Podcast focuses on importance of broadband with Bob Mouser
Bob Mouser, vice president and general manager of Hometown Services for Ritter Communications, was a recent guest on the podcast “Lead Tennessee Radio.” The show is produced by the Tennessee Broadband Association.
In the episode, Mouser discussed the impact of the COVID-19 health crisis on Ritter’s business and the greater demand for broadband. Other topics of the interview included Ritter’s approach to broadband deployment.
Ritter, based in Jonesboro, Arkansas, serves customers in and around the West Tennessee city of Millington. Mouser said Ritter has seen demand for broadband increase during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Since mid-March, requests for service and requests for upgrades in service have doubled over the same time last year,” he said.
Mouser said Ritter is taking a multifaceted approach to broadband deployment. Ritter is installing fiber in areas of new construction, while increasing the bandwidth capabilities to existing coaxial and copper networks.
Ritter received some federal grant funding through the Connect America program, but the majority of its broadband deployment comes from the company’s general fund.
“We are targeting high-speed broadband in some really specific rural (areas),” Mouser said. “Other than the ACAM funds, we are self-funding our broadband deployment.”
Mouser also discussed how Ritter’s operation has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Ritter has suspended late fees, credited data overage charges, increased bandwidth on most broadband plans and added free Wi-Fi hot spots and is working with schools to offer a special program for low-income students. Ritter has also given “hero pay” to employers working in the field through the pandemic.
“We have had to reinvent how we do things,” Ritter said.
The “Lead Tennessee Radio” podcast is an opportunity to discuss issues facing Tennessee with state leaders and lawmakers. Past episodes feature House Speaker Cameron Sexton, R-Crossville; Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, R-Oak Ridge; House Majority Leader William Lamberth, R-Portland; Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson, R-Franklin; and many more.
“The cooperative and independent telecommunications companies who comprise the TNBA are working hard to ensure that everyone in rural Tennessee has access to this life-changing technology,” said Levoy Knowles, TNBA executive director and host of the show. “This podcast is a great opportunity to have conversations with state and industry leaders who are on the front lines working for a connected Tennessee.”
“Lead Tennessee Radio” can be found on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Play, as well as tennesseebroadband.com.