Thank to Jeff Hoel for providing the transcript for Episode 109 of the Community Broadband Bits podcast with Alyssa Clemsen-Roberts. Listen to this episode here.
Alyssa Clemsen-Roberts: They provide services that the market is not filling in their area, and they do it very well.
Lisa Gonzalez: Hey there. This is the Community Broadband Bits podcast from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. And I'm Lisa Gonzalez. Today, Chris interviews Alyssa Clemsen-Roberts. She is Manager of Industry Affairs for Rural Infrastructure Issues at the Utilities Telecom Council. Alyssa and Chris discuss the growing role of cooperatives in bringing broadband to rural America. Unlike large ISPs, that need to provide maximum profit for distant shareholders, cooperatives are owned by the people they serve. As a result, their decisions take into account their benefits to the local community. As Alyssa notes, cooperatives know how to fill the gap left by big corporate providers.
We often focus on restrictions that prevent municipalities from offering telecommunications services. But cooperatives often face similar state barriers. As we look for ways to expand to residents, businesses, and other entities, co-ops can play an important role -- that should not be restricted by state legislation. Co-ops reinforce the concept of local choice.
Here are Chris and Alyssa.
Chris Mitchell: Welcome to the Community Broadband Bits podcasts. I'm Chris Mitchell. And today I'm speaking with Alyssa Clemsen-Roberts, the Manager of Industry Affairs for Rural Infrastructure Issues at the Utilities Telecom Council. Welcome to the show.
Alyssa Clemsen-Roberts: Thanks for having me, Chris.
Chris: The Utilities Telecom Council, often dealing with rural issues -- UTC abbreviated -- what is it?
Alyssa: UTC is a global trade organization, and we represent critical utilities. So that could range anywhere from electric, gas, to water utilities. And our primary focus is on their telecommunications that they use to support their core business. Our issues range anywhere from spectrum issues, cybersecurity, smart grid and network modernization, colocation and joint use, and then, of course,...Read more