Directcom Donates to Hidden Hollow Elementary School – 2013

Diane Bradshaw of Direct Communications presents a check for $500 to Tom Tillman, Principal of Hidden Hollow, and Reon Cowan, assistant.

Diane Bradshaw of Direct Communications presents a check for $500 to Tom Tillman, Principal of Hidden Hollow, and Reon Cowan, assistant.

November 2013 -Eagle Mountain, Utah. Direct Communications donated $500 to Hidden Hollow Elementary School, as part of their continuing effort to support education in Eagle Mountain.

Brigham Griffin, Marketing Director for Direct Communications said: “For us, being the local service provider  means being involved and trying to make a difference in Eagle Mountain, and we hope that  means something to our customers here. I guarantee that we care about Eagle Mountain more than any other provider, because this is our only service area.  We have no other priority. And so, we care about what happens here, and we try to support causes that will enhance life in Eagle Mountain. ”

Hidden Hollow elementary is using the $500 donation from Direct Communications this year to buy snow shoes for their 5th graders, who will attend Clear Creek Camp in the spring.

Thank you note from Hidden Hollow Elementary

Thank you note from Hidden Hollow Elementary

Direct Communications Sponsors Frontier Middle School Hope Squad Program

Eagle Mountain, Utah, November 2013:

Direct Communications, Eagle Mountain’s local fiber broadband company, donated $1000 to Frontier Middle School this month, to sponsor the launch of the new Frontier Middle School Hope Squad Program. This program was designed to help combat and prevent bullying at the school.

Diane Bradshaw of Direct Communications, presents Jeff Clark, School Counselor for Frontier Middle School , with a donation for $1000.

Diane Bradshaw of Direct Communications, presents Jeff Clark, School Counselor for Frontier Middle School , with a donation for $1000.

A survey was presented to the students asking them to identify 3 students at the school whom they felt they could talk to if they needed help or had an issue. The school counselors then chose the 30 kids whose names popped up most frequently. (10 students for each grade level.) These students will make up the new Hope Squad. School counselors will train them how to respond and handle a situation, such as another student telling them they are considering suicide. The counselors are then notified, and will be able to handle the situation appropriately.

Mary Finely, School Counselor A-D, Frontier Middle School stated:

“Direct communication has made a more than generous donation to our school to help support the Hope Squad.  This is a team of students who are trained to be the listening ears for their peers and alert counselors of anything that could be considered a harmful activity. This donation helps us to sustain a safe atmosphere that is felt by all students in the community. Frontier Middle School recognizes the well-rounded support of Direct Communications for all of our students and thanks them for their generous support.”

Diane Bradshaw, local Office Manager and Community Representative for Direct Communications, said that she was very pleased that the company donation to the school this year was going towards such an important cause as preventing bullying. “We are very impressed that Frontier is taking such a proactive approach to making their school a safe environment, because bullying has been an issue on many parents minds in Eagle Mountain recently. It feels good to know the money will be used to helping making life a little better for all of our kids.”

Jeff Clark, School Counselor, Frontier Middle School said:

“We are grateful for Direct Communications generous donation to Hope Squad which will help spread the word to our students at Frontier Middle School that they are never alone, there’s people that care, and there’s always Hope.”

Jeff Clark further explained that The Hope Squad is a district wide program that will hopefully soon trickle down throughout the state. “Your donation of $1000 will go directly to the Hope Squad program and assist in preventing suicide and bullying at Frontier Middle School.  Hope Squad allows students to share personal information with their peers in a safe environment so they can get the necessary help they need.  The money will be used for our program fees, such as enrollment, shirts, banners and other signage.”

Which Directcom Employee should Win our 2013 Idaho Office Halloween Costume Contest?

Daniel- email

Daniel- email

Kim - Steam Punk

Kim – Steam Punk

Pam - Wednesday

Pam – Wednesday

Jeremy - Horse's Rear End

Jeremy – Horse’s Rear End

John - What does the fox say?

John – What does the fox say?

Tim - New Dad

Tim – New Dad

Amy -Spider Lady

Amy -Spider Lady

Matt - Linda the Sucker Lady

Matt – Linda the Sucker Lady

Kip - Doesn't do Halloween

Kip – Doesn’t do Halloween

Michael - Ski Bum

Michael – Ski Bum

Anita - American Morph

Anita – American Morph

Erin - Halloween Fun

Erin – Halloween Fun

Lorri - Witch

Lorri – Witch

Tina - Minion

Tina – Minion

Linda - Michael Jackson

Linda – Michael Jackson

Charlotte - Queen of the Beach

Charlotte – Queen of the Beach

Brad - The Deer Hunter

Brad – The Deer Hunter

Rowan - Cowboys Cheerleader

Rowan – Cowboys Cheerleader

Brigham - French Braid

Brigham – French Braid

Which Directcom Employee should Win our 2013 Eagle Mountain Office Halloween Costume Contest?

Kristy - Pioneer Woman

Kristy – Pioneer Woman

Ben - Dr Raymond Stantz from Ghostbusters

Ben – Dr Raymond Stantz from Ghostbusters

Brenda  - Ghoul school Graduate

Brenda – Ghoul school Graduate

Diane - Little Bo Peep

Diane – Little Bo Peep

Student Competition – Make a Video Ad for Direct Communications

Direct Communications is offering $100 to each school AV class/department in our local service areas willing to participate in a student  contest to create the best TV/web video commercial promoting our high speed internet service.

The winning group or individual student responsible for creating the winning ad will receive a $500 prize.

These ads will be aired on our cable TV network on ESPN and seven other cable channels, in pre-movie screen ads at local cinemas, and on our YouTube channel, Facebook page, and various corporate websites.

Specifications:

Videos must be created by local high school or elementary school students. 

Videos must be exactly 30’ in total length for insertion into local cable TV ad spots.

Videos must be in either 1280×720 HD resolution or 720×480 SD resolution.

Videos must be submitted in digital format, exported in either mpeg2, .mov, Quicktime, or mpeg-4 format.

Any models (especially minors) used whose faces are visible in the ad must have signed model releases. These releases must be submitted to Direct Communications with the video submission. These releases are available for download at  http://www.directcom.com/brand/2013-video%20ad%20Model%20release%20form.pdf

Logo and graphics elements are available for download at http://www.directcom.com/brand

All videos must include a title slide indicating the school and students involved in creating the ad.

Videos must be submitted by Dec 31, 2013.

Videos must promote the unique benefits of Direct Communications High Speed Internet Service.

Examples:

Better Streaming.

You can use our internet to stream video better than on competing services.

Fastest speeds in town.

Our 20Mb speeds are faster than any competitors in town.

No caps. No throttling. No limits.

Some providers claim to support video streaming, but will cap how much you can download each month. They may even charge you data overages or throttle (intentionally reduce) your speed if you watch too much.

Direct Communications is the only provider that will give you true unlimited bandwidth, so you can stream as much online video as you want, in full HD quality.

Your local broadband company.

We are locally owned and operated. Our headquarters are in small-town rural Rockland in southeast Idaho, and our employees all live in rural towns in southeast Idaho. Get better service from your local provider.

Some other ideas:

  1. We provide the only fiber optic network in rural southeast Idaho.
  2. You can watch multiple streams at once on different devices in your home.
  3. We offer residential speeds up to 20Mb on cable broadband and 100Mb on fiber broadband.
  4. Our cable network is backed by state-of-the-art fiber optic cable.
  5. Our speeds are consistent, and we typically provide the speed we advertise, not some “burstable” mythical speed that you can only get for a few seconds.
  6. Unlike wireless providers, your bandwidth is not all shared off the same tower.
  7. We don’t throttle your speeds if you stream too much.
  8. We don’t put a cap on how much you are allowed to download each month.
  9. Our fiber-optic cable connects you directly to the national fiber backbone, with no wireless links inbetween.

10. Wireless internet equipment simply wasn’t built to handle constant high-demand applications like high-definition video very well. Our Fiber network was designed to stream high-definition video.

The creative execution should be relevant, but unexpected. Use your imagination and surprise us.

For more information, contact your local Directcom schools rep, Daniel Parrish at 208 945 8223 or at

[email protected]

or call our main office at 208 548 2345.

To submit your ad, please turn in the digital file on either a data CD or DVD, or preferably on a flash drive/SD card  or USB thumb drive to your nearest Directcom retail location, or give it to your teacher to be picked up by Daniel Parrish. Or, you can mail your disk or SD card to:
Brigham Griffin
Direct Communications
PO Box 269
Rockland, ID 83271

Here is an example of an ad created by a 4th grade student.

