Bruce, MS (Bruce Telephone Company) Receives National
Recognition as Smart Rural Community
Bruce Telephone Company (BTC) has been honored with the Smart Rural CommunitySM Showcase award by NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association, which cited BTC’s advanced communications services and collaboration with local leaders in agriculture, health care, public safety and education as keys to its success.
At a gathering of more than 2,400 leaders of rural telecommunications providers hosted by NTCA, BTC was honored with an award for deploying advanced technologies and leveraging those technologies to enable innovation in the areas of economic development and commerce, education, enhanced health care, government services, security and energy use.
“Bruce Telephone Company is prime example of the power of a broadband connection and a steadfast commitment to growth and prosperity,” said NTCA Chief Executive Officer Shirley Bloomfield. “Not only are the people of Bruce Telephone Company charting their own path to a more prosperous future, they are also creating a road map for many more communities across the country to follow suit. I commend the people of Bruce Telephone Company for these extraordinary efforts.”
The NTCA Smart Rural Community initiative recognizes and celebrates the efforts of rural telecommunications providers and their communities to deliver technologies that make rural communities vibrant places in which to live and do business. The goal of the initiative is to foster the development of Smart Rural Communities throughout rural America by recognizing trailblazers and providing resources to assist broadband providers and connected industries.
“We are pleased and excited to accept this award,” said Jay Vanlandingham, General Manager, who received the award on behalf of Bruce Telephone Company. “We have worked hard with our local leaders to ensure that our citizens have access to advanced communications and the many benefits those services enable. We look forward to building on our success for many years to come.”
BTC is the only entity in the state of Mississippi to be honored with this award. In 2016, BTC was “Gig certified” by NTCA, recognizing BTCs dedication to broadband innovation and insight in rural America.
BTC has undergone a complete fiber network upgrade over the last decade, and now is able to provide gigabit internet services to more than 80% of their customer base in the Bruce and Calhoun County area. Local schools have dedicated internet connections and have been able to offer subjects through online courses that are not usually offered due to factors such as lack of funding or available qualified educators. As a result, Calhoun County has a thriving S.T.E.M (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics) team, and a future generation with a more well-rounded and broader education. State testing, online grade viewing, staff payroll, online lunch money manager, athletic compliance software, and more options are now available to the parents, students, and teachers to simplify many daily activities.
Several local businesses have been able to take advantage of the availability of high speed internet. Bruce Sweet Potato utilizes automation technology to monitor climate and ventilation in warehouses from anywhere, and sells potatoes across the country through his website. A once small, local business has grown into a major company, providing many jobs to the citizens of Bruce, and giving back to the local Bruce economy. Bruce is home to, and heavily reliant on, two large manufacturing companies, who together employ more than half of the Bruce population. Weyerhaeuser and Haworth, based in Seattle, WA, and Holland, MI, respectively, could not continue to operate without a direct, high speed internet connection to their corporate offices and other operating branches.
Many small businesses, including boutiques, professionals, grocery stores, and banks now operate more efficiently and profitably. An online presence allows local retailers to sell products to a larger area, as well as reach groups of people that may not have the time to shop their brick-and-mortar locations during operating hours. Merchants can process more transactions than before, thereby increasing sales. Local lawyers, insurance agents, and other professionals have access to more information and research, the ability to reach their corporate databases, as well as an online platform for advertising their services. Mississippi’s WIN Job Center located in BTC’s service area can now serve job seekers and job trainees more quickly, with application assistance and online training.
With fiber offerings, businesses, residences, and schools can do more. Whether a business is connecting to its customers or home offices, a homeowner is viewing surveillance imagery remotely or enjoying high-quality online video, or students are preparing for future success, BTC’s customers are being offered top of the line connectivity. There is no limit to what can be done with high-speed internet from BTC, and residents of Bruce are taking full advantage of available technology. BTC’s fiber network, as well as its safe community and small-town conveniences, have positioned the Bruce and Calhoun County areas to be desirable for families, and small and large businesses alike. Sustaining a wide variety of businesses and community anchor institutions boosts the local economy, allows students to discover new ideas, and permits thousands of Mississippians to enjoy a relaxed pace and friendly community. Access to the internet is quickly proving to more than a luxury item – most businesses and individuals rely upon internet access for communication, as is seen daily for many located in Bruce. Because fiber optic cable has infinite bandwidth possibilities, and is limited only by the electronics involved, BTC is well positioned for the future as the world becomes more closely connected.
About NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association
NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association is the premier association representing nearly 850 independent, community-based telecommunications companies that are leading innovation in rural and small-town America. NTCA advocates on behalf of its members in the legislative and regulatory arenas, and it provides training and development; publications and industry events; and an array of employee benefit programs. In an era of transformative technological advancements, regulatory challenges and marketplace competition, NTCA members are leading the technological evolution for rural consumers, delivering robust and high-quality services over future-proof networks that make rural communities vibrant places in which to live and do business. Because of their efforts, rural America is fertile ground for innovation in economic development, e-commerce, health care, agriculture and education, and it contributes billions of dollars to the U.S. economy each year. Visit us at www.ntca.org.