Daines Welcomes Montana Telecom Leaders to DC

U.S. SENATE — This week, U.S. Senator Steve Daines welcomed two Montana telecommunications industry leaders to Washington, D.C. for a forum to discuss rural connectivity.  

The #Solutions2020 Policy Forum, hosted by Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, gathered communications specialists from around the country to discuss connectivity issues facing America. Participants discussed issues such as: digital inclusion, communications affordability, 5G technology and digital healthcare. 

Diane Smith, Founder and CEO of American Rural shared her firsthand experiences with infrastructure and affordability issues in rural communities and Mike Kilgore CEO, Sagebrush Cellular and Nemont Telephone Cooperative discussed challenges in providing quality communication services to rural America. 

“I’m excited to have two Montana leaders in Washington, D.C. sharing the Montana perspective for rural connectivity,” Daines stated. “It’s critical Montana’s rural and tribal communities aren’t left behind as we move forward to next generation technologies.”

 smith kilgore


Smith and Kilgore speaking at #Solutions2020 Policy Forum. 

Diane Smith, Founder & CEO, American Rural: “As a rural Montana tech entrepreneur, I’m grateful to have the chance to discuss rural technology challenges and opportunities with Commissioner Clyburn and the awesome group of thought leaders she assembled for this event. Low population densities in rural and small communities pose unique challenges for our tech infrastructure deployment and the entire nation benefits when we develop strategically sound solutions.”  

Mike Kilgore, CEO of Nemont/Sagebrush Cellular: “While there is much to be excited about with 5G, we must recognize that we still need 3G and 4G to support the future of 5G.  With access to capital through universal service funding and access to high band spectrum we can begin to solve the dilemma of bringing 5G technology to First Responders for public safety needs; health care providers for telemedicine and telehealth services; farmers and ranchers for precision agriculture and for Smart Ag applications; and energy producers utilizing sustainable energy sources (solar, wind, hydraulic, biofuel) and fossil fuels (natural gas, petroleum and coal) for producing electricity used to power our lives. Advanced wireless broadband services like 5G are important for rural Montanans.  It was an honor to provide a rural voice to Commissioner Clyburn’s ‘Solution 2020 Policy Forum.’”