Directcom in the News – Direct Communications Helps Sponsor Bear Lake High School Athletes

July 3, 2013 – Montpelier Idaho -Directcom in the News – Direct Communications Helps Sponsor Bear Lake High School Athletes

Printed in the News-Examiner, July 3, 2013 Vol 119, Vol 18

News-Examiner July 3, 2013

News-Examiner July 3, 2013

Directcom in the News – Aberdeen High School Athletes Benefit from Direct Communications Program

Published in the Aberdeen Times, July 3, 2013

Aberdeen Times Vol 17 102nd year, Aberdeen Idaho, July 3 2013

Aberdeen Times Vol 17 102nd year, Aberdeen Idaho, July 3 2013

Direct Communications Sponsors Bear Lake High School Athletic Programs

Direct Communications Sponsors Bear Lake High School Athletic Program

Daniel Parrish of Directcom presents a check for $500 to Bear Lake High Principal, Alan Schwab, and Athletic Director, Polly Dahlke, and student athletes.

Daniel Parrish of Directcom presents a check for $500 to Bear Lake High Principal, Alan Schwab, and
Athletic Director, Polly Dahlke, and student athletes.

Direct Communications donated $500 to the Bear Lake High School Athletic Program this month as part of an effort to support local high school athletics in the communities served by the broadband company. At the start of the 2013 school year, Directcom approached Bear Lake High Principal, Alan Schwab, and

Athletic Director, Polly Dahlke, and offered a way for student athletes to earn donations for their school  through their participation and effort in all varsity games.

During football season, Direct Communications pledged to pay $15 for every touchdown at home games. At the same time the Girls Varsity Volleyball teams could earn $5 for each ace they served. Once basketball season started, varsity athletes could earn $5 for every 3-point shot scored during home games.

During the 2012-2013 school year, Bear Lake High Varsity teams reported a total of $395 in earnings through this sponsorship program, including 10 touchdowns, 18 volleyball aces, and 31 3-point shots.  Direct Communications added an extra $105, since they had pledged a donation of at least $500 to each school that participated in the program . Jeremy Smith, General Manager for Direct Communications in Idaho, said he hoped to continue strengthening  the relationship between the broadband company and Bear Lake School District. “As local service provider, we try to build up every community that we serve. Supporting schools makes good sense for both our businesses and our communities.  High speed internet and education go hand in hand, so we view these types of donations as a win-win.”

Welcome, Little Dress Up Shop, to Eagle Mountain

We would like to welcome Lindsay Bills  and her Little Dress Up Shop to  Eagle mountain as the newest tenants in the Direct Communications building. Many residents of Eagle mountain may remember seeing Little Dress Up Shop in the vendor booths during Pony Express Days over the years, and we are pleased to have them now as a more permanent part of Eagle mountain. Little Dress Up Shop is currently part of the Eagle Mountain City Business Incubator program. We wish them every success and hope that their business will continue to grow until they can fill an entire building in Eagle Mountain, and will require a 1 Gigabit internet connection to keep up with all their online orders. Stop by and see the great products they offer or visit their website at littledressupshop.com

2013 yellow beauty dress up

2013 yellow beauty dress up

Lindsay Bills describes her business:

Little Dress Up Shop has been in business for 9 years.  Our store provides quality dress up clothes for children who like to play dress up all day long, all year long. We seek to sell only quality dress up clothes that will hold up to our 100% guarantee and that will be comfortable for children.  At our shop you will only find products that meet our high standards of quality, washability, durability and comfort.  We also strive to offer easily accessible customer service that is always friendly and helpful.

Here at Little Dress Up Shop we only sell dress ups we would buy for our own children.  In fact all of our dress ups have been tested out on our little ones.  If they don’t love it, we won’t sell it.

  • Your kids will love the comfort of our Dress Ups.  The fabrics are so soft!  We sell nothing with itchy fabrics or underskirts.
  • We carry only high quality Dress Ups that last.  They are made to be durable.  In fact, we guarantee their quality and durability.
  • They are washable, as opposed to some costumes found in big box stores which you can only “wipe clean.”
  • Our products are easy for children to put on and take off.  There are no buttons or ties to frustrate little fingers.  Most dresses stretch to fit over their heads like a shirt.  There is nothing more to do!
  • Our Dress Ups are available in multiple sizes to assure your kids get just the right fit.  No more “too small” dress-ups.

Our personal Customer Service cannot be beat with our 100% Satisfaction Guarantee. We are committed to offering THE Best customer service and community service possible.

  • We have a toll free phone number giving you peace of mind that you can reach us with any questions or concerns.  And we always answer our e-mails!
  • We have quick processing times.  All items are in stock when shown as “available” online and we ship orders the same day when placed by 2pm Eastern.
  • We offer free shipping to US residents on all orders all the time.
  • Our returns and exchanges are simple. Just use our Return Authorization form or call for help.
  • We are involved with several charitable organizations-giving to children in the community and around the world.
Store inventory

Store inventory

When we opened this store more than 9 years ago, I had a new baby (my first) and was running a daycare business out of my home.  I was looking for an alternate means of income and never dreamed how this would evolve.  I attribute much of our success to choosing the right product to sell.  We are extremely selective and only offer adorable dress ups that are affordable and comfortable.  As a previous preschool teacher I am excited about these products because I’ve seen the many benefits of pretend play.  Some of the skills they will gain through dramatic play include language development, social interaction and creativity.

Pony Express Days Smart TV Winner Announced

Paul Talbot-TV prize winner, with Ben Hayes, Directcom account manager.

Paul Talbot-TV prize winner, with Ben Hayes, Directcom account manager.

Paul Talbot of Eagle Mountain, Utah, was the winner of the 2013 Direct Communications Pony Express Day Smart TV giveaway. Each year we give away an internet-enabled, or “Smart” TV to a current customer in Eagle Mountain, as part of our Pony Express Day celebrations. The winner is drawn on Saturday afternoon at our booth at Nolan Park. Thank you to everyone who participated  this year–perhaps next year will be your lucky year. We wish we could give a smart TV away to every one of our customers, to encourage all of our customers to stream as much video as humanly possible, because we find that the more our customers stream video, the more they like and value their Direct Communications service.

Why? We don’t cap your service. This is vital for really being able to enjoy HD streaming. All of our wireless competitors are now capping data, or throttling speeds if their customers download too much. Even Comcast is capping data,[i]  which is wonderful news for independents like us, because we can claim to be the only provider to offer unlimited data with no caps.

Online video has become more prevalent, more sophisticated and more bandwidth-intensive.  In 2012, video streaming sales surpassed hard media sales for the first time ever.[1] Netflix says on their website that HD video will use 2.3 GB per hour. A Verizon 4G customer could use up their monthly data allotment on a single HD movie. Netflix is beginning to roll out 3D streaming video and SuperHD quality, and soon we will be streaming Ulta HD, which has four times the resolution of current HD. Ultimately, in a future of video streaming, we as fiber providers with unlimited bandwidth are going to become the entertainment partner in your home.

Two years ago, a customer poll showed that two-thirds of our customers were streaming online video, after several years of us giving away streaming devices like Xbox’s, Wiis, Rokus, Apple TVs, Kindle Fires, or free year-long subscriptions to Netflix with our broadband service. We recently completed our 2013 annual customer satisfaction survey, and found that almost 99% of our customers are now streaming video, with 75.5% reporting that they are streaming video every day. This is good news for our customers, who are saving money on entertainment every month by using their broadband connection to access video rather than paying for satellite, and getting better-quality entertainment on demand, and it is good news for us as a service provider. So go ahead–watch as much as you want to–we won’t cap you.


[1]  IHS Screen Digest Broadband Media Market Insight report

Direct Communications Donates to Rockland High School Athletic Program

Jeremy Smith of Direct Communications with Athletic Director Bill Dean, Brant Mink, Donny Lee and Superintendent Jim Woodworth

Jeremy Smith of Direct Communications with Athletic Director Bill Dean, Brant Mink, Donny Lee and Superintendent Jim Woodworth

Direct Communications donated $500 to the Rockland High School Athletic Program this week as part of an effort to support local high school athletics in the communities served by the broadband company. At the start of the 2013 school year, Directcom approached each school athletic director, and offered a way for student athletes to earn donations for their school  through their participation and effort in all varsity games.

During football season, Direct Communications pledged to pay $15 for every touchdown at home games. At the same time the Girls Varsity Volleyball teams could earn $5 for each ace they served. Once basketball season started, varsity athletes could earn $5 for every 3-point shot scored during home games.

During the 2012-2013 school year, Rockland Varsity teams reported a total of $150 in earnings through this sponsorship program.  However, Direct Communications gave a final amount of $500, since  they had pledged a donation of at least $500 to each school that participated . Jeremy Smith, General Manager for Direct Communications in Idaho, said he hoped the money would go towards the new Rockland School Weight Room, which is currently under construction inside the new school gym.

