By the time you receive this magazine, our winter should be behind us, and signs of spring will abound. Everyone with your cooperative wishes that all is well with you and your loved ones as you enjoy this time of spring renewal.
And speaking of wellness, this month’s magazine emphasizes the potential of advances made in health care, particularly those services delivered through broadband. When I talk to state and local leaders, they say they’re pleased by what a broadband network is doing in our homes, schools and businesses. Everything we read encourages us to continue preparation of our network capabilities for the Internet of Things (IoT), smart homes and the almost exponential explosion in connected devices which will automate and improve tasks in both business and everyday personal life.
Increasingly, the place identified by futurists and leaders who see huge potential for broadband technology for rural America is at the doctor’s office. The American Telemedicine Association defines telehealth as “the remote delivery of health care services and clinical information using telecommunications technology.” It may be no overstatement to say that it can revolutionize health care across our country.
Broadband technology provides the capability for local residents to work with their physicians and to connect with specialists around the country via virtual visits and consultations. Minimizing or eliminating the need in rural communities for significant travel to obtain health care should lower a barrier to patients seeking care when they need it, translating into faster and more complete recoveries.
Telehealth can also increase the pace of care when minutes and seconds matter. Whether it’s giving a stroke patient an immediate evaluation by a specialist or enabling a regional radiologist to read the X-ray of a broken arm in the middle of the night, health care providers can use technology to eliminate dangerous delays.
And since telehealth requires high-speed broadband, we’re excited to be in the middle of that revolution. This is yet another example of how our connected lives will continue to be enhanced through broadband connectivity. And this is why your cooperative is moving ahead as rapidly as possible to continue to upgrade our broadband connections. Our goal to our membership in the Texas Hill Country is to enable a connected life.
So while I hope you enjoy this month’s magazine, please allow me to diverge for a moment into a personal issue. Following about 30 years at Southwestern Bell, I have now completed 12 years of employment with the cooperative. For the last couple of years, I have been even more privileged to be your CEO and to lead your capable team.
But that time is coming to an end, and I’m pleased to announce that Craig Cook, who has been your COO for nearly four years, will replace me as your General Manager/CEO in April. I have enjoyed working with Craig, and we have closely collaborated on our aggressive construction-centered multiyear business plan, which has been approved by your board of directors. This will ensure continuity with our declared vision to outshine our peer set by providing our membership the best in broadband capabilities.
I have every confidence that this transition will be smooth and that Craig will bring additional strengths to this position, leading the cooperative for years in the future.
So I would like to thank the board of directors, our employees and the membership for the many years I’ve enjoyed being part of your cooperative. I wish you the best and see the brightest of futures for HCTC.