Vice President of Marketing & Communications
National Cable Television Cooperative
Broadband Opportunities and Risks Examined; Members Report on Customer Experience and Strategic Planning
PITTSBURGH, PA. and LENEXA, KAN., OCT. 1, 2020 – Concluding its first online virtual conference, The Independent Show (TIS) featured real-time video discussions that centered on strategic issues facing the rural broadband industry.
Produced virtually by the National Cable Television Cooperative (NCTC) and ACA Connects, #TIS20 conference finalized its three-day conference with a detailed analysis of operations, customer experiences and the opportunities and risks associated with broadband expansion.
“This final day’s program analyzed both the impact of COVID-19 and planning for the future. We featured more than 20 different members in four different panels reviewing operational improvements and strategies for the next few years,” said NCTC CEO & President Rich Fickle. “It’s clear our members are leading the way!”
“Today’s independent broadband operator continues to meet the challenges of continued technology investment, an altering marketplace, and delivery of superior customer service. These sessions are a blueprint for our members as they deliver broadband to small and medium-sized cities across America,” ACA Connects President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said.
Utilizing a fast-paced video approach, NCTC and ACA Connects members documented the lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic. Among the topics addressed were building on community support, touchless and self-installs, network management and monitoring, and the role of lobby and retail offices.
#TIS20 continued its focus on operations with an online discussion on the future of Pay TV and Over the Top (OTT), presented by Brett Sappington, Vice President of Interpret Research. The discussion included the value of pay television, how to remain competitive among rising programming costs and examples of success stories with OTT.
In addition, #TIS20’s final day centered on today’s customer experience. This discussion was led by Steve Beardslee, Senior Director of Video & Technology at NCTC and Jon Radloff, NCTC’s Vice President of Video Solutions.
Members noted their ongoing investment in the technology and tools that streamline customer support, making their front-line staff more efficient while simultaneously improving overall performance.
Participants included Chris Fenger, Chief Operating Officer, RCN; Ryan Beatty, Director, Customer Experience, Vast Broadband; Julie Wagoner, Director, Customer Service, Shentel; Terry Dickerhoof, Vice President, Customer Service, Armstrong; Julie Hoffman, Director, Quality & Process Improvement, Cincinnati Bell; Sandra Tilley, Senior Vice President, Brand Strategies, EPB, and Leann Dittman, Vice President, Customer Operations, Sparklight/Cable One.
A panel on “Broadband’s Opportunities and Risks,” concluded the virtual conference and featured a wide-ranging discussion led by NCTC’s Jared Baumann, Vice President of Broadband Solutions.
Participants included: Shahed Mazumder, 5G/Wireless Strategist, CableLabs; Chris Bastian, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, SCTE; Brad Moline, President, Allo Communications; Katie Espeseth, Vice President, New Products, EPB; Kristin Johnson, Co-Founder and CEO, Hotwire Communications; Tom Whitaker, Senior Vice President, Shentel; Jeffrey DeSarno, CTO, Access Communications; Larry Thompson, CEO, Vantage Point Solutions; Todd Gingrass, Vice President, Solutions Architecture at CCI Systems, and Ryan McCowan, Director, Customer Engagement and Solutions, Adtran.
The concluding session compared traditional network upgrades with those of fiber upgrades, the overall financial analysis and advanced service offerings including Internet of Things (IoT) and in-home Wi-Fi.
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About the National Cable Television Cooperative: The National Cable Television Cooperative, Inc. (NCTC), is a Kansas-based, not-for-profit corporation that operates as a programming, hardware purchasing and broadband organization for its member companies that own and operate cable systems throughout the U.S. and its territories. NCTC seeks to maximize current and future opportunities to ensure the profitability, competitive stature, and long-term sustainability of its member companies. NCTC represents more than 700 member companies in programming and technology acquisition. NCTC is actively engaged in helping network providers and suppliers evolve their business models to deploy new video/data solutions to match the changes in the media landscape.
About ACA Connects – America’s Communications Association: Based in Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C., ACA Connects is a trade organization representing more than 700 smaller and medium-sized, independent companies that provide broadband, phone and video services to more than 8 million customers primarily located in rural and smaller suburban markets across America. Through active participation in the regulatory and legislative process in Washington, D.C., ACA Connects’ members work together to advance the interests of their customers and ensure the future competitiveness and viability of their businesses. For more information, visit: http://www.ACAConnects.org