Customer Tour of Central Office in Eagle Mountain Announced

Direct Communications will be hosting a free tour of the central office/switch room in Eagle Mountain on Wednesday, May 29 at 6PM.

This will be offered to a limited group of interested customers and hosted by our Inside Plant Manager, Cody Bailey, who manages the internal fiber network in Eagle Mountain.

The tour is expected to last 30 minutes. Space is extremely limited due to safety and security considerations for both the sensitive equipment and for our visitors, so the tour will be limited to the first six customers who email to reserve their place on the tour.

Besides learning some basics of how the fiber network in Eagle Mountain functions, you will have the opportunity to ask our network administrators and General Manager questions you may have about the network, our electronics and equipment, our construction plans, and so forth. Some interesting changes you will see in our switch room are our digital central phone switch, our brand new battery backup array and power distribution, our new upgraded broadband fiber distribution system, and several new state-of-the-art internet switches, routers and cabinets.

To RSVP for this event, please email [email protected] and provide the following information:

Name:

Contact Phone Number:

Home Phone Number or Directcom account number:

Address:

Are you willing to sign a NDA: Yes/No

Are you willing to sign a liability waiver: Yes/No

T-shirt size:

No persons under 18 will be considered. You will be expected to sign both a NDA and a liability waiver.

You will receive a confirmation from Ben Hayes if you are accepted on the tour with further instructions.

Results of 2013 Customer Satisfaction Survey

What is our service really like? 89% of our customers either “love” or “like” their broadband service from Directcom. See what our own customers are reporting. Full results of our 2013 Customer Satisfaction Survey conducted in February of 2013 with a sample size of  428 customers can be seen at:

https://www.surveymk.com/sr.aspx?sm=L3kWO2eEr_2fNF9APfn8qaAutpcR9vbYzI2lhyFu1J97s_3d

 

Direct Communications Contributes to Local Eagle Mountain Schools in 2012

Sharon Mardesich and Mike oConnor of Westlake High School with a check from Direct Communications

Sharon Mardesich and Mike oConnor of Westlake High School with a check from Direct Communications

This month, Direct Communications contributed to each of the local  Eagle Mountain Schools as part of our commitment to be involved in our local community.

Mrs Payne of Ranches Academy with a check from Direct Communications.

Mrs Payne of Ranches Academy with a check from Direct Communications.

Kip Wilson, General Manager explained why the company makes annual contributions to Eagle Mountain schools: “Direct Communications seeks to be a responsible corporate citizen.  We know that supporting educational institutions make good sense for both our businesses and our communities.  Educated people value the services we offer, and communities that value education are successful in attracting the opportunities that accompany economic development.  We view these type of donations as a win-win in our business and civic futures. Plus, we want to support causes that we know our customers really feel strongly about, and we know they care a lot about two vital things: Their Internet service working properly, and their children. We figure that if we keep donating  to the schools, that would keep us involved on both counts.”

Angie Hale of  Eagle Valley Elementary sent us a note saying: “Thank you again for your fabulous donation to our school! We also appreciated the photo opportunity with the giant check. It is currently on display in the entry to our school!” Angie composed  the following quote to submit to the Alpine District newsletter:

Ben Hayes from Directcom presents a check to Eagle Valley Elementary.

Vicki Smith, principal of Pony Express Elementary with Brigham Griffin of Direct Communications.

Vicki Smith, principal of Pony Express Elementary with Brigham Griffin of Direct Communications.

“Direct Communications, Eagle Mountain’s local internet service provider, made a generous donation to Eagle Valley Elementary in support of their Battle of the Books program. America’s Battle of the Books provides the opportunity for students in 3rd – 6th grades to read specific books and then compete as teams to demonstrate their knowledge and comprehension of the titles they have read. This program encourages students to read quality books and gives an opportunity for them to have fun while competing with peers. Direct Communications’ meaningful contribution will help provide Eagle Valley Elementary’s media center with much needed additional copies of the books, as well as awards and incentives. It will greatly help Eagle Valley Elementary to encourage an even greater love of literacy and learning among its students. Direct Communication’s generosity shows their dedication to the community and their willingness to help support local schools and programs.”

Ashlee Robbins, of Rockwell Charter High School, with a donation from Direct Communications.

Ashlee Robbins, Assistant Director at Rockwell Charter High School wrote:

“Thank you so much for coming out to our school today and for the generous donation.  The donation was used to support and fund the Rockwell basketball program. We have both a boys and girls team.”

Steve Stewart, Principal of Vista Heights Middle School stated: “Please accept our thanks for the generous donation of $1000 to Vista Heights Middle School. We are using these funds to enhance and support our Guided Studies program, which provides additional assistance to students who struggle  academically in school. This donation was timely and much appreciated.”

Steve Stewart-Principal of Vista Heights Middle School with Diane Bradshaw of Direct Communications.

Steve Stewart-Principal of Vista Heights Middle School with Diane Bradshaw of Direct Communications.

Diane Bradshaw, local office administrator and community relations representative for Direct Communications, has been involved with local education outreach for several years, serving on the Utah Scholars Initiative, and Prosperity 2020 Board.  She explained: “One of the most rewarding parts of my job is giving back to the community, especially our schools.  The future of Eagle Mountain rests in the hands of our children–Direct Communications helps in this endeavor by giving monetarily to our schools, helping our students succeed.  I enjoy hearing back from each school on how they are going to use the donation–some use the money on their libraries, while others use it for student council and sports programs.  I am proud to work for a company that values education and is interested in serving our youth.”

Mrs Mortensen of Hidden Hollow with Diane

Mrs Mortensen of Hidden Hollow with Diane

Suzie Scherer, Director of the Ranches Academy wrote to us: “Thank you so much for the generous donation. We are thrilled to receive the money again this year. The money will be used by our Student Council and our Randy Raffle. The Student Council will use the money to help pay for a service learning project. They will be traveling and serving at a shelter and also would like to go to a City Council meeting and meet with the Mayor. The Randy Raffle is our school wide positive behavior program and character education support.  Our raffle is a reward for students “caught” doing the right thing or demonstrating our character for the month.”

Direct Communications has a long history of partnering with local school districts, especially in remote areas. In many rural towns, Direct Communications was instrumental in bringing the first high-speed internet access to rural school districts.

Wendy hughes and Michelle Zwick- Mountain Trails Elementary

Wendy hughes and Michelle Zwick- Mountain Trails Elementary

Brigham Griffin, Marketing Director for Direct Communications, said: “Education and high-speed internet go hand-in-hand. So, as a broadband provider, supporting education is a good fit for us. Studies show a widening performance gap between students with broadband internet access at home, and those without. Students without internet are at a disadvantage, and at risk for falling behind the curve today. We want to bring high speed internet into more students homes and more speed to every school.”

Michelle Zwick of Mountain Trails Elementary said: “Thank you so much for coming to our school last week and presenting us with the “big” check for $500.  We have a Behavior Committee that meets and implements ways to increase good behavior at Mountain Trails Elementary.  We are going to use the donation money for training and also for student incentives to encourage and praise good behavior at school.  We started this program last year, and it was very successful.   We appreciate your thoughtfulness and generosity.”

Michelle Zwick

Secretary

Mountain Trails Elementary

Report on last weekend’s Power Surge-Related Outage

This past weekend, several hundred Directcom residential customers were out of service after a massive power surge, which occurred at 4am Saturday morning, when City Power was turned back on after a maintenance outage to work on the city’s power grid. The surge damaged the circuitry in about 300 customer power adapters which power the fiber electronics box on each home. Our crews completed the immense task of replacing all the damaged transformer units on customer homes and bringing all affected customers back online by about 5:30pm on Sunday evening, after working around the clock through the weekend.

We are now back to regular trouble ticket procedures. If your connection is still down, please call tech support at 801 789 4999 for troubleshooting. We understand there are probably still a few fiber customers out there who are not online for various reasons, but it should not be because of the outdoor equipment not having power anymore. A simple reboot of your internal router will probably solve most problems at this point.

This power outage has obviously been far more disruptive than we expected. We actually fortunately had about 150 power units on hand as part of regular inventory and for emergencies, but when the power came back on, after the surge our system registered about 490 alarms from fiber ONTs (optical network terminals) on customer homes. This number just kept growing as the morning wore on, and the batteries on those ONTs ran out, so our techs had to sort through those alarms. Our general manager drove through the night to Oregon and back to pick up every power unit in stock at a supplier there, to make sure we had enough to replace all the damaged customer power units.

By Sunday night when the alarms were all taken care of, our techs  in the field had replaced about 300 transformers that were burned out by the power surge.

