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NTCA travel team takes on New York and Vermont.

It all started with a conversation about the beauty of Vermont in the fall. Soon, Ann Savoy, membership relations manager, and I were lulled to this beautiful state not only by the promise of gorgeous autumn landscapes, but more importantly, to visit NTCA member companies and join Waitsfield and Champlain Valley Telecom (WCVT; Waitsfield, Vt.) in its 100th anniversary celebration September 18.

Our trip started with a flight into Burlington, Vt., followed by a drive along winding back roads to cross into New York, where we planned to visit Crown Point Telephone Corp. (Crown Point, N.Y.).

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Crown Point began service in 1896, and has been in the Herbert and Dorothy Lewis family since 1954.

The company offers a variety of telecom services, including digital subscriber line, but one thing that sets it apart from other providers is its ownership of a radio station.

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President Pat Knapp said the company might consider using the frequency for other applications in the future, but for now, it is satisfied with its success at returning the station to local programming. The station is streamed on the Web, with known listeners as far away as Wyoming.

After our visit in New York, Ann and I sped back up to Burlington in time to meet with Burlington Telecom staff to hear about their plans to bring fiber throughout the state's capital. While owned by the city of Burlington, the carrier's strategy is to insist on being treated without preference--paying its way through pole attachments, rights of ways, etc.

Eventually, Burlington Telecom plans to move into both business and residential offerings, and make a triple-play bundle available to everyone in the city. Director Timothy Nulty said he sees the fiber build out as a key element in attracting economic development to the area. In fact, he said, one larger employer already stated that access to fiber would be a determining factor for remaining in the area.

Day two of our visit focused on the main purpose for our trip: to celebrate the centennial anniversary of WCVT. The company played host to an enjoyable industry open house, steeped in historical recollections and ceremony. From the looks of things, it was quite clear that WCVT had succeeded in pulling together an amazing event.

The day featured presentations from various industry representatives, including Ann and my presentation of a gift on behalf of NTCA's membership and staff, along with remarks by Gov. Jim Douglas, state Sen. Bill Doyle (R), and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D). We particularly enjoyed the words of reflection from WCVT's President and CEO Eleanor Haskin.

The highlight of the day was WCVT's museum, which traced by decade the early beginnings of both the company and telecom industry from the early 1900s up until today. The company's employees all played a role in the museum, as they were dressed in period costume reflective of the era they were stationed at in the museum, and shared industry knowledge from that time.

From the wooden nickels for the candy store to the scavenger hunt for the numerous school children who visited the museum, WCVT made sure there was something enjoyable for all visitors.

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We wish to thank our generous hosts!

By Aaryn Slafky, former NTCA Communications Director

Aaryn Slafky is NTCA's former communications director. She worked for the association for more than seven years, and recently accepted a position at NTCA member company Randolph Telephone Membership Corp. (Asheboro, N.C.) as the director of marketing and communications. NTCA wishes her the best!
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Author:Slafky, Aaryn
Publication:The Exchange
Date:Dec 1, 2004
Words:589
Previous Article:For the record.
Next Article:Loren Duerksen to join NTCA Board of Directors.


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