SouthEast Association of 
Telecommunications Officers & Advisors

Florida     Georgia     North Carolina     South Carolina     Tennessee
  • Friday, June 12, 2015 7:38 AM | Website Administrator (Administrator)


    SEATOA presented its 2015 Advocacy Awards during the President’s Welcome Reception at our March Annual Conference in Savannah, GA.

    These Awards are given to an individual (including government staff member or elected official), government entity, agency, organization or company that has promoted and/or provided active support for community programming or community broadband issues and/or activities.



    SEATOA presented our 2015  Broadband Advocacy Award to the City of Thomasville, Georgia – whose successful CNS endeavors place it among the award-winning leaders in community broadband advocacy. 

    In 1995, the City of Thomasville, GA, had the foresight to begin building a fiber optic network to serve local schools, libraries, businesses and hospitals.  Over the years, the City expanded and upgraded its fiber network and later created “Community Network Services” (CNS).   First by offering broadband services, then adding cable television and telephone service, this broadband initiative was always about community – first and foremost.  From serving the residential customer, to building fiber connections for larger industries, CNS continuously assessed the community’s needs and found a way to respond to the demand.  After expanding services to incorporate the cities of Cairo, Camilla, Moultrie a multi-city partnership – the South Georgia Governmental Services Authority – was developed.   This partnership enabled CNS to further expand its services to additional communities that were in need of high-speed Internet, television and telecommunications services. Today, CNS serves the community through this four-city partnership.  Offering a diverse, multimillion dollar 10 Gigabit network servicing an area spanning seven counties, CNS encompasses a 100-mile fiber ring.   The network has connections to two backbones which, in addition to internal redundancies, help to protect the system’s overall reliability.  

    SEATOA President, Mike Williams,
    presents Thomasville’s Award to
    Don Atkinson,
    Assistant City Manager,
    Marvin Golden,
    Network Operations Manager of Community Network Services (CNS)


    SEATOA’s second 2015 Award Community Broadband Advocacy Award went to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler.  First, for his recommendation that the FCC grant the petitions of the SEATOA region cities of Wilson, NC and Chattanooga, TN, to pre-empt state’s rights restricting municipal broadband efforts in both North Carolina and Tennessee.  In addressing this issue, Chairman Wheeler stood firmly behind the rights of local governments, stating:  “Communities across the nation know that access to robust broadband is key to their economic future – and the future of their citizens.  Many communities have found that existing private-sector broadband deployment or investment fails to meet their needs.  They should be able to make their own decisions about building the networks they need to thrive.  After looking carefully at petitions by two community broadband providers …, I recommend approval by the Commission – so that these two forward-thinking cities can serve the many citizens clamoring for a better broadband future.” And second, for his being a staunch supporter of network neutrality.  Including pushing the FCC for Title Two regulation of Internet Service Providers, to ensure there is no throttling, blocking or discrimination in providing broadband service.



    SEATOA presented our 2015 Community Programming Advocacy Award to Central Piedmont CommunityCollege / WTVI, the Charlotte, North Carolina PBS affiliate, whose successful merger has brought a wealth of local programming to the communities served by the new joint entity. Their successful endeavors to meet the challenges and raise the standards for local coverage make it among the award-winning leaders in community programming advocacy.  

    In 2012, Central Piedmont Community College became the holder of the license for WTVI and the two separate organizations began a merger of their activities.  As a result, WTVI, which had been struggling financially, has been able to maintain its high quality, noncommercial, educational programs, including PBS broadcasts.   And the College, which uses WTVI as a base for journalism and videography courses, has been developing a digital media curriculum and maintaining the success operations of its educational access channel.

    SEATOA President, Mike Williams,
    presents CPCC/WTVI Award to
    Amy Burkett
    General Manager, WTVI


    SEATOA’s Legislator-of-the-Year Award is presented annually to a member of a State Legislature or the U.S. Congress who has contributed to promoting the development and/or operation of cable, telecommunications or information system networks and/or public, educational or government access channels in local communities.


    SEATOA presented two Legislator-of-the-Year Awards this year – to members of the U.S. Congress who have steadfastly been in support of the Community Access Preservation (CAP) Act and have demonstrated this support by their willingness to introduce this legislation in the past couple Congressional sessions. 

    In presenting this award, SEATOA honors

    Senator Tammy Baldwin
    Wisconsin (D)


    Senator Edward Markey
    Massachusetts (D)

    for their continued efforts to support this bill in Congress.  Our local PEG channels are the voice of the community and an important voice for democratic media, especially in an era of increased media consolidation, mergers and acquisitions.

    SEATOA will always be ready to support our local PEG channels which serve to ensure transparency in local government, as well as encourage an informed citizenry.   SEATOA is proud to present each of them with this Award and to encourage all efforts on the part of our legislators to consider the full realm of possibilities and ramifications when dealing with issues relating to community.

Upcoming events

Community Links

Copyright © 2019 by SouthEast Association of Telecommunications Officers & Advisors. All Rights Reserved.

SEATOA 1549 Stipule Court, Trinity, FL 34655  407.484.0543

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software