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Been on the road for a few days and soooo happy to be home again. Mentally and physically tired. … Do not remember going to bed last night …. ever have such an experience … slept well … but, woke up tired … more mental than physical.

Actually attended a telephone conference sponsored by NTCA, the lobbyist for rural telephony issues in the US. … Heard about the state of rural telephone coops, about cyber security and more and some were concerning …. cyber security being one and the cost of operating a rural telephone company today was another, mostly related to installation of fiber. Oh yes, robo calls, one that no one seems to know what to do about.

I have served on the board of directors of Star Telephone for several years, and it is a pleasure and privilege, but never seen as many obstacles and opportunities, mostly related to the issues stated above.

Star serves, primarily, the rural portions of Sampson and Bladen and small portions of Columbus, Cumberland and Duplin. Fiber is the new norm, and for some in the most rural areas of the local, state and entire USA, fiber may never be available … so expensive, but so necessary for the world we reside in today. In the rural area Star serves, the company averages 4 telephones per mile and the cost of fiber is in the thousands of dollars per mile.

That is why the federal and state governments often provides support to local companies, not enough to do all that needs to be done, We are all so dependent on the Internet, for work, for play and for education. I wish it was more affordable for all.

Some ask why do ‘for profit’ companies not provide the service? Can’t afford to do it, and the best telephone systems in the world are no good if you can’t call rural areas across the US. Farmers need it, other businesses need it, rural health clinics need it, our children need it now to do homework. It is not a luxury, it is a desperate need.

More later,, maybe on the topic. Savannah, Georgia was one of two locations where the issue was most recently discussed. The other was Minnesota or one of those foreign areas.

Sorry, on my mind and enjoy being involved with such issues as Star continues to provide service to rural areas so we can stay connected to our urban friends.

“No, you didn’t wake me up: I had to get up to answer the phone anyway.” Yogi Berra

For a list of all the ways technology has failed to improve the quality of life, please press 3.

Have you ever called the wrong number? They’re always ‘in’ aren’t they?

robert g. hester

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