Access to Fiber Internet in Rural America

OUTdrive Episode 113 with Rick Lashley

OUTdrive Episode 113 with Rick Lashley

Rural Americans and their operations are what keep the world running. Just like anyone else, these business owners, manufacturers and farmers need access to reliable internet, but many rural areas lack a reliable connection or wifi. GoNetspeed, a fiber internet provider formerly known as Otelco, is out to change that. In this episode, Rick Lashley, Director of Wireless Operations and Product Development, explains the company’s primary goal of running fiber to rural American communities to support their business and lifestyle.

In his role, Rick provides experienced leadership for the company as they continue to develop and expand their fiber internet services. Rick’s tenure with GoNetspeed dates back to its actual inception more than 22 years ago as I-Land. To say the least, he’s an expert in the field. Rick studied electronics at State Fair Community College and received credentials in digital electronics and computer technology through the National Radio Institute.

Check out the newest episode of our State Fair series to hear about the relationship between GoNetspeed and the Missouri State Fair, the cost of developing fiber infrastructure, and why Rick has such a passion for delivering service to underserved communities.


  • 0:18- Rick shares about his background and where he grew up.
  • 1:08- Rick shares about his interest in technology and why he pursued it as a career.
  • 2:24- Rick describes his path from tech support, to I-Land General Manager, and into Director of GoNetspeed.
  • 3:43- Rick explains his role and day-to-day at GoNetspeed.
  • 4:38- Rick discusses the coverage of GoNetspeed.
  • 6:51- Rick explains why he likes his job.
  • 7:50- Rick gives an overview of the progression of the business from I-Land to Otelco and most recently, as GoNetspeed.
  • 9:10- Rick explains the GoNetspeed brand.
  • 11:40- Rick describes the relationship between GoNetspeed and the Missouri State Fair.
  • 14:40- Rick shares about rural Americans that are underserved by their broadband.
  • 16:37- Rick explains how to get in contact with GoNetspeed.
  • 18:20- Rick discusses why GoNetspeed plays a role in Military Appreciation Day at the Missouri State Fair as well as his favorite part of the fair.
  • 24:05- Rick shares highlights from his career and developments in his industry.
  • 26: 37- Rick discusses the future of the internet industry.
  • 27:48- Rick explains his opinion on “faster, better, cheaper.”
  • 29:20- Rick shares how the federal government and private investors are helping support the growth of rural broadband.