Directcom construction crew with new reflective jackets so they won't be run over by any jogging strollers in Eagle Mountain.

Directcom construction crew with new reflective jackets so they won’t be run over by any jogging strollers in Eagle Mountain.

Thank you to our amazing techs, many of whom have been going non-stop since 4am Saturday morning, and have just done a fantastic job, visiting literally hundreds of homes. The fact that they were able to bring everyone back online by Sunday evening after a disaster of this scale was a super-human effort. If you see them give them a big hug. They are pretty battle-fatigued at this stage. They gave up their Saturday and their Sunday with their families to get our customers back online, and probably deserve a bonus.

What actually happened? The fiber electronics, called an ONTs (optical network terminals), that convert the digital light pulses into an Ethernet signal are mounted on the outside of your home. These electronics are powered by a battery.  (This battery is designed to last for about 8 hours to power your home phone during an emergency situation, even if the power is out.) This battery is usually continually being charged by a transformer which is directly wired onto the city power meter. When the city power came back on after the outage, this surge fried the transistors in about 300 customer transformers/inverters. Although the ONT electronics  were still fine, the computer inside the box was not getting any power,  so the customer could not get an internet connection. To restore the connection, we had to replace the damaged transformer.

The other question on the mind of those customers who were affected is probably—why this time? The city has had power outages before. The number of customers who were knocked out by the outage is obviously a concern to us. We expected some minor problems, as this is always possible with power surges, but this particular power outage caused more widespread damage than we expected with customers’ power supply equipment. We are not yet sure why this particular power outage was so destructive to electrical equipment, but we will be certainly be investigating, asking some questions of our suppliers and changing procedures to make sure this does not happen again.

We chose to power the units this way for two primary reasons.

1)      We decided to pay for the power ourselves rather than having you the customer pay for the power to run the ONT, even though in truth they do not use much power.

2)      We wanted to be able to access the ONT anytime for maintenance purposes, without having to intrude into customers homes.

Many of the transformers that were damaged were older units. The manufacturer assures us that this technology  is getting better and more resistant to surges. We are now on the 3rd generation of this model, so hopefully newer customers will already be immune to surges.

This situation could obviously have been avoided if those ONTs had not been directly wired to the city power, so we will revisit how we do that. One possible solution would be to have an electrician install an outdoor electrical receptacle, wired back through the wall into the customers internal power, next to each ONT. Another solution, which we will already were planning to be launch soon, is to switch to a new ONT that also has a built-in wireless router feature, but would be installed inside a customer’s basement or garage rather than outside.

We really appreciate your patience as we worked through this situation–we know how frustrating it is to be without internet service. Our goal is to be up 100% of the time. Unfortunately this outage was caused by environmental  factors outside of our control, namely a freakishly powerful power surge. We obviously have more work to do to surge-proof your equipment, and that work will start Monday morning. Thanks for supporting your local broadband company. We appreciate your loyalty.

Which Directcom Employee should win our 2012 Eagle Mountain office Halloween contest?

Darin as an office geek

Jason as Mr Rogers

Jeremy as a pimp

Diane as Supergirl

Kristy as a nun

Ben as Nacho

Marjorie as a surgeon

Brenda as Cleopatra

Which Directcom Employee Should Win the 2012 Idaho Office Halloween Contest?

Rowan- too gross to put a name to

Matt, Operations Manager, as Nacho.

Linda as Tinkerbelly

Austin as Sherlock Holmes.

TJ in sales as a psychic

Charlotte in billing as a bonehead – hope you paid your internet bill already this month.

Brigham as Simon on a diet.

Jeremy, General Manager, doing a Mitt impersonation.

Anita as a bee

Brian as a smartie-pants.

Lori as Cleopatra.

Bruce in Accounting

Michael as a fork in the road

Garrin as Jack Frost

Fiber Technology and Your Future

In the coming months you will see our crews working in your neighborhood. These are exciting times for our company and our customers. We are building more fiber routes every day, all over southeast Idaho. We just installed a new all-digital switch, built for the information age, that runs on Internet Protocol. We have access to as much bandwidth on our fiber backbone as we need through Syringa Networks. We want you to enjoy your time online. We want you to be able to work from home if you choose. If you are not with Direct Communications, your local broadband company, you are missing out on being part of the best broadband network in the state.

Fiber optic cable conduit ready to be buried in Rockland

Fiber is the future of communications technology. Fiber optic cable contains strands of optically pure glass, thinner than a human hair, which carry digital information over long distances. Digital signals are sent as pulses of light down the glass fibers, without interference or limitation. Your home will be connected using the most advanced communications technology currently available: Fiber Optic Cable. This digital transport system is faster, clearer, more reliable, and will give you the bandwidth to access the digital communications services of the future, and today’s IP-based broadband apps such as digital streaming TV , VOIP, video conferencing, home security systems, remote appliance management, and of course residential internet speeds up to 100 Mbps.

We are now in the process of steadily upgrading older neighborhoods that were previously on copper, to fiber. Arbon is complete. We have a 5-year plan to convert all of our exchange areas from Bear Lake to Rockland to 100% fiber to the home. This is obviously going to be an enormous project, requiring millions in investment dollars, but we feel that each person in our rural exchange areas deserves fiber to the home.

This is our community too, and we are committed to ensuring the economic vibrancy of our rural towns, and help provide a great quality of life for all of our customers. I see fiber optic cable as being non-negotiable to ensure the economic future of rural America, not just for our customers, but also for us to stay relevant as a communications provider. Some politicians in Washington feel that rural Americans don’t need as much speed as people in cities. I would argue that rural folks need high speed internet even more than their city counterparts because we are so remote, and fiber is the only way you can push a good, unlimited broadband signal out far enough to reach all of our customers.

Jeremy Smith
General Manager, Idaho, Direct Communications

Having access to unlimited broadband is the future to economic development and personal educational opportunity in this global information economy. Fiber optics are the future of communications, because both copper and wireless will eventually max out on the bandwidth people will require. Eventually, all media will be delivered as internet data. You will be ready for that future.

Please be patient with us as we roll out this plan to bring you better broadband service.

Sincerely,

Jeremy Smith
General Manager- Idaho
Direct Communications

 

The Fiber Optic Advantages Are Clear

SPEED
The fastest connection speed known to man – up into the gigabits. We currently offer an unmatched 100Mb residential speed to our customers.
RELIABILITY
Fiber to the home uses a pure ethernet connection back to your ISP, without needing intermediate equipment like a modem. This results in a much more stable, reliable service, which means no downtime for you. Fiber to the home virutally eliminates most equipment issues, and downtime typically experienced by internet subscribers.
UNLIMITED BANDWIDTH
Unlimited carrying capacity means NO CAPS. The bandwidth, like speed is only limited by the processing power of the electronics on each end of the fiber. We will never cap your data usage, or throttle your speeds. Stream as much video as you like without ever worrying about overages.
DISTANCE
Unlike copper, there is no resistance in the fiber optic cable, so the signal can travel much further distances. This means we can now serve even the most remote customers.
LESS INTERFERENCE
Because it’s literally light being transmitted, there is no interference from electromagnetic noise such as radios, motors, power lines, or other nearby cables. This means a clearer signal and better broadband connection for you. Even lighting strikes, which can be transmitted by copper cabling, are not transmitted by fiber-optic cable.
LESS MAINTENANCE
Fiber optic cables costs less to maintain than traditional copper lines, saving us all time and money.

Fiber optics are the future of communications, because both copper and wireless will eventually max out on the bandwidth people will require. Eventually, all media will be delivered as internet data. You will be ready for that future.

NEW MEDICAL OFFICE BUILDING COMING TO EAGLE MOUNTAIN

Front exterior of new building will be similar to the existing Direct Communications commercial building.

Eagle Mountain City Economic Development Board is seeking doctors for Eagle Mountain, and just approved construction of new 12,000-square foot commercial office building in Prairie Gate Business Park, at the entrance to the Ranches in Eagle Mountain. This potential new medical campus will be ready for move-in by July 2013. Available office space is currently being target-marketed to doctors and medical services by the building’s owners, Direct Communications, Eagle Mountain’s local broadband company.

This two-story building will be Eagle Mountain’s premiere new commercial destination, in a prime location at the corner of Ranches Parkway and State Highway 73, where most residents of Eagle Mountain must pass every day on their way in and out of the city. As an additional bonus for active professionals, this building will be conveniently located on the golf course.

Construction will begin in March 2013. Office space is now available to be built under contract, with pads available for custom design from 1200 square feet to up to 9000 square feet.

