Saturday, October 11, 2008

Rural TeleCon 2008 in Vermont

Rural TeleCon 2008 occurred this past week at Smugglers Notch. Hundreds of telecom professionals from across North America convened for several days of learning, networking, etc. around bringing broadband and cell coverage to more of rural America.

I led a rich discussion about local community building via Front Porch Forum with a room full of interesting people, and then Front Porch Forum collected two wonderful honors…

First, the RTC People’s Choice Award — Most Innovative. And then, the real shocker, the RTC Champion Award… this is the top national award from the Rural Telecom Congress! And a genuine honor, especially considering the caliber of the other award finalists.

Regrettably, an excellent panel focused on the state of Vermont's e-State didn't materialize.


Karyn Vogel said...

Congratulations, Michael! I am sorry I missed the awards ceremony. You are a deserving recipient of this recognition. It is great to see how Vermonters are using the forum to increase communication with their neighbors and strengthen their communities.

Deb Shannon said...

One of the greatest benefits of attending a national conference is the opportunity to listen to the variety of ways different state governments have addressed the challenges of deploying broadband in rural areas.
I was fascinated to learn that both Virginia and North Carolina make use of Tobacco funds to research and develop better access in their states. It is also interesting to consider that funds from an industry that once dominated the economy in that area can now be re-directed to bolster development of a knowledge based economy.
Other rural states' experiences helped me to put Vermont in perspective. We really are a tiny state, which offers as many benefits as it does setbacks. While we are less enticing to large providers because we simply lack cutomer density, we are small enough to work closely with the providers we have to weedle out agreements such as the one with Fairpoint to provide 100% broadband coverage to 50 of its exchanges by 2010. Kudos to Michael for putting Vermont on the map again!