On this episode of Connected Nation, we focus on the nation’s largest and most remote state – Alaska. Hear from leadership at MTA Solutions about the challenges of working across a massive frontier and learn about the historic terrestrial fiber connection to the "lower 48" that the company just completed.
MTA Solutions website - https://www.mtasolutions.com/
Pres release: MTA Solutions creates historic terrestrial fiber connection from Alaska to Canada and Chicago
Jessica Denson, Host (00:06):
This is Connect to Nation, an award-winning podcast focused on all things broadband from closing the digital divide to improving your internet speeds. We talk technology topics that impact all of us, our families, and our neighborhoods.
On today's podcast, we focus on the nation's largest and most remote state Alaska hear from leadership at MTA Solutions about the challenges of connecting people across massive frontier that includes everything from glaciers and arctic tundra to beaches and thick forest. I'm Jessica Denson and this is Connected Nation.
I'm Jessica Denson, and today I am talking with Jared Lindman, who is the director of Product strategy for M T A Solutions. Welcome, Jared.
Jared Lindman, MTA Solutions (00:50):
Hi. Thank you so much for having me today.
Jessica Denson, Host (00:52):
I'm excited to talk to you. Um, Alaska is one of our great, uh, frontiers of the us the last great, almost, I'd say Wyoming is probably a close second. Um, but, um, I'm very excited to talk about what M T A solutions does and what you do, and so thank you for joining us today.
Jared Lindman, MTA Solutions (01:10):
Yeah, thank you so much for this opportunity. I'm, I'm excited to, to dig in and share a little bit and, uh, hopefully learn a little bit from you as well.
Jessica Denson, Host (01:18):
Yeah. Um, we've been on the road for our podcast, so it's nice to sit down and just talk. Um, before we dive into M t A solutions and the work being done in Alaska, let's talk a little bit about your background. Did you grow up in the Alaska area, or at least in the Pacific Northeast, or excuse me, Northwest <laugh>?
Jared Lindman, MTA Solutions (01:36):
Yeah, actually, uh, I was, I was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska, and then, uh, went to college at Portland State and then University of Portland, uh, and then ended up living in Oregon for eight more years after that, before returning to Alaska, uh, now here at M T A in Palmer, Alaska.
Jessica Denson, Host (01:53):
So, uh, what was it like growing up in Alaska? Were, are, were you in one of the bigger cities or were you in an, uh, rural area?
Jared Lindman, MTA Solutions (02:01):
Yeah, I grew up in, in Anchorage, which is pretty much the only real big city, which, uh, in the scale of the rest of the United States, it's actually a pretty small city, about 300,000 people. And, uh, you know, even though we're, we're geographically not an island, it's basically an island living here, and you grow up wondering what it's like in the rest of the world. Um, and, and learning that, you know, some stores that you see commercials for exist in real life, <laugh>, uh, not just on tv. So it was great to, to go out and expand my horizons a little bit and see what else was out there. And then of course, come back
Jessica Denson, Host (02:33):
And, uh, share a little bit about expand the, the time you spent expanding your horizon, so to speak, where you were in Portland. I love Portland. It's a, it's a wonderful city. I've had the pleasure of being there. Um, and but how long were you there? What did you do there? Um, you said you went to school there. Uh, did that, is that how you got into this, this industry?
Jared Lindman, MTA Solutions (02:55):
You know, I, I <laugh> it's a, it's an interesting story how I got, I took the, I think, the most common typical path. Um, so I, I went to school in Portland and I ended up with a degree in marketing, and I graduated in 2009. And if you think back to, uh, what the economy was like in 2009 with the, uh, financial crisis, worst time to graduate with a degree in marketing <laugh>. So how do I pivot? Mm-hmm. <affirmative> ended up, uh, managing grocery stores down in Eugene, Oregon. And, uh, absolutely hated that job and moved on to there, uh, from there to the University of Oregon, and I think I still hold the world record for the longest job title in the history of the world. I was the administrative manager of the Univer <laugh>, or the administrative manager of the Oregon Consortium of International and Area Studies at the University of Oregon.
