The NRTC rural telephone today membership reelected Raymond Henagan, CEO of Rock Port Telephone, Rock Port, MO, to a three-year term on the NRTC Board of Directors during the first session of NRTC’s Annual Meeting. Henagan was standing unopposed for the position during the meeting in New Orleans, held in conjunction with NTCA’s RTIME Conference. The second session of the NRTC Annual Meeting will be on March 10 in Orlando, FL.
One of the themes NRTC CEO Tim Bryan covered during his speech to the session was strategies NRTC members can use to spread the growth of broadband service to rural areas. He emphasized the effectiveness of starting with backbone fiber optic in an NRTC members’ service areas. Once fiber is in place, members have the flexibility to deploy various wireless and wireline broadband technologies over years, depending on what is most affordable and cost-effective in their situations.
Bryan’s message was similar to one delivered earlier in the day by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who was a guest RIME speaker. Pai praised independent rural telephone companies for fiber networks they already have deployed and discussed the opportunities that fiber presents.
“Contrary to what some people have suggested, I actually think 5G has a very promising future in rural America and part of the reason is, in terms of the possibilities of fixed wireless, given the fiber penetration that some of your members have,” Pai said according to a report from online newsletter, Telicompetitor. “I think the ability of rural telecom carriers to think broadly about the future of these networks and how to extend this great fiber penetration you’ve got, there’s a huge amount of promise there.”