TTA Executive Director Update January 2021

Year in Review

2020 was a year of growth and change for TTA. We launched a new logo and website, rebranding our 115-year-old organization and creating new momentum for the future. We welcomed two new members to the Association, bringing our total number of operating companies to 43.

Those 43 member companies employ over 1,400 Texans and serve over 147,000 square miles — an area the size of Montana. That’s over half of Texas.

Our companies serve almost 1.4 million households. On average, our in-state member companies have 3,200 access lines in their service territory.

Those TTA members serve over 1,300 public schools, colleges, and state or municipal facilities. Our in-state members have invested over $1 billion in new facilities over the past 10 years and paid almost $100 million in property taxes.

Focusing on our Association, several of our member companies were singled out by the Federal Communications Commission for going above and beyond in response to the early pandemic crisis. Even through that crisis, TTA was able to hold a successful TXConnect Summit in August, attended by more than 100 folks, in person and virtually. That success resulted in the launch of monthly TXConnect virtual events, which are keeping our members up to date on current political and industry news.

We opened a new TTA office in the shadow of the Capitol and have been able to welcome legislators and staff to join us here for meetings. TTA has hosted more than 75 legislators and staff members for briefings and lunches over the past six months and will continue those efforts going forward. Our renewed presence in Austin has also strengthened relationships in the telecommunications industry, and we host weekly discussions with other industry stakeholders to discuss issues that affect us all.

Our public affairs efforts were focused on the failure of the Public Utility Commission to fund the Universal Service Fund. To date, 53 letters have been written to the commission by legislators, county judges, and various interest groups, urging the PUC to follow the law and keep the USF uninterrupted and fully funded. Our outreach efforts were directly responsible for this outpouring of support. Other phone calls, staff contacts and comments directed to the commission on the USF matter are difficult to tabulate but have been effective.

As we move toward the legislative session, our outreach will include social media and targeted contacts with legislators from Austin and from their districts, and some innovative ways to tell the story of the successes of USF and our companies, and the plans for future successes as well. We will be launching some new initiatives this month. Next month I will share some details about those and about our plans for 2021 and beyond.

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