It was great to spend time with our Montana members and hear what was on their minds…how Teledoc really works and why the program might be an ideal solution for a state like Montana where even basic clinics might be a few hours drive away. There was also a great deal of discussion about the various number of broadband definitions by any number of federal programs and the recent veto of state legislation to grant property tax relief for broadband construction. Microsoft, WISPA, ACA, Connected Nation and RUS also added to the discussion.
Given the length of the trip to get out to Montana, it would have been crazy to simply turn around and head back home (right?) so Don and I spent another 2 days exploring the wild beauty of the state. We did a wonderful long hike up to a hidden mountain lake (I could have sworn the hike was twice the 6.6 miles advertised after hour 3) and a shorter hike near a local waterfall. I was struck by the growth and development in the area and the plans that the developers of Big Sky have for continued expansion. I hope that only means increased opportunities for NTCA member 3 Rivers Coop who serves the area (and the mountain range and some desolate valleys and some tribal areas). I am always struck when I head out West how significant the deployment challenges are in a land where the livestock outnumber the people by…a lot…and admire the work that our members do to ensure those living out there are well served.