Nashville Hosts NTIA’s Tennessee Broadband Summit

TTA and its members were happy to be a part of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s Tennessee Broadband Summit in Nashville this spring.

The one-day summit, held March 20, was hosted by NTIA and the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development. Organizers hoped the conference would facilitate partnerships among telcos, utilities and municipalities to expand broadband access to more people.

As part of the agenda, three TTA members spoke. Jonathan West, CEO of Twin Lakes, and Trevor Bonnstetter, CEO of WK&T, both participated in a panel titled “Working Together to Strengthen Infrastructure: The Power of Partnerships.” The panel discussed how telcos can partner with electric utilities or city governments to accelerate the deployment of broadband.

In another session, TTA Executive Director Levoy Knowles spoke on a panel titled “Providers Leading the Way,” which explored ways to make it easier for providers to invest in broadband networks.

“Strong leadership at every level of government can lead to increased broadband deployment,” Doug Kinkoph, associate administrator with NTIA’s Office of Telecommunications and Information Applications, wrote in a statement on the NTIA website in regards to the event. “New opportunities through the Tennessee Broadband Accessibility Act and other state and federal initiatives are vital tools that can help increase broadband accessibility.”

TTA Day On The Hill A Tasty Success

On March 6, representatives from TTA member companies visited the Tennessee General Assembly for the annual TTA Day on the Hill tour. TTA members served breakfast to lawmakers and their staffs, then visited more than a dozen legislators in their offices to discuss vital broadband policy positions. The breakfast of Chick-fil-A biscuits was a new addition to the event and was well-received by lawmakers and their staff. The legislators, including Speaker of the House Beth Harwell, busily filed through the meeting room to visit with TTA executives and grab breakfast. Face time with state officials will continue to be a key way that TTA can make sure rural Tennesseans have a voice the statehouse.

You can see more photos from the event in the gallery below.


President Signs Rural Broadband Executive Order In Nashville

An executive order by President Donald Trump declares the executive branch will “use all viable tools” to create affordable, reliable broadband in rural America.

“We at TTA are grateful to the president for his ongoing attention to the need for broadband,” says Levoy Knowles, TTA executive director. “Our members — the telecom co-ops and companies — provide high-speed broadband across rural Tennessee, and we plan to invest nearly a quarter of a billion dollars by the end of 2019 in fiber networks across Tennessee.”

Trump also spoke in Nashville in January at a meeting of the American Farm Bureau Federation.

“Tennessee Republicans stand with President Trump and his commitment to farmers and rural communities across Tennessee,” Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Scott Golden said in a news release after Trump’s visit.

Tennessee lawmakers have also emphasized the importance of fast, affordable broadband.

The Tennessee Broadband Accessibility Act provides $45 million over three years in grants and tax credits broadband available to unserved homes and businesses. The president’s executive order enforces important steps emphasized by Gov. Bill Haslam.