In addition to unique high-end finishes and quality construction, your new office will feature the most advanced, state-of-the art networking technology available today, and will be wired to support multi-gigabit ethernet broadband circuits. You will be directly connected to the national internet backbone with fiber optic cable to the premises, so that all your current and future bandwidth needs will be met. Your office will be part of the fastest, most reliable broadband network in the state. This building will also be supported by an outdoor electronic sign which will be made available to tenants for advertising and publicity.

To reserve and begin designing your new dream office space, please contact Diane Bradshaw, at 801 789 2800, or email [email protected]

From eaglemountaincity.com:

“Eagle Mountain City is a master-planned community that captures a neighborhood feel in the midst of Utah’s urban corridor. Since its incorporation in December 1996, the city’s population has grown from 250 residents to more than 23,000, becoming one of the state’s fastest growing communities. We are the third largest city geographically in Utah.
Beyond space and growth, Eagle Mountain City has much to offer prospective employers. Three major universities are located within a 30 minute drive of our city and over 60% of Eagle Mountain adults have college degrees. The community is vibrant and family-oriented. Over 80% of households have children, with an average household size of 4.68.
Eagle Mountain residents enjoy quiet, safe neighborhoods with plenty of open space where families can play and spend time together. The city’s master plan includes more than 30 miles of jogging, bike, and horse trails, connecting Eagle Mountain’s residential developments. In a 2011 citizen satisfaction survey, more than 93% of residents rated their quality of life as “good” or “excellent.”

Free Class: Internet Safety for Adults and Children

Directcom-hosted class:
Internet Safety for Adults and Children.
October 19th, 2012, 6 to 8 pm,
Allred Education and Event Center, Montpelier, Idaho.
Please join us to learn how to protect your family online.
Light refreshments will be served.

This class will be taught by TJ Schwartz from Direct Communications. Admission is free.

For more information contact TJ Schwartz at 208 945 2755.

The News-Examiner- Directcom to Offer First 100 Mbps Residential Broadband Service in Idaho

Published Sep 19, 2012, by The News-Examiner in Montpelier, Idaho.

Directcom to Offer First 100 Mbps Residential Broadband Service in Idaho

Directcom to Offer First 100 Mbps Residential Broadband Service in Idaho

Fiber Optic Cable means more speed.

Direct Communications will become the first major internet service provider in Idaho to offer 100 Mbps service to residential customers, when they roll out a 100Mb package to customers starting in September 2012.

These unprecedented speeds have been made possible by the expansion of Direct Communications fiber optic cable to the home service, which the company began installing in 2006 to a limited number of new homes, where it made more sense to install new fiber than copper lines. However, over the past two years, Directcom has begun a systematic upgrade of all the lines in their telephone exchange areas, replacing aging copper lines with new fiber optic cable all the way to the individual customer homes. Once the fiber is in place, there is unlimited potential for more speed. 100Mb is about as much as most modern consumer-grade electronics equipment can handle.

Jeremy Smith, General Manager for Direct Communications operations in Idaho, explained why the company was aggressively pursuing converting to an all-fiber network: “I see fiber optic cable as being non-negotiable to ensure the economic future of rural America, not just for our customers but also for us to stay relevant as a communications provider. I simply don’t agree with the current Federal Administration’s philosophy that rural Americans don’t need as much speed as people in cities. Everybody needs good internet service; in fact I would argue that rural folks need high speed internet even more than their city counterparts because we are so remote, and fiber is the only way you can push a good broadband signal out far enough to reach all of our customers.”

Brigham Griffin, Directcom Marketing Director stated: “The time is right for 100Mb in Idaho. What we have seen in the past is that each time we offered higher speeds, we had a certain number of customers willing to pay for that service, so the demand is there, even in rural Idaho. A couple of years ago some people in the industry thought we were crazy to offer 20Mb speeds in our very rural market, but customers will find a way to use it. We don’t question why they need it—my job is just to help them to use as much broadband as possible, because that is what will keep them as our customer in the long-run.”

Smith is excited for the future of the company. “We are building more fiber routes every day, all over southeast Idaho. We just installed a new all-digital switch that runs on Internet Protocol, and is built for the information age. We are directly interconnected by fiber to our next tier provider, and have access to as much bandwidth on the backbone as we need through Syringa Networks. We want our customers to enjoy their time online. We want them to be able to work from home. We want to provide a better experience than the wireless competition. Why not provide 100Mb speeds?”

Calix ONT electronics card

The 100 Mb package will only be available to customers with fiber to their homes. Directcom previously offered speeds ranging from 1.5Mb to 20Mb, so the new 100Mb package is a significant jump in speed. However, Smith believes some customers will be eager to pay more for a 100Mb connection in rural Idaho. “Broadband has become the most important utility in many people’s lives. Even when the power goes out, which sometimes happens in Rockland, my high speed internet still works, which is great, because at least we can keep watching Netflix on our laptops. ”

Farr says the only concern he has about launching this 100Mb package for residential use is that it will not yet be available to all customers, and he worries that will make people very restless to know when fiber will get to their home. “We have a 5-year plan to basically convert all of our exchange areas from Bear Lake to Rockland to 100% fiber to the home. Arbon is complete. We started on Rockland this year, and will be completely upgraded to fiber over the next 2 years. Bear Lake is the biggest project and that will take longer, but we already have a few subdivisions there completely converted to fiber, including The Reserve and Cottle Communities in Fish Haven. This summer we also buried new duct to about 30 homes in Canyon Estates in Fish Haven, and we hope to complete splicing the fiber there by the end of this year.”

The most important factor that makes fiber a superior communications medium is bandwidth. Fiber optics are the future of communications, because copper and wireless will someday max out on the bandwidth people will require. Having fiber will soon be vital to compete in the information age. In the future, all communications and media will be delivered as internet data.

Fiber optic cable conduit

Smith concluded: “This is our community too, and we are committed to ensuring the economic vibrancy of the rural towns that we serve, and a great quality of life here. Having access to unlimited broadband is the future to both economic development and personal educational opportunity, and someday, each home that wants to be part of the global information economy will probably require minimum speeds of 100 Mbps. We just wanted to get a head start.”

Directcom Customer Newsletter -Idaho – Fall 2012

The Directcom Connection- Customer Newsletter

The Directcom Connection- Customer Newsletter September 2012

Here are a few updates about how we have been involved in your community this summer:

Directcom to Offer First 100 Mbps Residential Broadband Service in Idaho

Direct Communications will become the first major internet service provider in Idaho to offer 100 Mbps service to residential customers, when they roll out a 100Mb package to customers starting this month.

Fiber Optic Cable means more speed.

These unprecedented speeds have been made possible by the expansion of Direct Communications fiber-to-the-home service, which the company began installing in 2006 to a limited number of new homes, where it made more sense to install new optic fiber cable rather than copper lines. However, over the past two years, Directcom has begun a systematic upgrade of all the lines in their telephone exchange areas, replacing aging copper lines with new fiber optic cable all the way to individual customer homes. Once the fiber is in place, there is unlimited potential for more speed. 100Mb is about as much as most modern consumer-grade electronics equipment can handle.

Jeremy Smith, General Manager for Direct Communications operations in Idaho, explained why the company was aggressively pursuing converting to an all-fiber network: “I see fiber optic cable as being non-negotiable to ensure the economic future of rural America, not just for our customers but also for us to stay relevant as a communications provider. I simply don’t agree with the current Federal Administration’s philosophy that rural Americans don’t need as much speed as people in cities. Everybody needs good internet service; in fact I would argue that rural folks need high speed internet even more than their city counterparts because we are so remote, and fiber is the only way you can push a good broadband signal out far enough to reach all of our customers. Having access to unlimited broadband is the future to both economic development and personal educational opportunity. Someday, each home that wants to be part of the global information economy will probably require minimum speeds of 100 Mbps. We just wanted to get a head start.”

READ MORE…

Watch More Football on ESPN3

More Football is on ESPN3

Have you tried ESPN3 yet? Just click on the ESPN3 link from our homepage to start watching. This is a fantastic complimentary feature that now comes included with your Directcom Internet subscription. Direct Communications is the only Internet Service Provider in Southeast Idaho that gives customers access to ESPN3. ESPN3.com delivers more than 3,500 live online events a year from your favorite sports through an easy-to-use online interface. Features of the website include the ability to watch multiple games simultaneously, get real-time stats and scoreboards, and live chat for interacting with friends and other fans. ESPN3 will stream over 90 college football games during September, over 50 of which are exclusive. This fall ESPN3 will include games from BYU, Utah, Boise State and USU. Another great feature of ESPN3 is the ability to replay games on demand anytime, and the replays include very convenient bookmarks so that you can skip to all of the important plays. See the month’s schedule at http://blog.directcom.com/2012/08/20/college-football-on-espn3-this-september/

Arbon Fiber-to-the-Home Project Complete

This spring, Direct Communications engineers completed the upgrade of Arbon Valley from traditional copper telephone lines to Fiber-to-the-Home, enabling every resident in Arbon to receive broadband access.

