benefits.

Keith Montgomery – Chief Financial Officer Declaration Networks Group Inc. and board member Rural Telecommunications Congress

Leo Carlson – Director of Customer Service, Sales, Marketing, and IT, Norvado
Mike Teeples – Vice-President, Partner, TCA
Michael Faloon – Chief Strategy Officer, CFA, FRM Neighborly and, Maine

10:00 am – 10:50 am
Healthcare: Broadband-Enabled Transformation

Rural communities across the country are struggling to survive. In most, more than 25% of the population is over 65, requiring additional health services and support amid the growing lack of healthcare providers in rural areas. University of Wisconsin – Extension has created a replicable framework that communities can use to marry broadband technology with their seniors’ needs. The presenters will draw on real-world cases, emphasizing how the technologies fit together and how they impact workforce requirements.

Bernadine Joselyn – Director, Public Policy & Engagement Program, Blandin Foundation

Leo Carlson - Director of Customer Service, Sales, Marketing, and IT, Norvado
Gail Huycke - Connected Aging Communities Director, BEEC - University of Wisconsin Extension
Chris Meyer - Director of Virtual Care, Marshfield Clinic

Thursday May 03

8:00 am – 9:00 am
Grass-Roots Blue Ribbon Panel: Rural Megatrends in 2018 and Beyond

Everything from AI and major workforce disruptions to smartphone addiction and overuse of social media, rural lifestyle is in the crosshairs. Our blue-ribbon panel of rural experts, passionately committed to the belief that rural America cannot be left behind, looks at the megatrends that bode well… or not… for a brighter future.

Joel Smith – CEO, Accelerant BSP
Tim Marema – Editor, Daily Yonder

9:10 am – 10:00 am
ABC’s of Funding

Joint Track with the Economic Development Track
USF, RUS, CAF, FCC, E-Rate – It’s an alphabet soup of sources when you’re looking for funding for your broadband network. And that’s not even counting the municipal finance sector. Join this show me the money discussion: where to find it, how to access it, what sources are best for you, presented jointly by the Rural Broadband and Economic Development Tracks.

Jeff Sural – Director, Broadband Infrastructure Office, NC Department of Information Technology, Raleigh, NC

Tim Herwig – District Community Affairs Officer, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
Tim Riley – Service Provider Partnership Manager, Education Super Highway
John Graham, PhD – Senior Investigator, North Carolina Institute for Public Health; Adjunct Assistant Professor, Public Health Leadership Program, University of North Carolina
Jose DeLeon – General Field Representative, Rural Development, Rural Utilities Service, USDA

10:10 am – 11:00 am
Serving Our Most Vulnerable Populations

Joint Track with the Economic Development Track
Good broadband has increasingly become a necessity of modern life, but America has yet to meet the challenge of serving our most vulnerable populations well. How and where are we falling short? What more needs to be done? This session explores these questions, focusing on the needs of older adults, Native Americans, Americans with disabilities and lower-income individuals and families.

Nicol Turner-Lee, Ph.D. – Fellow, Governance Studies, Center for Technology Innovation Brookings Institution

Tim Will – Principal, Catalpa
Matthew Rantanen – Director of Technology, Southern California Chairmen’s Association (SCTCA)
Alex Glazebrook – Director of Technology and Learning, Older Adults Technology Services (OATS)
11:10 am – 12:00 pm

Power Play: Co-ops Step Up

Joint Track with the Economic Development Track
There’s a surge in co-ops stepping up to the plate in areas where the usual Wall Street-driven business case for broadband deployment is less than optimal. It’s both an economic and rural issue, and our Rural Broadband and Economic Development tracks have joined forces to highlight co-ops that have used broadband deployments to serve their communities.

Catharine Rice - CLIC Project Director

Jonathan Chambers – Partner, Conexon
Eric Cramer – President/CEO, Wilkes Communications/River Street Networks, Wilkesboro, NC
John Donner – Vice President, Electric Distribution Banking Division, Co-Bank/ACB, Minneapolis, MN

April 30 - May 3, 2018

Renaissance Hotel in Austin, Texas

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Here's a glance at last year's Summit.

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