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NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association offers a variety of events throughout the year. The association's signature event held in February is the Rural Telecom Industry Meeting and EXPO (RTIME) and garners more than 2,300 attendees in the rural telecommunications industry across the country. There are educational seminars, general session keynote addresses, workshops, and other presentations at the meeting. Association business is also conducted. In addition, there are social events for all attendees.

The NTCA Fall Conference is an education-oriented meeting in September, with more 1,500 attendees. A wide variety of educational sessions and round table discussions are offered, along with several social events.

The association holds Regional Conferences each year in the summer and fall. These meetings represent the geographic regions which comprise the NTCA membership. There are educational sessions, social events, and association business conducted at these meetings.

To provide high quality, topical telecommunications-related education and training to member general managers, directors, and employees at significant savings over commercially available training, NTCA holds Educational Seminars on such topics as management, board of director responsibilities, technical, legislative, regulatory, finance and accounting, customer relations, legal, marketing, public relations and human resources.


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NTCA also holds a number of additional events through the year, including the Legislative and Policy Conference, Telecom Executive Forum, PR & Marketing Conference, Human Resources Conference, Pre-Retirement Seminars, Telecom Legal Seminar, Finance and Accounting Conference as well as others.

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Expo FAQs

 

In an effort to bring you more value for your membership, NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association upgraded our website to deliver new online tools, including event registration and an exhibitor portal.


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Frequently Asked Questions About NTCA Meetings

 

I.  Rural Telecom Industry Meeting & EXPO (RTIME) and Fall Conference Housing Questions

How does NTCA set up housing for RTIME and Fall Conference?

So, if NTCA books enough rooms, then why are there problems?

Why doesn't NTCA just contract larger hotel room blocks?

Why does NTCA utilize a housing bureau?

Why do the hotels sell out so quickly?

Can I stay in the headquarters hotel, but at a different (higher or lower) rate?

What if I end up on the waiting list?

What happens to the rooms within the last three to four weeks before the meeting?

What can I do to help?

What is NTCA doing to help this situation?

II.  Meeting Questions

When will upcoming meeting information be available?

Do spouses/guests need to register fully for the meetings?

Once I register, can I go back online to adjust my registration record?

Is it necessary to register for specific seminars or concurrent sessions at each meeting?

Are banquet tickets included in the price of the meeting registration?

Why will NTCA not refund banquet or special event tickets after a certain date?

How can I provide feedback on NTCA meetings?

 


I.  Rural Telecom Industry Meeting & EXPO (RTIME) and Fall Conference Housing Questions

How does NTCA set up housing for RTIME and Fall Conference?

Our meetings attract a large number of attendees, which require a large amount of meeting space and many hotel rooms. There are not many hotels across the country that can accommodate our entire group, especially for the annual meeting. In order to secure the best possible facility to meet our space and date needs, we must contract for the annual meeting and fall conference four to six years in advance. We book the number of hotel rooms that we anticipate we will need, and based on past attendance records, we generally require one to three hotels to accommodate our group.

So, if NTCA books enough rooms, then why are there problems?

Many of you book more rooms than you actually need when you make your initial hotel reservations. In making your reservations early, you account for the manager and the entire board of directors. Oftentimes, not all of your board actually attends the meeting and yet hotel rooms have been held for weeks or months, thus not allowing other NTCA members to make reservations in the room block. If members will release unneeded rooms as soon as possible (at least four weeks in advance of the meeting), we should have enough hotel rooms to accommodate all attendees.

Why doesn't NTCA just contract larger hotel room blocks?

Hotels require groups like NTCA to actually utilize the rooms they have contracted, either by a member or the association. Thus, NTCA becomes financially liable for the rooms that members release closer to the meeting. If NTCA does not utilize the rooms it has committed to using, costs to the association can be staggering, up to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Why does NTCA utilize a housing bureau?

NTCA utilizes a housing bureau in order to maximize the usage of the conference hotels. The housing bureau helps us manage the cancellations and replaces them with people on the waiting list. By maintaining a waiting list and replacing cancellations with those on the list, we are able to have control over the block, unlike if the hotel were handling the process.

Why do the hotels sell out so quickly?

