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A compilation of posts from NRTC’s blog, Rural Connect.


NRTC and tenKsolar Banding Together for Optimal Solar Solutions

At our annual meeting earlier this year, NRTC CEO Tim Bryan said that rural cooperatives were eager for solar technology solutions and he said that NRTC would have a solar offering in 2014. NRTC and tenKsolar are now in partnership with a plan that will allow rural cooperatives to offer “Community Solar” to their members affordably and efficiently.

The keys to the NRTC/tenKsolar approach:

  • A superior business model – The tenKsolar technology has a 20 percent cost advantage compared to the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) of conventional solar photovoltaic systems according to an independent third-party review.
  • Bullet-proof technology – Reliable and long-lasting equipment with a low-voltage modular approach designed for fault protection and safety.
  • The NTRC/tenKsolar partnership – Solar technology knowledge with rural utility experience poised to fill cooperatives’ individual requirements.

“Especially for those cooperatives that already have been looking at solar, we can show you how to offer multiple solar options to your members; manage solar technology with resources you already have; save possible revenue loss through customers adopting solar technology on their own, and increase revenue through unregulated sales and services,” said Bill Simons, tenKsolar’s vice president, Business Development.

“NRTC has extensive project management experience and we know what works for rural utilities. We look forward to working with our members to find the best locations, develop the right designs and assemble all the other pieces that make up successful solar businesses,” said Ed Drew, NRTC vice president, Utilities Solutions.

To read the rest of this post, go to NRTC’s Rural Connect.

Learn More by Attending Community Solar Webcasts

The best way to learn more about the technology and the NRTC/tenKsolar business model is to sign up for one of two Community Solar webinars.

Click here to register for the webcast at 11 a.m. EST, Tuesday, Nov. 11,
or
click here to register for the webcast at 1 p.m. EST, Thursday, Nov. 13.


NRTC members also may contact their regional business managers.

Greg Santoro Joins NRTC to Lead Product Development

As a high-tech communications company, one of the things NRTC devotes much of its focus is on staying up to date on new technologies and looking for ways to translate that knowledge into new products that best serve our members. Last week, Greg Santoro joined NRTC in the newly created position of chief marketing and strategy officer to strengthen our new product development.

“Greg will lead all of our efforts to expand solutions to members,” said NRTC CEO Tim Bryan. Santoro will work with all areas of NRTC to plan and develop products and make investment decisions, Bryan said.

Santoro joins us with extensive experience in product planning. In his previous position at NII Holdings Inc., a wireless service company serving Latin America, he managed corporate branding and product development for more than 40 new products.

Earlier he led similar efforts at Sprint Nextel Corp. and Nextel Communications, Inc. At Nextel he led a team of 250 product, marketing, business and web developers to introduce innovations including the first Java-based mobile app platform, the first push-to-talk Blackberry and one of the earliest GPS installation and location services for mobile phones.

Member Survey Response Generates $10,000 Donation to the Wounded Warrior Project

NRTC CEO Tim Bryan recently visited the offices of the Wounded Warrior Project in Washington, DC, to present a $10,000 check for a very worthy cause. NRTC members’ generosity made the donation possible. Pictured, the charity’s Warriors to Work Manager Brett Sheats (right) accepts the check.

“As I travel and meet with NRTC members, I see how devoted everyone throughout the country is to the men and women of our armed forces, who sacrifice so much for us. Through their participation in our survey, NRTC members took the opportunity to show their commitment,” Bryan said.

Earlier this year, NRTC distributed a survey to all members to ask them how well NRTC is serving them. As an incentive to participate, NRTC pledged $20 to Wounded Warriors for each response. A very healthy 40 percent of the membership responded.

The mission of the Wounded Warrior Project is “to honor and empower wounded warriors,” through programs to provide direct assistance and to raise community awareness about the needs of wounded veterans.

FCC Removes State and Local Barriers to Wireless Infrastructure

As Commissioner Michael O’Rielly noted during the Oct.17 FCC agenda meeting, there have been conflicts over wireless infrastructure construction between wireless companies and state and local governments dating back to the passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which included provisions to encourage wireless network growth. “Unfortunately, as soon as the ink was dry on the Telecom Act, some state and local governments went to work to undermine and in some cases completely ignore the siting provisions in the statute,” O’Rielly said.

At the meeting, the FCC unanimously adopted a Report and Order that uses federal authority to limit state and local governments’ ability to delay or derail requests for wireless infrastructure growth. The order also streamlines the process for approving infrastructure permits under federal environmental and historical preservation regulations.

All five commissioners agreed that as the demand for wireless infrastructure grows, local governments must change outdated technical rules on tower, base station and microcell/picocell construction based on old analog cellular technology rather than modern digital 4G and future 5G technologies.

To read the rest of this post, go to NRTC’s Rural Connect.
 

NTIA Finds Rural Adoption of Mobile Communications Increasing

A report released by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), “Exploring the Digital Nation: Embracing the Mobile Internet,” finds that mobile phone usage among rural subscribers increased by 5 percent between 2011 and 2012, a significantly faster rate of increase than 2 percent adoption in urban areas.

“The narrowing of this adoption gap based on population density is particularly promising because rural areas have historically experienced less-extensive build-out of network infrastructure than urban areas,” NTIA said.

However, “in stark contrast to the modest and shrinking mobile phone adoption gap,” the report finds that there is still a wide gap in rural usage of Internet-based mobile data applications. Forty-five percent of urban mobile phone users, for example, check or send email with their devices compared to just 29 percent of rural (defined as anyplace outside of the metropolitan areas) users. “Slower wireless network speeds in rural areas, in addition to demographic differences between urban and rural dwellers, may partially explain these disparities,” the report finds.

