At JSI, we’re very proud of our clients and their ability to juggle so well the challenges of providing quality broadband service, meeting their customers’ needs and keeping their employees safe. They have done a remarkable job in a remarkable but trying time.
One of the true success stories of this pandemic has been the increased broadband deployment and use that has been so crucial to rural American families and communities. By any measure, rural telecom providers did a great job in 2020.
We have striven to match their efforts with our own by using Zoom, Microsoft Teams, WebEx, conference calls and socially distanced meetings to press forward with meetings and projects. But there are challenging business discussions that must take place. For decades we have relied on in-depth and nuanced discussions with our clients to help plot out solutions to ongoing or emerging business issues, and some of those discussions do not fit well into tightly scheduled virtual calls.
To be honest, those types of discussions have been largely put on hold during the fire drill type of environment that has gripped our entire nation.Steve Meltzer – President, JSI
We miss those interactions and look forward to engaging again in these probing discussions, both on-site at the client locations or when we cross paths at reinstated industry events. We have so much to talk about! These are the things the JSI team and I have been thinking about these last months:
- What are the best business strategies in the wake of the RDOF auction and funding process?
- How should broadband providers manage their financial planning under the uncertainty of long-term USF support?
- Will the attractiveness of unproven new technologies or the pandemic-fueled rush to throw money at rural broadband deployment last? Or will the harsh realities of serving rural areas once again cause the job to be left to the rural utilities that have always done the job so well?
- How should we position our networks for 2030?
- Will there be a rural renaissance that will spur future economic and cultural glory days?
- Are companies structured in the best ways to succeed, and how should they support and motivate their most talented and necessary people?
- How can companies best meet their regulatory and buildout requirements while continuing to do the best job for all their customers?
- How do you build on the pandemic’s “shot in the arm” for the notion of broadband as a necessity?
These questions, and many more, will require careful consideration. Let’s get these conversations started. In fact, we can’t wait until the next time we get together in person.
Let’s start talking and laying the groundwork for the crucial discussions about your individual companies that truly cannot be put off, the pandemic and its upheaval be damned.
Steve Meltzer, President
When Steve Meltzer stepped into the role of JSI President in 2020, he did so with 43 years of experience in rural telecom and with JSI. Over the years, Steve has been involved in all aspects of the firm’s work, but mainly focused on JSI’s toll cost study, forecasting, and financial strategy clients. His knowledge of rural telecom, particularly about universal service, settlements, and complicated FCC regulations, has made him a sought-after speaker and industry policy group member. In the past, Steve has served on NECA’s Cost Issues Task Group and Rate Development Task Force and the Rural Association Group working on regulatory and settlement reform with the FCC. In addition, Steve was a long-time board member for the Foundation for Rural Service.
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