The company’s fiber to the home rollout in Arbon began in the summer of 2009, and since then, Directcom crews have been working around the clock, laying fiber optic cable to all of the homes in the Arbon Valley. Even the very remote homes, from those miles up in the mountains to down the valley, can now receive better high-speed internet service than is available in most cities in the USA. The company began with Arbon because this exchange area had always been the most difficult to serve with traditional DSL over copper, and thus had the fewest broadband subscribers.

Direct Communications buried 158 miles of fiber optic cable in Arbon Valley, bringing fiber to about 90 homes.

Matt Farr, Engineer and Operations Manager for Direct Communications in Idaho, shows a typical Calix ONT that is installed on the side of a home to convert the fiber light signal to Ethernet and phone service.

Matt Farr, Engineer and Operations Manager stated: “Arbon was a good starting point for us because it was so open, the construction was straightforward, and there weren’t a lot of other utilities to worry about running into. Also, we had a lot of customers there in Arbon that simply could not receive any internet signal before, because the farms and homes were so spread out. Fiber was the solution. It’s been good to hear customers tell us things like: ‘We tried streaming Netflix for the first time ever last night—that was pretty cool.’”

CLICK TO READ MORE…

This story was also published in the  Idaho State Journal, Sep 12, 2012.

“Arbon Valley just became a lot less remote thanks to an upgrade of its phone system to fiber optics. Every resident in Arbon now is able to receive broadband access.”

Click on the link below to read the ISJ article.

http://www.idahostatejournal.com/members/article_0c6e26ce-fca1-11e1-887a-001a4bcf887a.html

Good job to all the techs and crew involved, including Jason Garner, Brent Moss (now retired) Brad Medinger, Lucas McHargue, Phil Pratt, Steven Robinson, and the many others who invested several years of their lives working through mud, snow and wind to bring fiber broadband to the folks in Arbon.

Refer-a-friend and get $100

Refer a friend and get $100.

As families head back-to-school this month, people will be thinking seriously about their internet service reliability, and now may be a good opportunity for you to tell your friends about the superior quality of Direct Communications High-Speed Internet, and give them your referral card.If they sign up for Directcom Broadband, you will receive a $100 credit, and your friend will get a month of service FREE. Refer as many friends as you like—you may never have to pay for internet service again. Download a refer-a-friend card here.

Join us on Facebook.

Direct Communications has a Facebook page exclusively for our Idaho customers, and we want you to join our group. Facebook is a great way for you to stay in touch with us for upcoming changes, immediate notifications, instant updates, specials and free stuff, and helps us keep in touch with what our customers need. A lot of improvements that we have made over the past couple of years have come from customer suggestions on facebook, which we welcome.

Like our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/directcom

Direct Communications at your county fair

Rachel and her steer with Kip Wilson at the Power County Fair 4H Auction.

This summer Directcom set up booths at the South Bannock County Fair in Downey, the Franklin County Fair in Preston, the Caribou County Fair in Grace, and the Bear Lake County Fair in Montpelier. We also supported the 4H program at the Power County Fair. We enjoyed being in your home towns, seeing your artwork, crafts, and even judging Apple Pie contests; meeting our customers, talking to local residents about our service and fiber optic cable network construction throughout these towns, and handing out candy, Frisbees and t-shirts. We also tried something new this year, and constructed a money/coupon wind booth, which we called our “Cash Cave.” Customers could step inside the Cave and had 30 seconds to grab as many bills or money-saving coupons as they could. We had several new customers, and 14 current customers, win free service in our cash cave, including one who grabbed a YEAR of FREE service. Come and see us next year again at the fair.Read more about our involvement at your fair at http://blog.directcom.com/2012/09/13/why-we-love-county-fairs/

New Outages Mailing List

Wehave a new Idaho Outages Mailing List, where we can make you aware of any upcoming maintenance outages via email. To subscribe to this list, please visit http://support.directcom.com/lists/?p=subscribe&id=1

If you previously subscribed to this list last year, please do so again, as this application has been recently modified and you will need to re-register your email to get onto the new list.

Why We Love County Fairs

Why We Love County Fairs

South Bannock County Fairgrounds

Daniel and Kory at our booth at the Bear Lake County Fair

One of the privileges of living in rural America is an annual pilgrimage to your local county fair. The fair is one of those traditions that probably hasn’t changed too much over the years—at least not since I have been sitting at our Direct Communications booth at the fair each year, observing the folks walking through the commercial buildings—moms pushing strollers with balloons tied on, followed by three or more little kids, and usually a husband in cowboy boots tagging further behind, just looking around nonchalantly at all the displays. The smells, sounds, and tastes of the fair are probably the same as they were 100 years ago.

Direct Communications is an avid supporter of county fairs. County Fairs represent so much of what is special, good and different about strong rural communities—kids enjoy the fruits of their 4-H labors, we celebrate farming, small town life, small local businesses, and old-fashioned homemaking skills that have all but disappeared from most of modern society.

Daniel at our booth in Grace.

Fair season in Idaho for us began again this year, as it does every year, with the Caribou County Fair in Grace, Idaho. We have been in the same spot for many years, and still I have not been smart enough to hang a permanent sign above our booth. Many years I have nearly broken my neck standing on the top of a tall ladder, to try hang a sign from the rafters of the old barn with bungee cords. The rest of the vendors watch with interest to see what will happen. This year our good tech Dan Greenup, was kind enough to hang our big banner for us over from the rafters using his special cable installer ladder and wiring skills. I can’t talk about the Caribou County Fair without mentioning Sandra Findley, who coordinates with us vendors, who is always a great help at the fair every year—this year she even lent us her personal vacuum to clean up some sawdust left from trying to put more holes in our wind booth.

One of the challenges for a small company like us is hosting booths at two different fairs concurrently, because the South Bannock County Fair in Downey was held during the same week as the Bear Lake County Fair in Montpelier. So, we had to recruit one of our outside sales representatives from our Utah exchange  to help us cover all the shifts that week. The South Bannock County Fair in Downey is fascinating to me. We are placed inside the commercial buildings by the fair office, and this year were one of only two local businesses inside, but we are lucky to be surrounded by local artwork, and this is the only fair we attend where our building is cooled, so it’s nice to be inside on a hot august afternoon.

Our booth in Downey.

An art display at the South Bannock County Fair.

I am always impressed by the sheer volume of art and crafts on display—the people of that area must be very artistic.

Rachel and her steer with Kip Wilson at the Power County Fair 4H Auction.

We supported the 4H program at the Power County Fair, and purchased a pig from Wes and a steer from Rachel at the auction.

Thank-you note from Rachel, a college-bound 4H participant at the county fair this summer.

Unfortunately, we could not set up a commercial booth there, simply because that would mean being at three fairs at the same time, but we hope that supporting the 4H at this fair will show we are involved here too.

Thank-you note from Wes.

Wes and his 4H pig with Kip Wilson of Direct Communications.

In Preston, we used to be in a commercial booth with a closing garage door—part of a line of permanent indoor booths. However, last year that row burned down after a vendor had a grease fire. This year, those buildings were completely gone, so I guess we will be outside in a canopy for good.

The burned-down booth row has been removed. This is where we were for many years.

This new setup is actually better for foot traffic because all the booths, including food, are together on the lawn—the only thing is we couldn’t install a cable drop to a tent, so we had to make do without the  internet and our cable TV and Tivo product demo display.

We really enjoyed being in your home towns, seeing your artwork, crafts, and even judging Apple Pie contests; meeting our customers, talking to local residents about our service and fiber optic cable network construction now taking place in many of these towns. The fairs are a great source of information because people are not in a great hurry, and are often willing to talk about their internet service in general terms—who they are using now, what they use their internet for, what they like or don’t like about their current providers, so it’s almost like doing a very large and very extended focus group.

Daniel at our new outside booth in Preston.

We handed out a whole lot of candy, and many boxes of Frisbees and t-shirts. We also tried something new this year, and constructed a money/coupon wind booth, which we called our “Cash Cave.” Customers could step inside the Cave and had 30 seconds to grab as many bills or money-saving coupons as they could. We had several new customers, and 14 current customers, win free service in our cash cave, including one who grabbed a YEAR of FREE service.

Come and see us next year again at the fair.

Directcom in Idaho State Journal – “Bringing the cable home.”

Published in the  Idaho State Journal, Sep 12, 2012.

