Rural Broadband Workshop

9:00 am - 3:00 pm EDT
Commission Meeting Room (TW-C305), 445 12th Street, S.W., Washington, D.C., 20554

In the Technology Transitions Order, the Commission recognized the “particular challenges for the deployment of next generation communications services” in rural areas and affirmed its commitment to ensuring that “as networks transition, the access of rural American customers, including customers living on Tribal lands, is not just preserved, but enhanced, in all areas of the country.” In order to better understand these challenges and develop targeted experiments to address them, the Technology Transitions Order announced that the Commission would hold a Rural Broadband Workshop in March 2014. The Rural Broadband Workshop focused on the importance of broadband in rural America and included presentations designed to elicit information to help develop “ideas about how to structure experiments that will inform our policy decisions regarding the deployment of next generation networks in rural, high-cost areas.”

The workshop included an examination of the broadband needs of rural populations and the unique challenges of both broadband deployment and adoption in rural areas. In addition, the discussion highlighted the economic, educational, and healthcare benefits that can be realized through broadband deployment and adoption. The workshop also examined different business models that have been used to deploy broadband in rural areas, including a discussion of the factors that drive investment decisions and technology choices of different types of providers in rural communities. Finally, the workshop examined the role that states have played, and can continue to play, in meeting the rural broadband challenge. See the Final Agenda for additional details and panelists.

For further information, contact Patrick Halley at 202-418-7550, or via e-mail at

Welcome and Opening Remarks


  • Tom Wheeler, Chairman, FCC
  • John Padalino, Administrator, Rural Utilities Service, USDA

Panel 1: Broadband Needs, Challenges and Opportunities in Rural America



  • Introductory Remarks:
    • Commissioner Mignon Clyburn
    • Steve Rosenberg, Chief Data Officer, Wireline Competition Bureau, FCC
  • Moderators:
    • Shirley Bloomfield, CEO, NTCA - The Rural Broadband Association
    • Dr. Peter Stenberg, Senior Economist, USDA-Economic Research Service
    • Julie Veach, Chief, Wireline Competition Bureau, FCC
  • Panelists:
    • Jeff Fastnacht, Superintendent, Ellendale School, Ellendale, ND
    • Charles Fluharty, President and CEO, Rural Policy Research Institute
    • Brian Kelley, CEO, Ag Technologies
    • Thomas F. Klobucar, Ph.D., Deputy Director, Office of Rural Health, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
    • Linda Lord, Maine State Librarian
    • Don Means, Coordinator, Gigabit Libraries Network
    • Peter Morris, Senior Advisor to the Executive Director, National Congress of American Indians

Panel 2: Rural Broadband Buildout - Effective Strategies & Lessons Learned



  • Introductory Remarks:
    • Commissioner Michael O’Rielly
  • Moderators:
    • Jonathan Chambers, Chief, Office of Strategic Planning & Policy Analysis, FCC
    • Carol Mattey, Deputy Chief, Wireline Competition Bureau, FCC
    • Alex Minard, Deputy Chief, Telecommunications Access Policy Division, Wireline Competition Bureau, FCC
  • Panelists:
    • Will Aycock, General Manager, Greenlight Community Broadband, City of Wilson, NC
    • Michael Cook, Senior Vice President, North America Division, Hughes Network Systems
    • Jimmy Copeland, Director of Special Projects, Troy Cablevision, Inc.
    • Randy Klindt, General Manager, Co-Mo Comm, Inc. (a subsidiary of Co-Mo Electric Cooperative, Inc.)
    • Cecil Lara, Director Network Planning, AT&T
    • Denny Law, General Manager/CEO, Golden West Telecommunications
    • Ben Moncrief, Director, Government Relations, C Spire
    • Alex Phillips, CEO,

Panel 3: State Strategies to Meet the Rural Broadband Challenge



  • Moderators:
    • Joanne Hovis, President, CTC Technology and Energy
    • Kim Scardino, Chief, Telecommunications Access Policy Division, Wireline
    • Competition Bureau, FCC
  • Panelists:
    • David Salway, Director, New York State Broadband Program Office
    • Catherine Sandoval, (Excel File), Commissioner, California Public Utilities Commission
    • Lori Sorenson, Chief Operating Officer, Bureau of Communications & Computer Services, Illinois Central Management Services
    • Ray Timothy, Ph.D., CEO/Executive Director, Utah Education Network


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