From the Desk of the Executive Director
A Year in Review
It’s hard to believe a year has passed since I first took on the role as Executive Director of the BAND. In some respects, I feel as though I have been doing this for years, in others, I still feel like a newbie. One of the first things I remember thinking when I took on this job is that we joined the broadband race with a head start, thanks to those who came before us. My predecessor and those who managed the member companies, laid the foundation for what we have today. I have the honor and privilege of sharing our stories, promoting our business and building relationships. The buildout is almost complete, the networks are robust and policies have be put in place to allow our businesses to grow and thrive. Now it is time to secure these networks for the future generations, promote our rural communities as great places to live and work, and make sure nothing stands in our way to being the first fully connected state. We have done so much in our first year that it would take multiple posts to include it all, so I decided to highlight a couple of my favorite experiences this year in my first blog post.
68th Legislative Assembly
During my first legislative session, I was able to see our lawmakers hard at work doing what they believed was best for the people of North Dakota. We were able to secure the $45 million dollars for broadband buildouts in areas needing high speed internet access. This funding was allocated to our state from federal sources for capital projects and we are happy it is going to build more broadband! We want to be sure that no one is left “unconnected” in North Dakota, so that means building out to everyone! The cost of this effort is high, but the benefits will be felt for years to come. Thank you to all involved in this effort to secure funding to build out broadband to more people!
Foundation for Rural Service Congressional Broadband Tour
In August, we, along with the Minnesota Telecom Alliance, were given the chance to host 16 Congressional staffers from all across the United States. We were given the task to teach them about what it takes to build high-speed networks in rural North Dakota and Minnesota. Most of these staffers had never visited North Dakota before and yet, they chose to take this trip to learn about the rural broadband industry in our part of the country.
We wanted to make sure the staffers learned all about the status of broadband in these areas we serve and it was a privilege to be their host. These bright and eager staffers asked great questions and were a pleasure to be around. They were engaged in learning about our states, our high-speed broadband connectivity and our areas of concern. Thank you to the FRS staff and board for choosing North Dakota for part of your tour. Thank you to MTA for their great co-hosting; and lastly, thank you to BAND member companies DCN, Polar, Red River Communications, and MLGC for their active role in hosting these staffers. I’d also like to thank the Grand Farm to the fantastic tour of their Smart Ag operation, Giant Snacks for a tour of their impressive facility and all the other volunteers, donors, and speakers for their time and efforts.
Our Work Isn’t Done Yet
It has been an honor and a privilege to serve the members of the Broadband Association of North Dakota during this first year. I’m proud of our members and the great work they are doing across this state. It makes my job of telling their stories even more rewarding.
Our members continue to build broadband to those areas left behind, because if we don’t bring high-speed Internet to all the rural areas of North Dakota, who will? We don’t have the population desity for big name companies to bring high-speed Internet to our state. We need to take care of ourselves and our neighbors, which is why we are working so hard to get high-speed Internet to every corner. We are North Dakota based; North Dakota proud; and besides, it is just the right thing to do…