Um, that job wasn't my cup of tea either. And so, um, I, I knew I needed to figure out something that I was gonna love. And so I spent a lot of time trying to research that and figure that out. And, uh, somewhere along the way, uh, found fantasy football <laugh>. Uh, I absolutely loved doing research before fantasy football season started, and I wished I could get paid for that. And eventually, what I figured out was I had an underlying skill, uh, and data analysis, and I, I was getting pretty good at it. And so I expanded on that, ended up getting a master's, uh, an M B A in operations management from the University of Scranton, and started looking for jobs that were going to let me do exactly what I wanted and product management was the right fit for me. And so, I found a, a job in product management here at M T A, uh, and came here in 2017. So, I took the, the perfectly straight line path <laugh>,
Jessica Denson, Host (04:41):
Jared Lindman, MTA Solutions (04:42):
The de communications industry, I think.
Jessica Denson, Host (04:45):
Yeah. It really sounds like you always knew <laugh> you were what to do. No, I think that’s wonderful. There's lots of different ways to get to this industry. Um, uh, let's dive into M T A then, uh, describe it describes itself on the website as it's the quote, leading broadband technology company, empowering its member owners to live a more connected life. Uh, share a little bit about what that means, um, for you and for M T A overall, and then a little more about that business model that, that M t A solutions takes.
Jared Lindman, MTA Solutions (05:19):
Yeah, absolutely. Um, you know, we're, I guess I'll start by saying we're a member-owned co-op, and that's a, a beautiful thing. We've, we're celebrating our, our 70th anniversary right now. And we were founded, you know, as all co-ops were to solve a very specific problem for, uh, the people in this area. And, and at the time, it was the technology of the time was telephone. And so that's how we got our start. And then, you know, I think very, uh, un unique evolved into D S L and now, you know, going to fiber and, and internet deployment, but we're very focused on being the technology provider for our member owners. Um, and it's a really interesting business model being a co-op, because we are so focused, not on shareholders, not on quarterly returns, but we're focused on what's best for our members both today and in the long run.
And that lets us, um, you know, invest in things that, that are going to have a longer horizon, a longer payout that I don't think we'd get to do if we had a, a different, uh, operational, uh, organization. And so, it's, it's really great that we are always thinking about what is the best thing that we can do for the member, both today and in the long run. Um, and, and you see that play out in some of the product decisions that we make. Um, and I think we'll, we'll have an opportunity to talk about that a little bit later. Um, and also just some of the investments that we can make and how we're really focused on the best experience that we can deliver to, um, our membership. But, um, yeah, also just operating in Alaska is, is pretty unique too, just with the different environment, the different <laugh> geographies, the different temperature swings, um, it's, it's different.
Jessica Denson, Host (06:58):
And, uh, what does M T A stand for? And when we were, when I was preparing for this, uh, podcast I had, I'd asked that question of you and you had said, what do you mean? Do you mean overall or just the initials, <laugh>? I said, why don't you tell us both? So, uh, can you tackle both of those for us? What do the, does M T A stand for in just the letters and as an overall organization?
Jared Lindman, MTA Solutions (07:21):
Yeah. So M t a stands for matanuska Telecom Association, uh, Matanuska being the valley that our headquarters is situated in. Um, we actually operate in a area that's about 10,000 square miles, roughly the size of Maryland. Um, and in that there's maybe 150,000 total people, so not super densely populated. Um, but as far as what do we stand for, um, you know, who are we getting really existential? Um, we're, we're all about community innovation and integrity. Um, you know, community I think makes a lot of sense. As a co-op. We, we work directly in the community. We always are looking for opportunities to give back to our community. Um, we also really want to be a technology leader, like you said, in our mission statement. Um, and so we were trying to always find ways to be innovative, whether it's our products, the way that we do things, um, we're always looking for a better new way to, to try things. And then integrity, I think is, is important. I think, you know, a lot of companies say they strive for, but, um, what I'm most proud of with that is I, I think our member owners would, would say that we stand for integrity, which, um, is pretty meaningful. I think.
