Industry News

Home Telecom: 'Telecom 2020: A Vision for the Future'

“Any Content, Every Device, All Networks”

Imagine that you wake up tomorrow and want to watch your favorite TV show. The program will not play. You don’t have the specified device that the content owner now requires this program to be played on. It is only available on a particular device per an exclusive agreement between the content owner and the device manufacturer. Not only is your device prohibiting your viewing, but you also have the “wrong” video provider. The TV program you want to watch is owned by a video provider you don’t wish to use, but the show you want to watch can now only be seen on the video system that owns the program. Bad things can happen if content, devices, and networks are all controlled by the same party.

Scenarios like the nightmare described above is what Home Telecom is constantly fighting to avoid. As an industry leader, we keep our finger on the heartbeat of events that would directly impact our customers. Rules and laws impacting how we communicate are constantly changing. In addition, it seems mega mergers are announced several times a year; the big just keep getting bigger. Home Telecom is constantly monitoring the communication environment, working with our lawmakers and regulators to make sure that any changes in communications laws and regulations are for the better, not the worse.

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.

Rural Broadband Providers Discuss Cybersecurity Issues

Ransomware, distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks, phishing campaigns – is your company prepared to address and mitigate current cyber threats? Within the last few years, cyberattacks have intensified in frequency, sophistication and severity. Corporations, networks and individuals are under constant attack from cyberthreats originating within the United States and abroad. Bad actors are targeting all organizations, regardless of their size or business mission. A cyberattack could adversely affect the continued viability of your company. 

Bad actors typically target credit card information, employee data, customer data, intellectual property—often information that is found on your “enterprise” or company network(s). Additionally, those that operate a telecom network may face broader exposure. A bad actor may desire to infiltrate a telecom voice and/or data network(s) to access and exploit networking gear, disrupt communications or reach the networks of your business customers. 

NTCA Members Discuss Rural Broadband With the FCC

This week NTCA members discussed broadband with United States senators, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and Commissioner Ajit Pai. 

Wheeler met with members in Ohio on October 7 and West Virginia on October 11. He also took part in a roundtable discussion hosted by the Ohio Telecom Association that included representatives of large and small telecom service providers. NTCA members Ayersville Telephone Co. (Defiance, Ohio) and New Knoxville Telephone Co. (New Knoxville, Ohio) were in attendance, and they outlined the small-company perspective and the challenges they face, including how to sustain service in high-cost markets.

Ohio Telecom Association with FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler

The next week U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D–W.Va.) hosted Wheeler at a broadband connectivity roundtable in Thomas, W.Va. NTCA members Hardy Telecommunications, Inc. (Lost River, W.Va.), Shenandoah Telecommunications Co. (Edinburg, Va.) and Spruce Knob Seneca Rocks Telephone, Inc. (Riverton, W.Va.) attended and discussed the challenges and opportunities of deploying broadband networks in the state. The discussions also included a debate about the second phase of a universal service mobility fund and access to “middle mile” networks.

New York Community-Based Providers Receive Broadband Grants

NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association member companies Armstrong Telephone Co. of New York (Addison, N.Y.), Germantown Telephone Co. (Germantown, N.Y.), Margaretville Telephone Co. (MTC; Margaretville, N.Y.) The Middleburgh Telephone Co. (MIDTEL; Middleburgh, N.Y.) and TDS Telecom (N.Y.) are round one winners of the New NY Broadband Program grant. The companies were among the 25 recipients that received a part of the $75.8 million investment in broadband—$54.2 million of which will be funded by the state and $21.6 million of which will be funded by private investments.

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.

NTCA Members Meet With Rural Broadband Caucus During Grassroots Advocacy Fly-In

During the NTCA Grassroots Advocacy Fly-In June 9, representatives of the Rural Broadband Caucus held a panel discussion to provide updates on the caucus’ work since its formation earlier this year. Several NTCA members attended the event and voiced their concerns with the FCC’s proposed rules for set-top boxes and the potential impact of the FCC’s proposal on their local areas.


The Vishing Thing

Real Future's Kevin Roose invites two hackers to "break into" his life. The results are eye-opening.

Real Future's Kevin Roose invites two hackers to "break into" his life. The results are eye-opening.

Last week, I was horrified when I logged onto a site I seldom visit and saw my real birthdate pop up; I usually fudge that information when setting up on-line accounts. I quickly changed it (I now celebrated my 20th birthday this past April, thank you very much). I don’t care much about my carbon footprint, but I try to manage my digital footprint with greater care.

Growing the Broadband Industry in an Ever-Changing World

In this latest episode of "Broadband Beat With Shirley Bloomfield," Doug Boone, NTCA board president and chief executive officer of Premier Communications (Sioux Center, Iowa), shares his thoughts on growing the broadband industry. He talks about the importance of knowing your customers and serving the community's needs, as well as why small companies need to start viewing themselves as more than just a service provider. In addition, he discusses his vision for NTCA moving forward.