The Rural Telecommunications Congress in Austin - April 5-7, 2016

Rural Program

Connecting Communities Across Rural America
Fueling the Fire of Rural Innovation Only Possible with High Speed Broadband

This year, the Rural Telecommunications Congress sessions, co-located with the Summit, focus on what rural America needs to achieve high speed broadband, and to leverage it and unlock community benefits. 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 and communities that are moving ahead. Get a reality check on where we stand now.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

8:00 am – 9:00 am
Featured Keynote Address: “The Internet of Things: Financial and Societal Impacts on Urban and Rural America” 
The Internet of Things promises new forms of automation – and new uses for broadband technology – but activities have been scattered among disparate applications. How will cities and rural areas alike benefit from “smart cities” and other Internet of Things applications?

Introduced by Drew Clark, President, Rural Telecommunications Congress; Of Counsel, Best Best & Krieger, LLP

Mark Johnson – Chief Technology Officer and Vice President of Data Architecture, MCNC

Florence D. Hudson – Senior Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer, Internet2

Paul Hopingardner – Deputy CIO, City of Austin
Steven Garbrecht – Director, GE Digital 
Patrick Sims – CTO, Lightcore Group, Inc. 
Anne Schwieger – Broadband and Digital Equity Advocate, City of Boston Department of Innovation & Technology 

3:00 pm – 4:00 pm 
Ensuring State Involvement in Broadband Development: A Blue Ribbon Panel of Broadband Leaders 
In this Blue Ribbon Panel, learn from key state leaders about life after stimulus funding and their efforts to advance the economic and social opportunities in their states through broadband and its applications. These are leaders driving the benefits of broadband who will share with you how to state leadership can capitalize on your own new or emerging broadband infrastructure – whether there is a state broadband office in place or not. State broadband leaders will share tools, techniques and resources created to continue and expand efforts.

Just because ARRA funding is gone and often with it a State’s Broadband Authority, shouldn’t mean the end of your state leadership’s involvement.

Michael Curri – Founder and President, Strategic Networks Group, Inc., Member, RTC Board

Amanda Martin – Special Projects Director, Tennessee Economic and Community Development 
Kelleigh Cole – Director, Utah Broadband Outreach Center
Monica Babine – Senior Associate Washington State University 
Jeffrey Gavlinski – Co-Chair, Mountain Connect, Executive Consultant, Fujitsu 
Lonnie Lawson – President & CEO, The Center for Rural Development

4:10 pm – 5:00 pm 
Extending Middle Mile Fiber Networks to Last Mile Homes in Rural Areas
The Broadband Technology Opportunities Program provided for 114,000 miles of fiber, most of it “middle mile” and open access, invested throughout the country. That’s enough fiber to circle the globe four times! What are states, cities and private companies doing to bring the middle mile fiber to the home?

Joel Mulder – Vice President of Sales, ex2 Technology, Member, RTC Board 

Sandeep Taxali – Senior Policy Analyst and Broadband Development Specialist, NTIA/US Department of Commerce 
Rob Henry – Chief Technology Officer, City of Davenport, Iowa
Chris Janson – Industry Marketing, Nokia; Board member, OpenCape; Board member, RTC
Brad Moline - President, ALLO Communications


Wednesday, April 6, 2016

9:00 am – 9:50 am 
The Role of the Rural Utilities Service in Promoting Broadband
Broadband Communities Vice Chairman Hilda Legg, the 15th administrator of RUS, interviews Brandon McBride, the 19th (and current) administrator, about RUS’s role in helping to get broadband to rural areas of the United States. Find out about RUS’s current programs, which entities are eligible for funding, how the USF transformation affects RUS borrowers’ ability to repay their loans – and when rural America will be gigafied.

Hilda Legg – Vice Chairman, Broadband Communities Magazine

Brandon McBride – Administrator, USDA Rural Utilities Services

10:00 am – 10:50 am
Rural Broadband Issues for Tribal Nations and the Developing World
This panel will consider challenges and solutions for ensuring the effective use and adoption of broadband in tribal communities. What are meaningful measures of broadband usage? What are the best practices for creating measurable benefits across diverse intended audiences? How can FTTH, wireless, smartphones, and social media be used as platforms for innovation? Find out why “the heart of the problem is the heart of the opportunity.”

Frank Odasz – President, Lone Eagle Consulting, Member, RTC Board

Dileep Agrawal – Information Technology and Services, Katmandu, Nepal
Julia Pulidindi – Broadband Analyst, Advantage Engineers
Bill Coleman, Consultant to Blandin Foundation 
Richard Lowenberg – Founding Director, 1st-Mile Institute

2:30 pm – 3:20 pm
How Funding Broadband Can Help Revive Rural Areas, Part 1 – The Connect America Fund
This panel will examine recent changes in the Connect America Fund, and how rural regions can take greater advantage of this program.

