Foundation for Rural Service

Anticipating Economic Returns of Rural Telehealth

Rural Americans face a number of very dramatic health challenges. They tend to be older, less affluent, and subject to higher instances of chronic disease than their urban counterparts. Despite the fact that the United States as a whole spends more on health care than any other Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development country, rural Americans continue to face lower life expectancies than those living in urban areas.

Telehealth—“the remote delivery of health care services and clinical information using telecommunications technology”—holds tremendous potential to improve the quality, cost and availability of health care in rural areas.

A recent Smart Rural Community (SRC) white paper, “Anticipating Economic Returns of Rural Telehealth,” outlines the case to be made for increasing adoption of telehealth in rural areas, and throughout the country. 

According to the paper, the nonquantifiable benefits of telehealth are numerous: improved access to specialists, speedier treatment, the comfort of remaining close to home, eliminating the need for long-distance transportation, the ability for health care providers to sharpen their skills, and improved patient outcomes.

RTIME 2017 Daily Recap - Day 4

RTIME 2017 has come to a close. These last 4 days has brought together an industry of innovation, synergy and passion for the rural broadband services.  We’ve learned and collaborated on topics such as telemedicine, growth and cultural change—and let’s not forget to mention the solid Expo. Today, we closed the conference with:

  • Updates on the Foundation for Rural Service (FRS).
  • Panel discussions on how to use analytics to drive revenue.
  • An economic forecast.
  • A humorous political outlook with the keynote speaker.
  • And honored those committed to the rural communities within our industry.

FRS Update

FRS Board President, Stephen Milner and FRS Executive Director, Jessica Golden shared heart felt stories of how FRS grants assists rural communities and FRS scholarships promote education within the communities.  Missed the update?  You can view the live recording on the FRS Facebook page. 

Panel Discussion: “Making Money with Telco Analytics.”

NTCA CEO Shirley Bloomfield was joined with Brock Johansen, CEO of Emery Telcom, Carl Russo CEO of Calix and Nancy White CEO/GM of NCTC for a powerhouse panel discussion on how to use analytics to drive revenue for your telco. Read more about the discussion on Shirley's blog post, "Data Analytics Matter."

NTCA to Host Rural Telehealth Seminar (and, Today is National Rural Health Day)

  Today is National Rural Health Day. And, in fewer than 30 days (December 15), NTCA’s Foundation for Rural Service and Smart Rural Community will host a rural telehealth seminar that will feature a deep dive into rural health issues as well as an opportunity for participants to test-drive telehealth devices. “Rural Health at a Digital Crossroads: Improving Care with Telehealth” will feature academics from the University of Virginia and the University of Southern Maine who will address public health issues and the role of broadband; tech developers who will demonstrate technical solutions; and NTCA’s own IT experts who will discuss network security issues implicated by telehealth.

The conversation could not be more timely or necessary. Telehealth promises beneficial results for rural America. Residents of rural areas experience greater incidences of chronic and other conditions as compared to their urban counterparts. When combined with distance from or lack of access to physicians and health care facilities and prevailing socioeconomic challenges, obstacles to the acquisition of affordable health care arise. Broadband-enabled applications can shatter these barriers and result in improved healthcare at lower costs, benefiting rural users while lowering national healthcare costs.

Silver Bullets, Silver Buckshot

  Over the past several years, I have had the privilege and good fortune to work with and learn from several respected academics who study telecom and rural issues. If there is one idea that I draw from their inquiries and conclusions (and even their tentative conclusions), it is that there is no silver bullet to address rural America. There is, however, silver buckshot.

FRS, NTCA Wyoming Members to Host Congressional Broadband Tour

The Foundation for Rural Service (FRS) will be hosting its annual Congressional Broadband Tour August 15-18 in Wyoming with NTCA member companies Tri-County Telephone Association (Cody, Wyo.), RT Communications (Worland, Wyo.), Dubois Telephone Exchange, Inc. (Dubois, Wyo.) and Silver Star Communications (Freedom, Wyo.). 

A Virtual Metropolis in the Countryside?

Norman Jacknis, Ph.D. is the Senior Fellow at the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF). His responsibilities include leading the ICF’s Rural Imperative, building on the ideas he developed for the U.S. Conference of Mayors on a future-oriented economic growth strategy for cities. Dr. Jacknis is the author of numerous articles, including “Beyond Smarter City Infrastructure – The New Urban Experience” and “Transformation of the Local Government CTO/CIO,” and was a panelist at the November 2015 Foundation for Rural Service/Smart Rural Community program, “Beyond Rural Walls: Identifying Impacts and Interdependencies Among Rural and Urban Spaces.”

People who live in big metropolises, like New York City, London or Hong Kong, often say that they can always find someone within a few miles who has a special skill they need to complete some project or build a business. I’ve pointed out that the close proximity of millions of people with so many different skills is part of what has made cities successful economic engines during the industrial era.

When the population of your town is just a few thousand, there is a much smaller likelihood you’ll find the special skill you need nearby–and thus you’ll be less likely to achieve what you have in mind.

In the United States alone, the Census Bureau  has noted  in its report “Patterns of Metropolitan and Micropolitan Population Change” that  10% of Americans live in one of the 576 small urban areas  (where  there  is at least one urban cluster  of less than  50,000, but at least 10,000 people).   That’s about 32 million people.

FRS Youth Tour Takes on D.C.

They hailed from Georgia, Tennessee and South Carolina. Some travelled from Oregon, California and Montana. In total, 110 rural youth and 28 chaperones representing small towns across the country converged on Washington, D.C., June 4–8, for the annual Foundation for Rural Service (FRS) Youth Tour.


FRS Hosts Event at Hudson Institute on Economic Impact of Rural Broadband

The Foundation for Rural Service (FRS) hosted an event April 20 to unveil findings of an economic impact of rural broadband report. FRS Executive Director Jessica Golden set the tone for the event with an emphasis on the foundation’s mission and vision, stating, “FRS, at our core, seeks to sustain and enhance quality of life in America by advancing an understanding of rural issues.” Golden explained that FRS works to stress the powerful link between serving rural America and the positive impact this has on all of America, as well as the critical role that broadband plays in strengthening the nation as a whole. 


A New Look for TECO, FRS

NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association recently announced that the new name of its political action committee (PAC) is NTCA   Rural Broadband PAC. The PAC was formerly called TECO, the Telecommunications Education Committee Organization. NTCA Rural Broadband PAC unveiled the new name and logo during the Rural Telecom Industry Meeting & EXPO (RTIME) last month. In 2015, the PAC board unanimously agreed to modify the PAC’s name as part of a strategic plan to more readily convey who is behind the PAC and what its interests are.

In addition, the Foundation for Rural Service (FRS) also unveiled a new logo and mission statement during RTIME. This rebranding effort celebrates a new chapter for FRS since the foundation joined forces in January 2015 with the Foundation for Rural Education and Development (FRED), the foundation formally associated with OPASTCO.  FRS’s mission, in cooperation with NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association, is to seek to sustain and enhance the quality of life in America by advancing an understanding of rural issues.