Jessica Denson, Host (08:34):
Well, as, just as an aside, as you, you keep referring to member owners and that type of thing, do a lot of your workers, including yourself, also live with these people? Like the people that you're serving are right there and they're <laugh>. So it's like you're somebody at the grocery store might be, Hey, when am I gonna get this connection? Or, I'm having an issue, or, I love your, the service. Is it really something that you, you live and work in this community, and so it's all, all for one kind of thing?
Jared Lindman, MTA Solutions (09:05):
A absolutely. You really hit the nail on the head there. Um, I was actually, uh, just at a doctor appointment earlier today, and, and when they found out that I worked at M t A, uh, we went straight into troubleshooting in issues that they'd been having with their modem. Um, <laugh>. So <laugh>, uh, it's, it's great, you know, we all live here in the community that we serve. Um, and that's great to be able to see that. And, um, it's even better knowing that our, our members like us and appreciate us, so we don't have to hide. Um, and that's something we can take a lot of pride in.
Jessica Denson, Host (09:36):
Jared, as director of product strategy, how does your role fit into the overall business model?
Jared Lindman, MTA Solutions (09:42):
Yeah. Uh, I'm glad you asked. 'cause that's something, uh, obviously I'm very invested in. Um, as the director of product strategy, my job is to be thinking about what are the needs of our members today? And trying to anticipate what their needs are going to be in the future, um, and making sure that we're able to meet them and, and, uh, serve their needs today and in the future in a way that makes them happy, right? Um, and so that really is focusing on two different things. One is uncovering their problems and really understanding their problems. Um, when you can uncover and understand a problem that gives you an opportunity for a solution, which could be a product. Um, and the other thing that we're looking for is the experience. We wanna be here for the long haul. And, uh, so that means investing a lot and making sure that our members are having a good experience, um, and that they are happy to keep coming back to us day in, day out. So, um, that fits in a lot with our mission of really trying to be focused on the members and, and the long-term relationship that we want to and have had with them, um, and just making sure that we're always putting the, the right thing in front of them at the right time to make sure that we're helping solve their problems.
Jessica Denson, Host (10:53):
Um, in my introduction, and, and you kind of touched on this about the fact that you cover a size of a region that's the size of Maryland, 10,000 square feet, but I just want to really, um, emphasize this for people, uh, elsewhere in the country. So in my introduction, I mentioned that Alaska's not only the nation's largest state, but that it has a vast array of geography. So if you'll indulge, indulge me for a moment. I looked up some facts about Alaska. Um, I promise I'm setting you up to hit something outta the park here, <laugh>. But of the 20 highest peaks in the US 17 are in Alaska, there are more than 3000 rivers and 3 million lakes in the state. The largest encompassing about a thousand square miles. There's an estimated 100,000 glaciers. 5% of the state is covered by them. That's 29,000 square miles.
Plus there's nearly 7,000 miles of coastline, including islands 70 potential active volcanoes. And according to the 2020 census, are less than a million people living there. I just want people to understand how difficult <laugh> the challenge that it is to connect people in Alaska. Um, I know you mentioned, um, the area that, uh, just briefly that, that you cover 10,000 square miles. So really, can you explain the geography and the region that you have there and some of the obstacles that M t a covers, um, that your challenge, the challenges that your team sees in that area, whether it's weather or geography, and what that kind of, how you coordinate and tackle that.
Jared Lindman, MTA Solutions (12:29):
Yeah, so <laugh>, um, it's, it's really different. And you realize it's something that you take for granted living here. And then when you go talk to somebody in another state, realize, uh, you're almost speaking another language. Uh, first, first things first. We can only do construction really. Uh, hopefully we can get the season started in June when the ground has thaw enough for us to actually start digging at <laugh>. Um, and we need to be wrapped up normally by the end of October, if not a little bit earlier, because again, the ground has frozen. So a very short season in which we can operate in that season, when we can be doing construction. Uh, yeah, there's, there's mountains everywhere. You, you practically trip over them. Uh, there's water everywhere, you know, whether it's a pond, a lake, a river, or a creek. Um, and lots of swamp land in between.
