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Over 25 classes cover USF reform, cloud services, cyber security and more at EXPO 2015

11.25.15 – EXPO 2015 returned to Las Vegas this month. The Bellagio resort, in all its fountain-dancing glory, was the backdrop for this year’s educational event. More than 600 attendees heard from industry experts on a wide range of topics in 26 sessions, reinforcing this year’s theme of Many facets = Many possibilities. Sessions covered near-term and future effects of reform in our industry, new revenue opportunities, and successful marketing strategies to help in the transition to an all-IP network.

Panels feature technology and rural association experts

Kicking off Monday’s general session, Sal Talluto, director of Technology Planning at NECA, moderated a panel of experts on new technologies and opportunities. Larry Thompson of Vantage Point, Robin Anderson of Pivot Group, and Dave Martin of Blackfoot Telephone shared their success stories in providing services using gig communities, wireless backhaul, and cloud services. Among the topics they discussed were the importance of increasing broadband availability, customizing ad campaigns using customer data, and potential services provided via Gigabit Ethernet.

Next, Jeff Dupree, NECA vice president of Government Relations, led an update from rural association panelists Dave Duncan of the Iowa Communications Alliance, Derrick Owens of WTA, and Mike Romano of NTCA. They provided telecom regulatory and policy news at the federal and state levels, including the latest status on USF broadband support and the bifurcated approach proposed by the FCC. With Chairman Wheeler’s promised year-end completion date quickly approaching, the panelists stressed that given the many complex decisions still needing to be made, it is critical to focus not on meeting an arbitrary deadline, but on making it right the first time.

The art of transformation

Keynoting the afternoon was former mayor of Las Vegas Oscar Goodman, a true showman. Through sharing the personal story of his evolution from mob lawyer to mayor of a major city, Goodman described his philosophy as The Art of Transformation. His advice was particularly on point for the rural telecom companies in attendance, who must transform their companies and business models in the face of universal service reform and technology transition. 

Classes cover a wide range of industry issues and opportunities

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday featured 19 different classes, most of which were offered twice or more so attendees could get to as many as possible. Attendees could also choose from among four vendor sessions, and three consultant sessions. Below are key takeaways from a few classes:

Hey! You! Get into my Cloud! – Customers are increasingly looking for innovative broadband solutions. To respond to their needs, consider opportunities involving smart home, security, and smart farming.

Legislation, Litigation and Politics, Oh My! – In addition to the FCC’s plan to adopt USF reform by the end of the year, expect a push to include broadband in Lifeline, as well as activity on spectrum auctions in 2016.

Designing Your Network: Change May Do You Good – Whether contemplating switch consolidations, deploying dark fiber, or establishing real estate investment trusts, refer to NECA’s Reporting Guidelines for planning and implementation guidance.

Cyber Security Requires More Than a Blanket – With cyber attacks and data breaches occurring more frequently, preparation is key to keep customer data safe. Cyber security is not only an IT issue; it's a business issue.

Save the date for EXPO 2016

Next year’s EXPO returns to Las Vegas, November 13 -17 at the MGM Grand. Look for more information in the spring.