The Iowa Telecommunications Association and the Rural Iowa Independent Telephone Association announced that they will merge to operate as the Iowa Communications Alliance, effective at the beginning of 2014.


The alliance will aim to serve as the single professional association for independent telephone and wired broadband companies in the state, particularly as it relates to advocating to the Iowa Legislature, Congress and other groups on issues of rural broadband connection.


"We believe that the single unified voice of the new Iowa Communications Alliance will better represent rural areas and educate Iowa policymakers on the importance of broadband services to rural communities, which is our mission," said Dave Duncan, current president of the Iowa Telecommunications Association, who will serve as CEO for the Alliance. "You've got this unified voice that brings together combined resources."


The two organizations had similar missions of representing rural telephone companies, and differences that had existed in the past have dissipated in recent years, Duncan said. Both organizations currently share about 85 percent of their membership.


"The membership has actually been asking about this for many years, I would say," Duncan said.