So always our crews are having to find the, the best, most efficient way to, uh, dig. Right. We do as much as we can, um, subterranean and, uh, there's a lot of, uh, lot of twists and quirks that come with that, lots of directional drilling. Um, and there's also, uh, lots of animals that you have to plan for. Uh, we, last year we had a crew go out that was gonna work in an area that had known, uh, grizzly uh, activity. So we had to send a bear safety crew out there while they were working. So, I mean, can you imagine literally having somebody standing there with, uh, a rifle and a pistol on their hip and their whole job is to look for bears and make sure the crew is safe?
Jessica Denson, Host (14:07):
Jared Lindman, MTA Solutions (14:09):
Jessica Denson, Host (14:09):
Jared Lindman, MTA Solutions (14:14):
Um, I, I, that'd be weird. Uh, hey boss, I need to check out the right hole again today. Uh, we, we also have, uh, company snowmobiles and, uh, that's, you know, in the winter we need to be able to go out into different parts of the network, and they're only accessible by plane or snowmobile. It's really killing me to say snowmobile. We say snow machine up here, but I'm, I'm trying to adapt <laugh>.
Jessica Denson, Host (14:37):
Well, you can educate us. That's okay. You can educate us on, on, on the local, uh, jargon. Yeah.
Jared Lindman, MTA Solutions (14:44):
Um, but yeah, and then, you know, uh, out outside of all of that and, and the mosquitoes and all the great stuff that comes with that in the winter, we can still do some work outside. And depending on where you are in Alaska and the time of year, um, it can get all the way down to negative 65 up in Fairbanks. And so trying to splice fiber, uh, with frozen fingers is not, uh, not a lot of fun. So there's a lot of challenges, a lot of difficulties that come with it. The cost per foot or per mile of putting in fiber is, is a lot higher. There's a lot less that we can do in a year, um, you know, just 'cause of the timeframes that we have to work with. Um, and also, you know, I, like I alluded to at the top of the podcast, we're kind of on an island in, in that we can't just pull resources over from another state really quick for a short project. We're, uh, a three and a half hour flight from Seattle. Um, so it's, it's a pretty big difference, uh, as far as how we're able to actually build out our network,
Jessica Denson, Host (15:47):
Our network. Um, just curious, and I, I know I didn't send this to you in advance, but does Alaska work with Canadian? Um, I have no idea. How can Canada's broadband system is set up? I imagine it's much different than the us.
Jared Lindman, MTA Solutions (16:05):
Um, you know, parts, I think the biggest difference is just the regulatory environment that they have, and just that it's a different regulatory body. And so if we are going to do business in or with a Canadian operator, um, we have those little regulatory, uh, differences that we have to accommodate for, uh, what we are or are not allowed to do as an American carrier, and same for them. Um, so it does just create a little bit more of a, a process, but, um, you know, they're our friendly neighbor to the east, and we gotta work with them to connect our network to the lower 48.
Jessica Denson, Host (16:43):
Yeah. I, I, when you say it's an island, it really is, I mean, there's a whole country between <laugh>, between the lower 48 and you guys, and you mentioned subterranean, you mostly, is that mostly the, the focus because it can withstand different, um, weather, um, whereas a tower might not be able to?
