WCTA Receives Invite to D.C. Event


WCTA’s Pam Mahling & Tony Mayer
in Washington, D.C.



WCTA’s Tony Mayer along with others in the Telco industry share their views and opinions with FCC policy makers in D.C.

Representatives from West Central Telephone Association were in Washington, D.C., last week for two events highlighting the work of community-based broadband providers, including one event that brought members to within steps of the Oval Office. 

Dozens of NTCA members were invited to the White House Eisenhower Executive Office Building on October 28 for an event hosted by the White House Rural Council and focused on the association’s Smart Rural Community initiative. 

Smart Rural Community award winners spoke during the event about the innovations their companies have been able to offer their communities through the deployment of high-speed broadband. Joining NTCA at the event were officials from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service and the FCC. 

WCTA General Manager Tony Mayer said of the event, “We appreciated the opportunity to share our stories and concerns about the future of rural broadband with key policy makers in DC. People in our communities might not be aware but as a Smart Rural Community, we’re being held up as a shining example of what can be done using WCTA’s robust fiber broadband to improve education, economic development, healthcare and agriculture in our rural area. We were proud to represent our community at this event.”

“Members of NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association are proven solutions providers when it comes to broadband services for the communities where they live and work,” NTCA Chief Executive Officer Shirley Bloomfield said in a news release. “We are appreciative for this opportunity to engage members of the administration who are also dedicated to improving education, health care, agriculture and public safety in rural America through broadband deployment.” 

“Expanding telecommunications is a central component of this administration's comprehensive effort to build jobs and economic security in rural America,” said Doug McKalip, senior policy adviser for rural affairs for the White House Domestic Policy Council. 

NTCA also held its first Telecom Executive Policy Summit (TEPS), with more than 100 association members fanning out for dozens of meetings on Capitol Hill. During the two-day summit, members discussed issues critical to rural telecom providers with industry leaders, advocates and policymakers, including FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly, who shared ideas and provided an outlook on U.S. communications policy in the coming years. 

“In the face of change and challenge, some may be tempted to throw up their hands. But I think it is critical to move forward with our reforms,” O’Rielly told summit participants. “That doesn't mean that I've come here today with a magic solution or the answers to all of your questions. I recognize that every major reform that has worked has succeeded in part because you all [NTCA members] helped shape it.” 

Maureen Ohlhausen, a commissioner for the Federal Trade Commission, also gave an overview of her agency’s top priorities, including providing greater access to telemedicine services for rural patients.