NRAO to host Pocahontas County Broadband Summit

A Pocahontas County Broadband Summit is scheduled for Wednesday, July 15, from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Jansky Lab Auditorium at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Green Bank.
The event, sponsored by the Pocahontas County Chamber of Commerce, Greenbrier Valley Economic Development and NRAO in partnership with the Pocahontas County Commission, will provide interested individuals and businesses an opportunity to learn about existing and proposed broadband projects as well as the potential impact high-speed Internet connectivity could have on the county.
Lisa Leahy, Associate Executive Director of the ConnectME Authority, will be the keynote speaker for the morning session.
Leahy has 16 years of experience managing a diverse portfolio of state government service requirements and 20 years of information technology expertise. Most recently, she was designated as the point of contact for Maine’s FirstNet project, a federally mandated, multi-year endeavor to build the country’s first nationwide broadband network dedicated to public safety.
Keynote speaker for the afternoon will be Joe Freddoso, President and CEO of MCNC. MCNC operates the North Carolina Research and Education Network (NCREN), which provides broadband connectivity to most Community Anchor Institutions in North Carolina including all K-20 public education, most research organizations and many non-profit hospitals and public health clinics. Under Freddoso’s leadership, MCNC quadrupled its revenue and grew NCREN’s connector community by 700 percent. MCNC now possesses a book value of over a quarter billion dollars.
West Virginia Senator Chris Walters, (R-Putnam), will discuss the prospects of SB459. Walters was lead sponsor of the bill which relates to development of broadband middle mile infrastructure. He serves as chair of the Transportation and Infrastructure committee, vice-chair of Economic Development, in addition to being chair of the Infrastructure and Finance Interim Committees.
Citynet president and CEO Jim Martin will talk about broadband successes in Pocahontas County and will join David Hunt, project manager for Spruce Knob Seneca Rocks Telecommunications, Jeff Manning, manager of Network Engineering-Shentel, and Frontier’s senior vice president of West Virginia operations Kevin Wallick to discuss “Potential Paths Forward.”

Tony Simental with West Virginia Broadband Mapping and Planning will speak at the event, as well.
The public is invited and encouraged to attend to ask questions, voice concerns or offer suggestions.
Lunch and refreshments during the breaks will be provided.
The event is free.
For more information contact NRAO Business Manager Mike Holstine at 304-456-2231.

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