TTA Executive Director Update October 2020

Cultivating Education Partners

As local school districts continue to grapple with the technical and logistical issues of distance learning, our local phone companies serve as a resource. Several TTA members are working with their local school districts and institutions of higher education to address Internet service and connectivity opportunities for students, staff, and faculty. In many cases, education professionals who are looking for answers do not know where to turn. As leaders in our communities, TTA members are proactively reaching out to local superintendents and principals to identify individual students and others who need specific help in connecting remotely to accomplish their education goals.

In some cases, our local companies set up specific connections for individual homes who need service, at free or reduced cost to the families, in order to get these kids connected. In other cases, local establishments, community centers, and private facilities have asked to host education pods, and TTA members have helped make broadband access available to them so several students can gain access at one time.

As educators and administrators seek answers to these issues, sometimes they don’t reach out to our local companies or traditional providers for help, and instead attempt to fund and provide connectivity in their districts on their own. Inevitably, these projects end up with cost overruns, mismanagement, and, ultimately, dissolution or takeover by established telecommunications providers.

TTA is proactively seeking solutions to these problems, by supporting partnerships between established facilities-based providers and local schools, and by attempting to educate well-meaning local school administrators about the complexity of building and operating new facilities when existing facilities can be used more efficiently.

As providers, we should reach out to our local school districts and education service centers to offer our expertise and assistance. Many of our companies have been recognized by the FCC for superior leadership in connecting folks during the pandemic, and we will continue to lead the way in supporting educating a connected rural Texas.

One Additional Note

As we approached our TXConnect Membership Summit in San Antonio, TX, this year, the staff and leadership of the hotel went above and beyond in accommodating our shift from a four-day in-person event to a one-day mostly virtual event. It was a great success. After that success, TTA approached the Hyatt Hill Country about a partnership arrangement. I am pleased to announce that TTA members will now enjoy a standing reduced rate of almost 50% off the normal rack rate (with no parking fees and no resort fees) at this San Antonio, TX, resort through 2021! (Spring break and a few holidays not included.)

We also have reached an agreement with Hyatt USA giving TTA members a 25% discount on all Hyatt properties in the US through next year as well.

Promo codes to follow. Let’s support Hyatt — as they have supported us.

Mark Seale, Executive Director
Texas Telephone Association
mseale@tta.org

It is the goal of TTA to build stronger relationships and have open communication between all its members. Your story is real. Your story is important. Your story makes a difference. Our goal is to hear and share your story with folks in Austin, Texas, and Washington, D.C.

TTA Board of Directors