Smack dab in the middle of the mid-term elections, NECA EXPO 2018 convened in New Orleans and provided attendees with all the current telecom information and down-home hospitality they needed to fully enjoy their trip to the Big Easy. A-CAM, USF reform
and regulatory activity were just a few of the many topics covered over the course of the two and one-half day event.
Rural association panel kicked
off the information flow
Following a welcome from NECA’s Carol Brennan, vice president of Industry Relations, a longtime EXPO anchor program started the proceedings. Jeff Dupree, NECA vice president of Government Relations, moderated his panel of rural association executives. The group of four tackled multiple subjects, focusing a large
portion of time on the insufficiency of the USF High Cost Fund for rate-of-return and A-CAM companies, which tied into FCC discussions on the recently released USF order. Questions from the audience directed the group to delve into other topics, including a status of contribution reform (considering
the possible increase in support amounts) and the composition of congressional committees as a result of the mid-term elections.
An abundance of choice in
this year’s curriculum
Classes began Monday morning following the rural associations panel and finished up on Wednesday, with Tuesday and Wednesday mornings beginning with vendor and consultant sessions, respectively. A curriculum of 23 classes and panel discussions, most offered
at least twice each, provided attendees the opportunity to learn about and discuss a diverse landscape of topics relevant to both A-CAM and rate-of-return companies.
The USF reform panel, moderated by John Ricker, NECA director of Universal Service Programs Support, remained a well-attended session. This year’s discussion provided John and his panelists the opportunity to discuss the broadband performance testing
requirements, since the July 2018 order’s release raised questions as to how rate-of-return carriers will be affected.
A sampling of other class and panel topics:
- the effect of recent regulatory activity on rates and support
- ETS rate realignment and public safety possibilities
- NECA-centric classes such as industry communications, data collections, settlements, support and cost recovery
- panels addressing A-CAM, broadband partnerships, streaming media effects on the rural network and network virtualization
- Washington activity update and the effects of internet freedom on small telcos
Join us again in less than a
year and a mile high
Planning is underway so look for more details coming soon about
EXPO 2019 on November 10 through 14 at the Grand Hyatt Denver.