The Washington State Legislature adjourned their session in late April but WITA staff and members have been plenty busy with issues both related to the extension of the State Universal Communications Fund and with other issues of importance.
Just before session ended Mike Oblizalo, Hood Canal Communications, was invited to testify before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. This is an enormously important committee to our industry as much of the legislation related to telecommunications must be approved here before moving on to the full Senate. Mike was invited to talk about the importance of accurate broadband maps and if you haven’t viewed the hearing you can find it here: https://www.ntca.org/ruraliscool/publications/ruraliscool/vol1-issue17-04112019
Betty Buckley has been traveling the state talking with legislators, attending public hearings on the new overtime rules, and participating on broadband panels at events such as the Washington Economic Development Association’s Summer Conference.
WITA President Rick Vitzthum and our esteemed counsel Rick Finnigan have been meeting with staff at the Utilities and Transportation Commission to craft rules for the new and improved state fund. This year’s funds will be distributed according to the existing rules but the following four years funds may be used specifically for broadband buildout and that will require a new rulemaking. You can expect to see a special meeting of the Active Members called to discuss these in detail within a few weeks.
Next month Eric Trump, St. John Telephone and Colfax Cable, and Dale Merten from ToledoTel will be speaking at workshops being sponsored by the Washington State Department of Commerce and USDA’s ReConnect program. Their presentations will focus on how their companies use technology to help their communities in innovative ways. The workshops will be held on September 15th in Olympia and on September 19th in Davenport. Watch here for more information and registration: https://www.usda.gov/reconnect/events
Plans are being finalized for our Leadership Conference at Alderbrook on October 14th and 15th. We’ll also be holding an Outside Plant Seminar at the same location on October 16th. Both events will focus on issues such as the new rules for performance testing, cybersecurity, new grant and loan opportunities and ways in which to enhance the value of your existing system. See out Events tab to register today!
Betty Buckley, Executive Director, WITA
Rural Broadband: It’s what we do.
It’s who we are.