Tech Policy Advisor Senator Marsha Blackburn Visits Ritter Communications, Highland Telephone

Posted: September 29, 2022

Senator Marsha Blackburn visiting Ritter CommunicationsWith the influx of federal and state money dedicated to broadband initiatives, rural providers across Tennessee have unprecedented opportunities to transform their communities.

However, the transformation couldn’t happen without the support of local, state and federal elected officials. To provide greater insight on the need for rural broadband, Ritter Communications and Highland Telephone Cooperative recently hosted Jamie Susskind, technology policy advisor to U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN).

“Highland has really good track record of providing broadband in rural areas,” Highland CEO Mark Patterson says. “We shared our overall 5-year plan to explain how we’ve used grants to help build out and fund fiber projects. I think the tour helped provide a better perspective of the area and how fiber benefits the local economy.”

Blackburn serves on the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, which has jurisdiction over various communications initiatives.

“Broadband technology and delivery are incredibly complex processes and not all services and networks are created equal,” says Mark McHale, Ritter’s vice president of public affairs and community relations. “To meet the broadband needs of Tennessee, government officials and private companies have to work cooperatively to get the full picture of the industry and service. Visits like this one allow elected officials to make informed decisions about projects and partnerships that will best benefit the people who still need access to broadband.”

During the visit, Susskind was present to celebrate Highland’s Smart Rural Community designation from NTCA –The Rural Broadband Association.