Ron Hinds, chief executive officer of GRM Networks in Princeton, participated in a rural broadband panel with Washington, D.C., based Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Iowa Congresswoman Cindy Axne on Oct. 10, in Winterset, Iowa. The panel discussed the daily telecommunications challenges faced by

outstate Americans and their providers.

“Citizens living in rural areas often sacrifice the benefits of advanced technology -- which are enjoyed by their counterparts in urban areas -- for their quality of life,” said Hinds. “Filling this void created by the lack of fiber optic connectivity in rural communities is the main focus of community-based providers such as GRM Networks,” said Hinds.

According to a press release from GRM Networks during the meeting, Hinds, Axne and Rosenworcel discussed the lack of availability and accessibility of innovative technological services facing many rural communities such as Winterset.

“Many rural communities are eagerly awaiting the installation of broadband fiber and the services it provides,” said Hinds. “Fiber to the premise or FTTP makes it possible for businesses, hospitals, schools and residents in our communities to benefit from Internet-based services. Hospitals and residents find value in services such as telehealth and precision agriculture, as well as providing customers remote workplace availability. Fiber broadband is important to our schools and libraries because it helps them provide balanced and unlimited access to information and learning.”

Community-based providers use funding provided by the federally mandated Universal Services Fund (USF) to get high-speed broadband to rural areas. “Fiber optic cable is the only future-proof technology for high-speed broadband,” said Hinds.