Carol Mattey – Deputy Bureau Chief, Wireline Division, Federal Communications Commission

Eric Einhorn – S.V.P. Government Affairs & Strategy, Windstream
Eric Freesmeier – President & CEO, Pulse Broadband
John Padalino – Partner, Kemp Smith LLP; Former Administrator, RUS 

3:30 pm – 4:20 pm 
Town Hall Meeting on the Broadband Opportunity Council Report – What Does it Mean for Rural America?
In its more than 15 year history, the Rural Telecommunications Congress has served to drive high-quality broadband to rural parts of America. In this unique “town hall” session, the community of interest involved in rural technology and economic development are invited to hear and take part in an interactive discussion about ways to strengthen the pillars of a strong broadband ecosystem, including: (1) Statewide broadband planning; (2) Next-generation infrastructure investments; and (3) Educating individuals and organizations on how easy it is to effectively use broadband. Discussants will make three to five minute “sparkplug” presentations before the open town hall.

Moderated by Drew Clark, President, Rural Telecommunications Congress; Of Counsel, Best Best & Krieger, LLP

  • The Roots of RTC: Eric Ogle – Magellan Advisors; Member, RTC Board

  • The State Broadband Initiative: Michael Curri – Founder and President, Strategic Networks Group, Inc., Member, RTC Board

  • RUS Broadband Programs: John Padalino – Partner, Kemp Smith LLP; Former Administrator, RUS

  • The Connect America Fund: Carol Mattey – Deputy Bureau Chief, Wireline Division, Federal Communications Commission

  • NTIA's Role in the Broadband Opportunity Council: Karen Perry – Broadband Specialists, BroadbandUSA, NTIA

  • The Role of Foundations: Bernadine Joselyn – Director of Public Policy and Engagement, The Blandin Foundation

5:10 pm – 6:10 pm
How A Little Bit of Broadband Funding Can Help Revive Rural Areas, Part 2 – Mobilizing Rural Development
Living in low density rural America and trying to get something going to address broadband but can’t seem to move forward? You are not alone! This session will give insights on what you might try, what you should avoid and examples of the many different ways communities have made progress, from education to local coalition-building and e-commerce training to awarding small grants. Also hear about how federal programs can marshal rural community mobilization. Attention will be equally divided between increasing access, adoption and utilization.

Maria Alvarez Stroud – Director, Broadband & E-Commerce Education Center, University of Wisconsin Extension; Member, RTC Board

Bernadine Joselyn – Director of Public Policy and Engagement, The Blandin Foundation 
Angie Dickison – State Broadband Director – Public Service Commission, The State of Wisconsin 
Roberto Gallardo, Ph.D. – Associate Extension Professor & Leader, The Intelligent Community Institute, Mississippi State University Extension
Jennifer Holtz – Attorney, Kelley Drye & Warren LLP


Thursday, April 7, 2016

9:40 am – 10:30 am 
Rural Broadband Advocacy: Gathering the Key Stakeholders
There are many organizations and groups that are seeking to advance rural regions. Such organizations often come from disparate backgrounds, including telecommunications cooperatives, electric cooperatives, or groups seeking to advance community broadband initiatives. What common ground can be found for advocates of rural broadband? Are the know best practices of broadband for effective collaboration, sharing successes and e-learning, well utilized, or are traditional attitudes prohibiting rural communities from working together for the common cause of rural sustainability, locally, regionally and nationally?

Jason Whittet – GE, Intelligent Cities; VP, Rural Telecommunications Congress

Drew Clark – President, Rural Telecommunications Congress; Of Counsel, Best Best & Krieger LLP
Ron Daley – Strategic Partner Lead, KY Valley Educational Cooperative
Weldon Gray – CEO ,Texas Statewide Telephone Cooperative 
Ed Frazier – Board of Directors, Rural Media Group 

10:40 am – 11:30 am 
How Funding Broadband Can Help Revive Rural Areas, Part 3 – Programs to Boost Rural Healthcare
This panel will examine the important efforts already underway to use broadband networks to advance telehealth and other medical developments.

Gene Crick – Member, RTC Board

Jordana Barton – Senior Advisor for Community Development, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas
Steven Johnston – Chief Executive & Executive Director, OpenCape
Tom Kamber – Director, Older Adults Technology Service
Frank Odasz – President, Lone Eagle Consulting , RTC Board
Henry Stokes – Texas State E-Rate Coordinator, Texas State Library and Archives Commission

11:40 am – 12:30 pm 
Strategies for Electric Cooperatives to Deliver FTTH Services
Electric cooperatives are getting involved in building out high-speed broadband, utilizing their existing poles and infrastructure. Some are collaborating with nearby telecom providers in variety of creative partnership models. Come hear from electricity providers turned partners for broadband and learn how they formed these relationships. What are the challenges and benefits in partnering with telecom providers? What do electricity providers and telecom providers need to know before they get started working together?

Hilda Legg – Vice Chairman, Broadband Communities Magazine

Todd Way – CEO, DFN 
Randy Klindt – Vice President, Telecommunications, Ozarks Electric Cooperative
Kevin Larson – CEO & General Manager, Consolidated Telecommunications Co.
Steven C. Hunt – CEO and President, Lumbee River Electrical Membership Cooperative, LREMC 


April 05, 2016 at 8am - April 08, 2016
Renaissance Hotel, Arboretum, Austin
Drew Clark ·

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