Jared Lindman, MTA Solutions (17:02):
Yeah, yeah. You know, um, I, I'm probably not the best person to speak to this, but I know it's, it's a lot safer for, uh, the actual network. The, the earthquakes that we have, the ground freeze, the extreme, uh, snow and wind that we experience. Fire season is always, uh, it's fire season now, I guess. Um, so there's, there's a lot of environmental threats that can happen, and we can avoid a lot of them by going underground, uh, normally four feet underground to get below the frost line, <laugh>
Jessica Denson, Host (17:32):
Oh, four feet, uh, is that, seems like that's, that's at least twice of what norm, what typical you typically you'd see in the, the, the lower 48 as you called it. Am I right in that that seems pretty deep, four feet? Um,
Jared Lindman, MTA Solutions (17:46):
Yeah, I, I think so. I, I, I'm not an expert in, in how everybody else gets to do it, but, um, yeah, I know that we need to go a little bit deeper than most people.
Jessica Denson, Host (17:56):
Um, any new technologies that you are looking at that could help that maybe you're seeing on the horizon or that you're at least following when it comes to connecting your members?
Jared Lindman, MTA Solutions (18:08):
Yeah, you know, we're, we're always trying to explore and see what else is out there, keeping an eye on, uh, you know, what other people are doing and seeing if there's any ideas that we can steal and say, we came up with all on our own <laugh>
About stealing. But, uh, so we, we've explored all the things that, uh, you know, you've probably seen lots of other ISPs look at. Fixed wireless would be a really interesting one to, to talk about, right? Where, um, can we deliver last mile over the air instead of through fiber to help us get, uh, rapid build out. Um, and what we've seen is the Alaskan terrain just doesn't really cooperate with that. Um, we have a lot of leaves, a lot, a lot of leaves here, <laugh>, uh, that will get in the way of line of sight and lots of, uh, hills or, um, I don't know, when I lived in Oregon, when people would talk about that mountain over there, that mountain over there, I thought those were hills, <laugh>, so maybe that lot of mountains in the way. Um, but yeah, and then also just looking at satellite providers and, and that provides, um, great opportunities for some of our members, honestly. Um, we, we care about the best interest of our membership, and if we're being completely honest, in some cases, a satellite provider is their best option. Um, and so we're, we're not shying away from that. We're acknowledging that and, um, wanna make sure that our members have what they need to, to be successful. There's also potential opportunities, obviously to work with satellite providers. And, um, we're, we're always looking for the best way to build out our network and make the, the delivery to the customer.
Jessica Denson, Host (19:47):
Uh, I know that, uh, for Alaska, there are some tribal nations. Does your area cover some of that, some of the, uh, the local, the natives from Alaska, and how, if so, how do you, um, coordinate with the tribal nations?
Jared Lindman, MTA Solutions (20:04):
Yeah, so, um, they absolutely, the, the entire state of Alaska should be thought of that way, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And, um, so we, we do try to work, uh, with them. We're, we're building out a network in their tribal lands, and, uh, we want to respect and honor that, and we try to foster that relationship and try to understand what are they trying to do, and is there an opportunity for us to help play a role in that, uh, you know, to support it in any way. Um, and we've worked really successfully with, um, some of the nearby tribes in doing youth education. Um, they're wanting to, to, you know, help, um, invest in the education and the, the future for the youth. So technology plays a big role in the future, right? And so we've tried to, um, collaborate on a couple of different projects or glasses trainings, and, um, also looking at where do they need network, how can we help, um, expedite that and, um, really help give them the tools that we're able to provide to, to build out, um, the world that they'd like to see for their, their members.
Jessica Denson, Host (21:15):
What are some successes that M t A has had so far that a couple of, yes, we did that and we're very proud of that moments, perhaps that M t A solutions has?
Jared Lindman, MTA Solutions (21:26):
Yeah, probably the, the biggest one that comes to mind is the completion of our Alcan one network. Um, and Alcan one is a terrestrial fiber that takes us from Alaska down to Seattle, Chicago, Portland. Um, and this is really significant, not only for M T A, but for the entire state of Alaska. Um, before we created that all of Alaska's communications with the rest of the world, were going through four submarine cables. And, um, those cables go right through the Pacific Rim of Fire or the Ring of Fire. And, um, we, they all go through kind of a very similar path. And so we didn't have a lot of geographic redundancy, and, uh, we felt very vulnerable. And you, if you think about what happened in Tonga recently, a year or two ago, and the impact that it had when Volcano erupted and they lost all their submarine fiber, uh, we didn't, we didn't want the state of Alaska to face that possibility.