The Internet allows the rooms to be taken instantly from live inventory. With approximately 250 companies accessing this inventory at the same time, the blocks sell out very quickly. Imagine a hotel with 500 rooms; if each company reserved just two rooms, we would be sold out. Many companies require more than two rooms, so you can see why our overflow hotel inventory is the only available inventory within a matter of minutes. While it used to take 20-30 minutes to sell out the headquarters hotels by the time members were put on hold and able to talk to a live reservations agent, now the headquarters hotel can often sell out in under 5 minutes since all companies have simultaneous access to the inventory. Whether a company reserves rooms in the headquarters hotel, an overflow hotel or is put on the waiting list, the amount of time spent on housing opening day has decreased dramatically since reservations can now be made for any of the hotels through J. Spargo's website, rather than requiring numerous phone calls.

Can I stay in the headquarters hotel, but at a different (higher or lower) rate?

Hotels in general allow groups like NTCA to contract a majority of the hotel rooms, but not all of them. The few remaining rooms are offered at higher rates for individual travelers, though with the decline in tourism, lower rates are often available as well. While you may be willing to pay these higher rates if the block is sold out and may be enticed by the lower rates, we are unable to track attendance that is not registered as part of our hotel block, which hurts us in the long run and could cause us to incur staggering hotel charges. Since we base our future hotel contracts on the rooms we actually use during a meeting, it is difficult to accurately reserve enough rooms for future meetings if members have reserved rooms outside of the NTCA block. In addition, if hotels see that attendance is down in our blocks, then it is likely to result in difficulty contracting enough meeting space for the meetings without steep space rental, higher room rates, less room for negotiation in our contracts and difficulty with overflow hotels desiring our business. In the end, it could also lead to higher NTCA meeting registration fees that may be necessary in order to cover the space rental charges that NTCA could face.

What if I end up on the waiting list?

If you are on the waiting list, please be patient. If it appears that we will not have enough rooms for all of those on the waiting list, then we will contract additional hotels in order to accommodate everyone on the waiting list. We have always been able to get everyone into the NTCA blocks. We recommend that you register for the meeting, even if you do not have a room, in order to take advantage of the early-bird rates and tour and special event availability.

What happens to the rooms within the last three to four weeks before the meeting?

In the last weeks before the meeting, the hotel regains control of the rooms, may not allow NTCA to replace cancellations, can sell our rooms to people outside NTCA and does not have to honor our rate.

What can I do to help?

Plan ahead. Know exactly who from your company is coming to the NTCA meeting. Make housing an agenda item at your board meeting a month prior to when the housing opens for the meeting.

Understand that it is almost impossible to accommodate everyone in the headquarters hotel so be prepared that oftentimes you may have to stay in an overflow property. We hope that when you are in the headquarters hotel you will be considerate of those who are not and only make reservations for the rooms you will definitely need and release your unneeded rooms in a timely manner. We know you would hope that they would do the same for you if the situation were reversed.

As board members, provide your manager with definite information on your housing needs and travel plans. If you say that you cannot attend initially, but then decide later to come, please understand that it will not be your manager's fault if you are housed in another hotel.

As managers, please help NTCA and your fellow members by not holding rooms for all members of your board-unless they have definitely committed to attend the meeting. Obviously, situations occur that require last minute cancellations and we fully understand, and plan, for such instances.

What is NTCA doing to help this situation?

In order to try to reduce the number of overbooked rooms, we now open the housing block for reservations to NTCA members closer to the actual meeting date so that members will have a better idea of who is coming to the meeting. We also work very closely with the housing bureau to maximize the hotel blocks.

When we book hotels, we always aim to use the biggest properties available in order to keep the sleeping rooms and meeting space as contained as possible. We want you to have the best stay possible, so everything we do is with that in mind. We are most satisfied when you are happy and pleased with the meeting.


II.  Meeting Questions

When will upcoming meeting information be available?

Information on the Legislative and Policy Conference should be available online by early March.

Information for the Rural Telecom Industry Meeting & EXPO is posted in early November.

Information on the Fall Conference should be available online by mid-June.

Information about the Regional Conferences is available in mid-April.

Do spouses/guests need to register fully for the meetings?

If a spouse or guest wishes to attend receptions, general sessions, workshops, the coffee stop or any other meeting functions that are included with the registration fee, he or she would be required to register fully as a spouse/guest. However, if this person only wants to attend the banquet and/or other special events, he or she may reserve these tickets under the name of the person who is actually registered as a meeting delegate.

Once I register, can I go back online to adjust my registration record?

No, once you register, you must e-mail meetings@ntca.org  or send a fax to 703-351-2090 in order to make changes to your registration.

Is it necessary to register for specific seminars or concurrent sessions at each meeting?