“Arbon Valley just became a lot less remote thanks to an upgrade of its phone system to fiber optics. Every resident in Arbon now is able to receive broadband access.” Click on the link below to read the article.

http://www.idahostatejournal.com/members/article_0c6e26ce-fca1-11e1-887a-001a4bcf887a.html

This story covers our completion of the Arbon fiber to the home project. Good job to all the techs who spent several years working through rain, snow and wind to bring fiber to the good folks in Arbon.

Directcom to Help Sponsor INTERACTIVE GAME EXPERIENCE – Coming to Rockwell High School

INTERACTIVE GAME EXPERIENCE EXHIBIT COMING TO Rockwell High School In Eagle Mountain City

Written by Linda Peterson. 801-358-1175, [email protected]

Want to Play the Latest Electronic Games? Free For All Players

     Want a chance to play the latest electronic games and play for FREE?  The high energy Interactive Game Experience Exhibit, (IGX) is coming to Eagle Mountain City, from September 21st 3:30PM until 9:00 PM and September 22nd from 9:00 AM until 7:00 PM.  The event features 2 great days of electronic gaming entertainment!  The exhibit is free to all ticketed visitors.

This super-charged exhibit is an exciting “staycation” for families looking for activities close to home.  The exhibit features 17 game ports with high definition flat screen technology and two 42” monitor ports.  Game platforms include Nintendo® Wii™, PlayStation®2, PlayStation®3, and Xbox 360™.  Gamers can sign up each day for tournaments and winners will receive a variety of prizes.

Teens can test their skills on the latest version of today’s popular games like:

  • Call of Duty
  • Gran Turismo 5 
  • Wii Party
  • Wii Mario Kart
  • Time Crisis Raising Storm
  • Play Station3 Move – with a variety of games
  • XBOX360 KINECT- with a variety of games
    • Kinect Sport – soccer, bowling, ping pong, volley ball, and boxing
    • Joy Ride – exciting racing for all ages.
    • DanceCentral – dance your feet away, top score determines champion in the high pace dance game.
    • Fighters Un-caged – intense teen fighting game
    • Game Party in Motion – pool, shooting, skeet ball, corn hole, and other exciting games.For gamers who want to indulge in sports themed games, the choices will feature favorites such as:
  • Madden NFL 2012
  • NHL 2K12
  • NBA 2K12
  • Connect Sports
  • Connect Adventures
  • Connect Joyride

     Parents and younger children can try their skills on games from the popular Disney, Mario and Lego series including such games as Batman, Indiana Jones and Star Wars.

     Electronic gaming is one of the fastest growing industries nationwide and increasingly appeals to families as a recreational option.  In recent studies by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA); it is reported that parents are playing games more often than ever—and not just with their kids, but as a way to unwind and spend time together. The results show that forty-nine percent of parents surveyed said they play games “to spend time together doing something [we] both enjoy.”  Thirty-five percent of parents say they play computer and video games.  Further, eighty percent of gamer parents say they play video games with their kids and sixty-six percent feel that playing games has brought their families closer together.

 

     The latest electronic gaming products in the IGX Exhibit provide players with a more interactive experience. Sony’s new Guitar Hero 5 turns gamers into rock stars and Nintendo’s Wii Sports featuring bowling, tennis and boxing gives participants an opportunity to test their skills against other gamers. Up to seventeen of the latest games rated “E” (Everyone), “T” (Teen), “T10” (Teen) and “C” (Children) provide a variety of challenges for (fair or event) visitors of all ages.

For information go to http://www.eaglemountaincity.com

IGX, Interactive Game Experience is a leader in producing live events for the video game industry.  The company provides electronic gaming attractions for a variety of different host venues including fairs, festivals, theme parks, consumer shows, colleges, corporate events and sporting events such as the NCAA Final 4 and the Indy 500.  For more information on Interactive Game Experience – IGX go to www.igxnet.com.

Directcom Completes Arbon Fiber-to-the-Home Project

This spring, Direct Communications engineers completed the upgrade of Arbon Valley from traditional copper telephone lines to Fiber-to-the-Home, enabling every resident in Arbon to receive broadband access.

The company’s fiber to the home rollout in Arbon began in the summer of 2009, and since then, Directcom crews have been working around the clock, laying fiber optic cable to all of the homes in the Arbon Valley. Even the very remote homes, from those miles up in the mountains to down the valley, can now receive better high-speed internet service than is available in most cities in the USA. The company began with Arbon because this exchange area had always been the most difficult to serve with traditional DSL over copper, and thus had the fewest broadband subscribers.

Direct Communications buried 158 miles of fiber optic cable in Arbon Valley, bringing fiber to about 90 homes.

Matt Farr, Engineer and Operations Manager stated: “Arbon was a good starting point for us because it was so open, the construction was straightforward, and there weren’t a lot of other utilities to worry about running into. Also, we had a lot of customers there in Arbon that simply could not receive any internet signal before, because the farms and homes were so spread out. Fiber was the solution. It’s been good to hear customers tell us things like: ‘We tried streaming Netflix for the first time ever last night—that was pretty cool.’”

Matt Farr, Engineer and Operations Manager for Direct Communications in Idaho, shows the new Calix ONT (Optical Network Terminal) that is installed on the side of a home to convert the fiber light signal to Ethernet and phone service.

There is no resistance in the fiber optic cable, unlike copper lines, so the signal can travel infinitely futher, because it’s light, not an electron flow. With fiber, Directcom can now serve more remote customers in rural areas like Arbon, who live many miles away from the central phone office with broadband products like ethernet, VOIP, video conferencing, home security systems, remote appliance management, and other IP-based apps, which will be vital to the future economies of rural areas. Fiber optics will open up whole new markets of people who previously were too far to pick up a DSL signal over copper.

Farr related that the residents of Arbon had been extremely cooperative during the construction, often helping out the crews, which had helped the project go smoothly.

“The farmers would let us park our equipment in their sheds or shops overnight so that things like the water trailer wouldn’t freeze; they would let us fill up with water from their pumps—the whole community was just really helpful. Larry Fitch and Monty Evans made room in their sheds for us on many a cold night.” He related that people were so excited to get internet service that they would go out of their way to help get the work completed quickly.

“Once, at the end of the season, we were stopped by a really bad snowstorm, and a resident from Garden Creek drove out in the snow to pick up our fiber splicer, and all his equipment, on her personal snowmobile, so that we could complete the fiber splicing at their home.

We had people working in some very remote areas in Arbon, and sometimes we would run out of gas. Ken Estep once came out when we were in trouble and gave us a full tank of gas from his farm tanks.

I also want to thank the County Road Crew for all their help—they were extremely responsive in issuing all the road permits and easements we needed, and were very easy to work with—we were able to coordinate our fiber and road construction schedules—we couldn’t have completed this project without them.”

Directcom used local Arbon electrician, Cody Evans, to help wire the homes internal communications lines so that they would be ready for a fiber ethernet connection, and also to connect the homes power to the fiber terminal battery backup. Unlike the old copper network terminal, the fiber electronics (called an Optical Network Terminal, or ONT) on the side of a home, needs a power supply, and that required new electrical wiring in most cases.

A friendly Arbon dog- photo by Jason Garner.

Lucas McHargue, Construction Supervisor, said he remembers those years working in Arbon consisting of long, sometimes lonely days, and each home they connected had a story to it. “I remember times when the snow was so deep on people’s driveways that even the backhoe couldn’t go through it, and we would have to move forward bucket by bucket, as I cleared the snow away. We met a lot of interesting people out there, and a lot of different dogs—some friendly, some not so friendly. People would call into the main office after we left their home and say: ‘Those guys deserve a raise,’ which I agreed with.”

Jason Garner, Rockland and Arbon Exchange Manager, who spent three years travelling to Arbon each day during this project, and personally spliced the cable to a lot of the homes, feels a real sense of accomplishment in completing the enormous job there. “We had a lot of good times together as a crew—it was good to be part of a team, all working together towards a single goal, and those years really drew us together. I want to thank everyone on the crew who put in so many hours to get this done, including Brent Moss (now retired) Lucas McHargue, Steven Robinson, Marshall Ralphs, Nathan Taysom, Allan Jones, Tim Lee, Brendon Mingo, Phil Pratt, and of course the techs back in the office like Brad Medinger and Austin Turley, who turned on the ONTs remotely, and so many others—this was a real team effort.”

Garner reported that one of his favorite memories from his years working in Arbon was getting to know each homeowner personally by name. “We were in every home. We met a lot of good people.  I always used to wonder how Brent knew every customer by name, and now I know—because he put in all the copper to those home decades  ago. Now it was my turn to meet them all during this fiber upgrade.”

Moose seen in Knox Canyon during daily commute to Arbon- photo by Jason Garner

Garner said they saw a lot of wildlife during the commute over the mountains between Rockland and Arbon, including his closest ever encounter with a moose.