So we completed the Alcan one fiber, um, a few years ago, and now Alaska is in a much better, uh, resiliency position than it was before. Um, some of the other really big successes that we've had, you know, have been developing, um, a managed wifi service that our customers absolutely love, and we see that in a lot of different ways from how they adopt it to, you know, the n p s score and satisfaction when they have it, um, how much easier it is for us to support them. And, and that came from listening to problems, understanding what those problems were, and then designing a solution to, to meet them where they needed and trying to build it out for the future. Um, and part of that future that we built was the third success that I'll mention, which was our, uh, cybersecurity product that we put out about two years ago. Um, and helping our members stay safe online, uh, whether that's in their home or whether, you know, they're out and about giving them tools to protect their children from what they may or may not be doing online. Um, and so that's been a, a really huge success for us and something that we've been really proud of.
Jessica Denson, Host (23:32):
Um, I think during the pandemic, uh, we've all learned, and people who didn't maybe think that the internet was a necessity in life, uh, we saw that it's very important. Um, I, I don't think I'd be taking a crazy leap to say that people who live in Alaska really like, or perhaps more so than some of us in the lower 48, like the nature like to be out in the, um, open and some of the rural areas. How important is it to connect these vast distances, these vast expanses of places? Um, why do you think it matters to Alaskans? Am am I, is that, what did you call <laugh>? Do you call yourselves Alaskans? <laugh>, I'm guessing here. Um, why does it matter to be connected?
Jared Lindman, MTA Solutions (24:22):
Yeah. You know, it, it, it matters for everyone, um mm-hmm. <affirmative>, and, and I think we are not so unique in some of those ways, but we are unique in others. And, and you touched on the distance, and if you think about, um, you know, if you're out in a remote village that, you know, you have to charter a flight to get in and out of healthcare could be a, a real tough issue to tackle. And so broadband is something that's really helped, uh, improve healthcare out in some of the, the villages here in Alaska, it's same with education. Um, and in the pandemic, you know, all the schools here became online only. And so getting all of the students and all of the teachers and ev everyone involved in the education process connected became really important. Um, we, we actually just said, we are gonna start connecting anyone and everyone, and we'll, we'll figure out, um, you know, the, the billing later, but we gave everyone the most speed that we could give them. Um, and really just tried to make sure that that education process did not break down because of a lack of internet access. Um, so yeah, trying to connect that gap with people that are in vulnerable, um, places like that and how broadband really breaks down a lot of those barriers that they, they might face otherwise has become really important. So we've, we're always looking for opportunities to help with those vulnerable populations and, and let them access all the benefits that broadband offers.
Jessica Denson, Host (25:54):
Yeah, I mean, obviously the nation, our goal is to connect everyone no matter where they are. And I, I just like to hear that from others, why that matters. And, um, I, I think conversations I would have with people that this is not a privilege, it's not a luxury, it's something we all really should have access to, uh, have changed <laugh> as you could imagine, um, to people understanding that. So, um, I, I would just, I echo what you're saying, um, on that point with Alaska two, a two part question here. Uh, what do you think keeps bringing people to Alaska? Why do they live there and love it? I mean, you left and came back. Uh, why do people, and what do people get wrong about the state in general?
Jared Lindman, MTA Solutions (26:39):
<laugh>. Um, so I don't know if there is a unique, how I came to Alaska story every, you know, if, uh, me, I was born here, so I gotta look to my grandparents. Uh, and my, my grandparents came up here for a vacation, fell in love with it, and stayed, uh, my other grandparents came up here for a vacation, fell in love with it, and they stayed. My boss came up here for vacation, fell in love with it, and moved his entire family here. That is the story of how people come to Alaska. Um, that's, that's the only story that exists, I think, <laugh>. Um, and so for me it was, uh, you know, all those people I wanted to come back to. And, and Alaska's just such a, a unique place. Um, I, I didn't understand how unique and cool it was in some ways until I left and then realized, wow, getting to see mountains every day has a really positive impact on life.
