Whatever memories the year 2020 may leave, rural cooperatives can be proud of their efforts to serve their communities during the pandemic. Most NRTC staff spent the year working in their homes, but thanks to online communications, we remained in touch with our members and continued to supply vital communications technology to rural America. The NRTC 2020 Annual Report chronicles the highlights.
NRTC sent a link to an electronic copy of the annual report, including the 2020 financial results, to all members earlier today via email. NRTC members also will find a copy of the report on the members-only section of NRTC.coop. In addition, a copy of the report minus the financial details is available on NRTC’s History page.
“Our IT, HR, and business unit staff transitioned more than 700 NRTC employees to work remotely within 10 days in March 2020,” says CEO Tim Bryan in his introductory letter. “Thankfully, we had the systems and capability to do this before COVID – this was our “disaster plan,” and while we were prepared at each of our six locations, it is safe to assume we did not anticipate enacting the plan at all locations at precisely the same time.”
“As we worked to meet the needs of our members, we discovered that the networks and technologies we had been working so diligently to deploy over the last several years now were now called on to deliver in new and exciting ways … NRTC members proved that they could keep their communities connected,” said 2020 NRTC Board Chairman Shannon Clark,
All divisions of NRTC could point to significant achievements in 2020. Among the highlights:
- As NRTC assisted many broadband infrastructure projects, it acquired CrowdFiber, a Georgia-based software company that offers rural broadband providers marketing automation systems. CrowdFiber’s superior mapping software played a significant role later in the year when NRTC Broadband Solutions helped several members obtain financial support through the FCC’s Rural Digital Opportunities Fund reverse auction.
- NRTC Smart Grid Solutions formed a partnership with AutoGrid, developer of the DERMS platform. The system gives electric utilities a central point to monitor and control a host of smart-grid technologies.
- Cybersecurity, especially as people depended on internet connectivity during the COVID-19, took on heightened importance for NRTC Managed Services. In October, it became a Cybersecurity Awareness Month “Champion” and led online education activities, including a live demonstration of a “phishing” attack.
- The same month that NRTC Mobile Solutions celebrated its 20th anniversary, it began offering nationwide 5G availability to its MVNO clients.
- NRTC Video Solutions began offering all NRTC members the opportunity to distribute the popular HBO Max streaming service with more than 10,000 hours of video content.