To read the rest of this post, go to NRTC’s Rural Connect.

The Social Network of Things?

It’s a new term combining the two common phrases “social network” (e.g. Facebook and Twitter) with “Internet of things,” the popular description of machine-to-machine (M2M) applications. So does this blend mean that your mobile phone and smart meter will soon have more online friends than you do?

Well, actually the social network of things apparently is, as the colloquialism goes, “a thing.” The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) recently released this video – an interview with MJ Petroni, founder of Causeit Inc., an organization that researches and studies how machine-to-machine and human-to-machine interactions are evolving. Petroni describes himself as a “cyborg anthropologist.” If you have nine minutes, it is worth watching.

To read the rest of this post, go to NRTC’s Rural Connect.


 

If you have any comments or questions about NRTConnects, contact your NRTC regional business manager or write us at nrtconnects@nrtc.coop.


© 2014 NRTC
2121 Cooperative Way
Herndon, VA 20171
www.nrtc.coop

Our Mission

To lead and support our members by delivering telecommunications solutions to strengthen member businesses, promote economic development and improve the quality of life in rural America.

In This Issue

NRTC and tenKsolar Banding Together for Optimal Solar Solutions

Learn More by Attending Community Solar Webcasts

Greg Santoro Joins NRTC to Lead Product Development

Member Survey Response Generates $10,000 Donation to the Wounded Warrior Project

FCC Removes State and Local Barriers to Wireless Infrastructure

NTIA Finds Rural Adoption of Mobile Communications Increasing

The Social Network of Things?

Nov. 7 Is the Deadline for Rural Broadband Experiment Bids

Early 2016 Is New Target for 600 MHz Incentive Auction

Samsung Introduces 60 GHz Wi-Fi for Large-data Transfers in the Home

Group Claims More Spectrum for Wi-Fi Could Contribute $11 Billion a Year to U.S. Economy

Where You Can See NRTC

In Brief

Nov. 7 Is the Deadline for Rural Broadband Experiment Bids

The FCC has set Friday, Nov. 7, 6 p.m. Eastern Time, as the deadline for filing bids in the Commission’s rural broadband experiment program. It is awarding $100 million in support to telcos and electrics and other rural entities building new broadband facilities using various technologies and business plans. Those seeking support must participate in a reverse auction with winners offering the lowest bid. The Commission postponed the deadline, originally set for Oct. 14, in order to provide potential bidders with more information about the FCC Form 5610 filing process. A filing window for Form 5610 filing window opened on Thursday, Oct. 23.

Early 2016 Is New Target for 600 MHz Incentive Auction

The FCC found a very quiet way to break the news that it is delaying the start of the 600 MHz incentive auction from mid-2015 to early 2016. Gary Epstein, chairman of the Commission’s Incentive Auction Task Force, mentioned it at the end of a 500-word blog post on Oct. 24. He blamed the delay on a lawsuit the National Association of Broadcasters filed several weeks back challenging several elements of the FCC’s auction plan.

To read the rest of this post, go to NRTC’s Rural Connect.

Samsung Introduces 60 GHz Wi-Fi for Large-data Transfers in the Home

If you have a connected home system that includes a video entertainment center, perhaps you would like to transfer full-length high-definition movies from one device to another in seconds. Samsung Electronics claims that it has developed a wireless transmission system for the 60 GHz band that transmits data at 4.6 gigabits per second (Gbps) or five times faster than the fastest unlicensed networking system on the market today. The Samsung device is a member of the Wi-Fi family of technologies based on the IEEE 802.11ab standard. More widely-used Wi-Fi devices operate in the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands with comparatively narrow channels.

To read the rest of this post, go to NRTC’s Rural Connect.

Group Claims More Spectrum for Wi-Fi Could Contribute $11 Billion a Year to U.S. Economy

Wi-Fi may not, as one rather excitable politician recently claimed, rank up there with life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as a “human right.” But it is darned handy, especially if you have time to kill in a restaurant or hotel with Wi-Fi access and would like to avoid shedding a few megabytes off of your monthly mobile data plan. In fact, it’s getting so popular, it is sometimes hard to get a good connection over the established 2.4 GHz unlicensed band.

A nonprofit group, the American Consumer Institute Center for Citizen Research, has released a “ConsumerGram” paper to support a proposal to allow satellite company Globalstar to use 22 MHz of its licensed 2.4 GHz spectrum to establish Wi-Fi service alongside the unlicensed services. The extra capacity, the group concludes, “would provide sizable economic benefits for consumers – generating $11 billion in GDP per year and creating nearly 90,000 jobs – all while alleviating congestion for broadband users and continuing to maintain satellite services.”

To read the rest of this post, go to NRTC’s Rural Connect.

Where You Can See NRTC

• Nov. 9-11: Georgia EMC Annual Meeting, Savannah, GA
NRTC RBM Jay Smith will attend

• Nov. 23-25: Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association Annual Meeting, Nashville, TN
NRTC RBM Jay Smith will attend

• Jan. 4-6: 2015 Wireless Symposium & WiExpo, Las Vegas, NV
NRTC staff will attend

• Jan. 11-13: NRECA CEO Close-up, St. Petersburg, FL
CEO Tim Bryan and other NRTC staff will attend


See the NRTC Events page for more upcoming meetings.