Vantage Point – Helping Build Better Broadband & Better Lives in Rural Uganda

What sets NTCA members apart is their commitment to service and to their communities. Mirroring its NTCA member customers, several of Vantage Point’s staff have undertaken Herculean efforts to bring connectivity to an area where reliable electricity is still a luxury.  A few of those staff members were at NTCA’s 2023 RTIME and provide an overview of their takeaways and learnings from their many trips to rural Uganda.

Vantage Point CEO, Larry Thompson, explains that the AsOne Ministries is the focal point of their work. Thompson, who is also the Treasurer of the U.S. Board of Directors for AsOne Ministries, is intimately involved with this organization which has a counterpart Ugandan Board of Directors.  As Thompson points out, most of the management and staff are Ugandans that run the day-to-day operations.

In their travels to Uganda, Thompson and team have used their expertise in building networks to connect the AsOne headquarters and a high school to the Internet. It goes beyond connectivity, however, as Thompson describes how they set up servers so that content is available at the school even when they lose connection to the Internet. Their efforts are as much about teaching and helping the Ugandan students maintain the infrastructure, as it is about building the network.

As with rural U.S. deployments, Thompson stresses the importance of creating sustainable networks. In the case of the schools, the school’s connectivity could become an anchor tenant of sorts for local shops or even adjacent farms.

Jacki Miskimins, Vantage Point Director of Marketing, builds on Thompson’s comments pointing out that, like rural U.S. ISPs, “They [the Ugandans] are smart and resilient and eager and inspired.” She indicates that Vantage Point believes that “Better broadband means better lives” and that this improvement in the quality of life is what she and her colleagues thrive on.

Their efforts are more than building physical communications networks, however, as both Miskimins and Kristy Szabo helped organize and lead leadership training. Szabo, Vantage Point Director of Consulting, describes an atmosphere of people eager to absorb and learn new things. Like Vantage Point’s U.S. customers, Szabo likens being a community leader to a lifestyle – doing what is right for the community – as opposed to a career path.

Interview Highlights

ViodiTV coverage of NTCA’s RTIME 2023 courtesy of Calix.

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