Besides the direct access to high-speed internet from Direct Communications that will bring the benefits of faster broadband to residential customers and anchor institutions like Arbon Elementary School, the fiber will benefit the community in many other ways Directcom has connected fiber to two cell phone towers in the valley, which will increase coverage and data speeds for people using certain cell phones. Fiber in an area means better communications for everyone.

The Arbon area’s first telephone lines were laid by local farmers, who asked former Rockland Telephone Company owner, Joseph Lee May, to acquire the lines back in the 1950’s. He was able to connect the two exchange areas together using copper lines hung on poles. Arbon and Rockland are now connected by various buried fiber optic lines that run right over the mountains separating the valleys, and Arbon will become part of a route that transports a lot of data traffic around southeast Idaho for various major carriers.

When will the rest of Direct Communications customers be upgraded to fiber?

Farr explained: “We have a 5-year plan to basically convert all of our exchange areas from Bear Lake to Rockland to 100% fiber to the home. Arbon is complete. We started on Rockland this year, and will be completely upgraded to fiber over the next 2 years there. Bear Lake is the biggest project and that will take longer, but we already have a few subdivisions there completely converted to fiber, including The Reserve and Cottle Communities in Fish Haven. This summer we also buried new duct to about 30 homes in Canyon Estates in Fish Haven, and we hope to complete splicing the fiber there by the end of this year.”

Fiber optic cable carries an all-digital signal, which is better suited to today’s digital communication devices. Also, there is no interference from electric lines or magnetic fields like you experience with copper, so the signal is clearer, which will result in a better conversation and data transmission. Even lighting strikes, which can be transmitted by copper cabling, is not transmitted by Fiber-optic cable.

Having fiber to a home is a great modern feature that can increase the functionality and value of a home. In fact, having Fiber to the Home could increase the value of a home by as much as $5,000, according to the Fiber-to-the-Home Council *.  Fiber could be a great economic leveler for rural residents.  The homes in Arbon now have the same advanced connectivity as the most high-tech building in any major financial district in the world.

Calix ONT card that is installed on the side of a home to convert the fiber light signal to Ethernet and phone service. Note how a CAT5 network cable will plug directly into the ONT for an internet connection without needing a modem or any other equipment.

The Salt Lake Tribune: Eagle Mountain poised to get citywide Wi-Fi network

Directcom in the News: The Salt Lake Tribune: Eagle Mountain poised to get citywide Wi-Fi network.

Click on link to read the full story:

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/money/54498849-79/network-direct-eagle-mountain.html.csp

 

For more info on this product, also see http://blog.directcom.com/2012/06/19/direct-communications-to-blanket-eagle-mountain-with-wi-fi-coverage/

Provo Daily Herald Article: Company working on citywide wi-fi in Eagle Mountain

Directcom in the news: click on link to read the article:

http://www.heraldextra.com/news/local/north/eagle-mountain/company-working-on-citywide-wi-fi-in-eagle-mountain/article_23fc2f50-db8a-5acd-8107-1d0c7fe12383.html

Published July 18, 2012 , Daily Herald, Provo, UT

 

Direct Communications to Blanket Eagle Mountain with Wi-Fi Coverage

Wednesday, June 06, 2012, Eagle Mountain, Utah.

Direct Communications began rolling out Wi-Fi coverage at select sites in Eagle Mountain this month, in conjunction with Pony Express Days celebrations in the city. The company deployed three towers before Pony Express Days, so that residents could enjoy internet coverage at the Rodeo grounds, Amphitheater, and carnival at Nolan Park. This is part of a larger effort to eventually blanket the entire city with Wi-Fi coverage.

Directcom will deploy about 40 Wi-Fi access points at strategic sites in Eagle Mountain so that residents in Eagle Mountain will be able to connect to the internet no matter where they are.  These sites will be directly connected to our fiber optic network. Directcom will deploy about 20 sites in 2012, and the remaining 20 in 2013.

Eagle Mountain

The plan to cover the City with Wi-Fi first emerged at the urging of Eagle Mountain City officials, who felt this would put Eagle Mountain in a strong position for economic development.  Not only would Eagle Mountain have the premiere fiber-optic network in the state, but also the first city-wide Wi-Fi coverage in Utah.

This Wi-Fi coverage is not intended to be a replacement for current home fiber-optic service in Eagle Mountain. Directcom’s existing residential fiber optic service currently offers a direct link to each home with a dedicated fiber line allowing up to 50 Mbps to each home. Like all wireless coverage, this new Wi-Fi service will be shared by multiple users at each access point, and will only be offered as a value-added service for residents who already subscribe to home internet service.

Kip Wilson, General Manager for Direct Communications Cedar Valley, explains: “This wifi coverage will add a mobile element to our existing fiber optic service. We already had the fiber network in place—this just adds more convenience for our customers, in a slightly different format. We know that most of our customers are highly connected, and already use multiple internet-enabled devices like smartphones and tablets, and this service will replicate 4G-like coverage, so that our customers can rather use our Wi-Fi, and won’t have to worry about going over their cell data plan usage caps. In fact, we hope people will always choose to use our Wi-Fi coverage rather than the cell providers. Wherever you are in Eagle Mountain, whether you are sitting in church, or out running, or at the park with your kids, you will be able to enjoy a strong Wi-Fi connection.”

When pressed on whether people would actually use this mobile service, Wilson explained further: “Anyone who has been to Eagle Mountain can see that people here enjoy being outside. There is a constant stream of moms at the park, moms out with jogging strollers, large packs of tweens roaming the streets with smart phones; there are bikers, hikers and golfers. We want people using our broadband service even when they are outside of their homes. When you are running, you will now be able to stream your favorite music over Grooveshark or Spotify, and doing it all without ever leaving our network.”

City-wide Wi-Fi coverage has been deployed in other high-profile cities in the USA, starting with a municipally-funded effort in Philadelphia in 2004, and later in Mountain View, California, where a municipal wireless network was entirely funded by Google. Many of these have since failed or stalled as partnerships between private and public institutions fell apart, often due to troubles funding the build or maintenance of the system, because residents expected free service, but didn’t want to use public dollars to pay for the installation.

This build by Directcom will make Eagle Mountain first among cities in Utah to boast universal Wi-Fi coverage over the entire city. Why will Eagle Mountain’s city-wide Wi-Fi network succeed where others have failed?  Kip Wilson stated: “We are deploying this in part to help put Eagle Mountain on the map. This is exciting infrastructure for the City administrators to be able to talk about in terms of economic development. But, this will not be some low-grade, open network for everyone who hopes to be able to get free service to hop onto. We are investing a lot of capital and engineering money into this. It will be privately-owned, but built for the public good. Obviously we also want to strengthen our market position. You will have to be a Directcom customer to authenticate on the network. We will fund this privately. We will build and manage the network without relying on municipal funds or bonds.”

FAQ:

How many towers are currently operational?

Three, (Rodeo grounds, Amphitheater, and Nolan Park) with three more currently under construction.

What speed will each tower be connected at?
Each Wi-Fi tower will connect directly  to our fiber network via an Optical Network Terminal, and the Ethernet connectivity for those can be set anywhere from 10 Mbps to 1000Mbps. At this stage we are planning to provide most towers with about a 50 Mb capacity.

How much speed will each end user be able to get?
Theoretically, up to 50Mb, but that all depends on how many devices were connected to that wireless access point at any time, their own wireless device technology, and other factors. We will look to beat or replicate a 4G experience for each mobile device.

 

How much area do the towers currently cover?

Each tower will have a radius of about 800ft, depending on line of site.  However, with 40 towers planned to be operation by the end of next year, we intend to have ubiquitous coverage of both population centers (the Ranches and City Center) in Eagle Mountain.

 

What percentage of city already has fiber to the home now?

We have already upgraded 40% of the homes to fiber to the home, but we have a 6-year plan to upgrade the entire city to fiber to the home.

 

What is the schedule for Wi-Fi roll out?

20 towers this year, and 20 more next year, with 10 in operation by end of this summer.

Which towers will go live next?

We are targeting sports fields and outdoor activity hubs, so the ball parks and soccer fields will get next priority.

 

When did you start planning this?

The city of Eagle Mountain is a forward thinking municipal entity and as such it began a dialogue with Direct Communications in 2011 about deploying a wireless network.  The city views it as beneficial for economic development and Direct views it as a value added benefit for its landline broadband subscribers so they can avoid costly overages of the caps imposed by the many wireless/cell providers.  We made the decision in 2012 to start deployment of a wireless broadband service then.

 

Will you charge customers extra? What’s the pricing model going to be?

We will offer this as a value-added service, so will probably include mobile Wi-Fi service free with a subscription to our premium home broadband packages.