At the Regional Conferences, attendees who wish to attend a seminar must pay an additional fee and select one of the three seminars offered.

At the Fall Conference, concurrent sessions are included in the registration fee and have open seating, so pre-registration is not required.

At the RTIME, attendees who wish to attend seminars must pay an additional fee, which then permits them to attend as many seminars as they wish. For planning purposes, NTCA does ask that attendees pre-register for the seminars of their choice.

Are banquet tickets included in the price of the meeting registration?

Banquet tickets are included with Regional Conference registrations. However, banquet tickets are not included with Fall Conference or RTIME registrations.

Why will NTCA not refund banquet or special event tickets after a certain date?

NTCA makes every effort to refund people for banquet and special event tickets early in the registration process, before NTCA guarantees a certain number of attendees. Once NTCA has made a guarantee that a certain number of people will attend the banquet or special event, NTCA is financially liable for this number of people. Therefore, after this point, NTCA is no longer able to issue a refund.

How can I provide feedback on NTCA meetings?

You may complete the meeting evaluation, which is available online for two weeks after each meeting. All meeting attendees will receive an emailed link. Otherwise, please feel free to email the meetings department at meetings@ntca.org  with any feedback, questions or concerns.

NTCA Antitrust Statement and Summary for NTCA Meetings

 

NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association (NTCA) assigns the highest priority to full compliance with both the letter and the spirit of the antitrust laws, and it is vital that this meeting be conducted in a manner consistent with that policy. If at any time during the course of the meeting staff believes that a sensitive topic under the antitrust laws is being discussed, or is about to be discussed, they will so advise the meeting and halt further discussion. As attendees at this meeting, you likewise should not hesitate to voice any concerns you may have in this regard.

It is important to bear in mind that those in attendance at this meeting may be your competitors. NTCA members should avoid discussing certain subjects when they are together-both at formal NTCA meetings and in informal contacts with other industry members-and should adhere strictly to the guidelines that follow. In general, the types of discussion that should be avoided are those that may suggest or tend to reflect agreements among competitors as to: price; terms of sale that could impact price; allocation of customers, markets or territories; bid-rigging; and boycotts or joint refusals to do business with others.

While many of the antitrust laws apply only to "concerted" action or "agreements," an illegal agreement can be found even without a "handshake" or express words or writings indicating agreement. Tacit understandings, including responding to pressure, exerting pressure or doing "what is expected," can be sufficient. An implied agreement also may be inferred from actions or the result of those actions. For example, if two competitors discuss prices, and later adopt prices that are similar, a conspiracy to fix prices may be inferred, even though the competitors never explicitly "agreed" to do anything. Comments made in an informal environment may be used as proof of an agreement, even though the parties' subsequent actions actually were taken independently for sound business reasons. Thus, the safest rule of thumb is to avoid any discussions with competitors of topics, in association meetings or elsewhere, on which it would be illegal to agree. An informal verbal understanding could violate the antitrust laws. It is possible to break the law without a written contract or express agreement.

The antitrust laws apply to membership organizations such as NTCA just as they apply to any individual company or group of competitors. Members should always avoid conduct that would violate the antitrust laws in the ordinary course of business. As such, with rare exceptions that should be made only upon the advice of NTCA counsel, there should never be discussion of the following topics at any NTCA meeting (whether as part of a structured formal meeting of the association or as part of informal discussions among members at social functions or other events):

  • any cooperative's or company's prices or pricing policies
  • terms of sale, warranties or contract provisions
  • division of customers, territories or locations
  • restrictions on or reductions of a cooperative's or company's business activities
  • specific R&D, sales or marketing plans
  • any cooperative's or company's confidential product, product development or production strategies
  • whether to purchase from certain suppliers or sell to certain customers
  • prices paid to input sources
  • complaints about individual firms or other actions that might tend to hinder a competitor from competing fully in any market (with some exceptions in the public policy context)
  • data concerning fees, prices, production, sales, bids, costs, salaries, customer credit or other business practices, unless the data in question is exchanged and disclosed pursuant to a well-considered plan that has been approved by NTCA counsel

NTCA meeting participants have an obligation to terminate any discussion, seek legal counsel's advice or, if necessary, terminate any meeting if the discussion might be construed to raise any antitrust issues. If serious antitrust concerns are left unaddressed, the NTCA member representative should announce that he is leaving, explain why and walk out of the meeting.

NTCA is committed to complying fully with the antitrust laws.