Um, I'd like to see more of them, but yeah, that's, uh, that's a lot of what lures people in is, it's just so different and it's just so beautiful. Um, except for in April when everything is just brown and wet <laugh>. But otherwise, it's an absolutely beautiful state. And, uh, you know, I, I, I think that's what really just draws people in, uh, things that people get wrong. Uh, I definitely have a list that I developed while I was in college of questions that I had to answer every time. <laugh>, somebody found out they're from Alaska. Uh, no, I've never lived in an igloo. No, I've never seen a while before here, <laugh>. No, it's not dark all the time. No, it is not light all the time. Yes, we do have a day with 24 hours of light. Yes, we have a day with 24 hours of dark <laugh>. I have seen the Northern Lights. Yes, they are beautiful. Um, I cannot see Russia from my backyard, <laugh>, um,
Jessica Denson, Host (28:23):
Jared Lindman, MTA Solutions (28:24):
Jessica Denson, Host (28:25):
Well, I'm, I'm, I need to take a moment. I've gotta plan my vacation now to Alaska since I've never been <laugh>. It, it, I, maybe I'll be moving near my boss will be like, what? That's a different time zone here, um, <laugh>. So, uh, I don't wanna keep you all day. I've, I've enjoyed talking to with you, but, uh, so let's move, let's wrap and, and get to what's next for M T A solutions. What are some upcoming projects on the horizon? Anything you could share and what would you like to see in a perfect world, two to five years down the road?
Jared Lindman, MTA Solutions (28:58):
Yeah, so some upcoming projects we have, um, a grant that we, uh, were recently awarded that will allow us to bring fiber to, um, uh, a native village that otherwise there wouldn't have been a, a great case to build out to. So the grant has helped us, uh, get the funding needed to bring that out there and, um, allow the, the village of NIC to get the connectivity that, you know, we might take for granted and allow them to, to build the future that, that they're looking for, for themselves. Um, so that's a project that we have just on the horizon that we're really excited. Um, we're also starting to ramp up more and more of community involvement with training on cybersecurity and how to stay safe online, whether that's using an M t a product or not, we, that's not important. It's important to understand what's out there and how you can be safe and, and really utilize, uh, internet connectivity and all the benefits of it safely.
Um, what I would wanna see in a perfect world for the next two to five years is just getting as many people the connectivity, uh, that, that they deserve, right? Or that, that we need to utilize. And right now, not everybody has that opportunity. Um, and we'd like to do as much as we can to improve that and give everybody that opportunity to reap those benefits. Whether that's helping with education, whether that's helping, uh, with medical, whether that's helping you start your own business or just stay in touch with your family on the other side of the nation. Um, it's, it's really important to have all of those, and we want to, we wanna be a part of that solution.
Jessica Denson, Host (30:35):
Well, I think that's a great place to leave it, and I really appreciate you joining me today, Jared, um, and all that M t A solutions is doing for the people of Alaska.
Jared Lindman, MTA Solutions (30:46):
Yeah, thank you so much. This, this has been great. Um, I really love everything that Connected Nation is doing. It's great to see, um, you know, it's a big problem and it needs lots of help. And so it's good to see organizations like Connected Nation being a part of this solution. And, um, I really appreciate you taking the time to talk with me today.
Jessica Denson, Host (31:04):
Happy to do it. And I agree with you. We need lots of partnerships. This is a huge problem. We can't do it alone. So again, my guest today has been Jared Linden, who is the Director of Product strategy for M T A Solutions. I'll include a link to the company's website in the description of this podcast. I'm Jessica Denson. Thanks for listening to Connected Nation. If you like our show and wanna know more about us, head to connect the nation.org or look for the latest episodes on iTunes, iHeartRadio, Google Podcast, Pandora, or Spotify.