Member Spotlight: RiverStreet Networks

RiverStreet Networks President and CEO Eric Cramer talks about his company’s expanding customer base in North Carolina and Virginia and the importance of attracting talented human capital and sufficient financial capital.

Tell us about RiverStreet Networks.
RiverStreet Networks was created as an expansion vehicle outside of our original cooperative footprint in northwestern North Carolina. Our strategy involves growth through mergers and acquisitions, partnerships and organic growth. Our mission is to serve unserved and underserved rural areas in North Carolina, and our surrounding region.

What’s your biggest or most recent corporate accomplishment?
Our biggest accomplishment was finishing a complete overbuild of our cooperative network to an all Gigabit capable FTTH active ethernet platform in 2014. We also have tripled the size of our customer base, won over $32M in CAF Phase II Auction support in NC and VA, and established a last mile broadband buildout partnership with the NC EMC statewide association and its members. Most recently, we were chosen as the selected provider for four projects in NC and VA, including being awarded matching grant funding of over $4.1M in the past six months.

When you think about your company’s future, what keeps you up at night?
I would say that due to our rather aggressive and expansive strategic goals, access to quality human capital and sufficient financial capital are our biggest concerns.

What unique challenges does your company face while serving rural communities in North Carolina and Virginia?
Acquiring the talent we need is always an issue, but so far we have been fortunate to inherit some excellent personnel to work with our existing key staff. We have spent a great deal of time and effort building up our core to achieve the scale we are looking for. The most obvious challenge is the high cost of serving rural areas. We are focusing on expanding the fixed wireless side of the business to expand our service areas most efficiently, along with strategic FTTH builds.