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National Co-ops Gather to Discuss Broadband Financing Partnerships

Randy Sukow / Aug 16, 2019

NRTC and other national cooperatives and associations representing rural co-ops got together yesterday to work for the benefit of rural America. On the agenda at a daylong meeting: broadband, smart grid, forming partnerships and financing for such big-ticket technology projects. The meeting at NRECA headquarters in Arlington, VA, also included representatives from CFC, NISC and NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association.

“When you bring together organizations who are committed to serving others, amazing things happen,” NISC said in a social media posting after the meeting. This was the second year that NISC has organized a meeting of national co-op organizations.

NRTC CEO Tim Bryan led the NRTC representatives at the gathering and Greg Santoro, senior VP and Chief Marketing & Strategy Officer, gave an overview of NRTC’s many current technology projects nationwide at the meeting’s opening. Also, early in the proceedings, the group focused on ways to encourage rural broadband partnerships, especially partnerships between telcos and rural utilities. Financing for major projects such as rural broadband naturally was part of the discussion. The group discussed the implications for the recently initiated $20 billion Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) along with other FCC regulatory matters.

A session on electric utility developments covered ways cooperatives can work together to promote the smart home and adjust to distributed energy technologies as they grow. Power storage systems and electric vehicles were among other emerging technologies under cooperative scrutiny.

NRTC representatives in the group picture of the meeting include Ken Johnson, senior VP, Broadband Programs (third from the left) followed by (left to right) Santoro; Ted Solomon, VP, Strategy & Corporate Development; Bob Webb, VP, Information Technology, and Greg Bartolomei, president, Smart Grid Solutions.

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