Fully Symmetrical Fiber Broadband Speeds are Here

Now make your fiber broadband fully symmetrical for only $10 more a month.

(This means your upload speed matches your download speed.)

Gamers: send bullets as fast as they are coming at you.

Creators: upload your videos and photos in seconds instead of hours.

Everyone: Back up your precious data and hard drives to the cloud.

Fiber, fiber, burning bright

In the forests of the night,  

What aspiring geek or guy   

Could utilize thy fearful symmetry?

-With apologies to William Blake

As more and more customers work remotely from home, and even regular folks upload fearful amounts of data in the form of home movies, pictures and online back ups, the need for higher upload speeds has increased dramatically over the past couple of years. Customers have recently been asking for higher upload speeds, and we have heard you.

For example, Kyle Andelin commented on our facebook page: “100Mb download speeds are exciting, but what are the upload speeds going to be? I’m always jealous of family and friends from nearby cities who have 10 down/10 up, and we still seem to have such a limited upload speed.”

He later explained: “If you need a point as to why upload sleep is important, just think about all the online backup solutions out there. Between Mozy and other offerings, or Norton and its integrated solutions, it’s really not realistic to try to upload 25GB worth of files at 100KB/second. That’s the better part of a week to complete a backup.”

We are pleased to announce that our fiber to the home customers can now choose fully symmetrical broadband speeds!

Our network is state-of-the-art fiber optic cable.

Starting Jan 2015,  Eagle Mountain fiber customers can now Amp Up any broadband package to full symmetry for just $10 more per month. So, for example, if you are currently paying $59.95 for 30Mb down with 5Mb up, you can Amp Up to 30Mb down with 30Mb up for $10 more, so your new total would be $69.95 for 30/30 speeds. Customers who really want to create havoc online can now even choose any upload speed up to 100Mb upload, and download speeds up to 1GB.

In the past, upload speeds were limited by two major things: the engineering specs associated with ADSL, which didn’t allow much more than 1Mb upload, and NECA (national exchange carrier association) federal regulatory specs that put limits on our upload offerings. I recently asked a prominent local telecommunications engineer about this at lunch, who explained how this situation came to be. For some reason which we in marketing will never be able to understand, when the engineers who designed the electronics  that power the internet put together their specs for DSL routers and servers, they decided that people did not need as much upload as download speed. They presumed that the regular folks would always be pulling more data from big content providers than pushing it back to the cloud. That assumption went into all the manufacturing specs and for years most network electronics were built that way, until it became impossible to mass produce or order electronics that could handle symmetrical speeds. It was almost like a VHS versus BETA situation, where the inferior product ended up being the one that was mass produced and became the standard.

Upload is still more expensive than download, and probably always will be, but the good news is that fiber overcomes most of the upload technical limitations. The electronics that deliver ethernet over fiber have thankfully been designed to deliver fully symmetrical speeds to commercial customers, and residential customers are now the lucky beneficiaries of that forward thinking.

The second obstacle was the NECA tariffs, which dictated to federally-supported local exchange carriers (small telcos) like us, how much we had to charge for each megabit of speed, and how many megabits we were allowed to deliver for download and upload. We had been begging them for years to give us more options, so that we could be more competitive.

Thankfully, NECA has recently become a lot more forward-thinking, and given us more room to offer better upload speeds, which has opened up the path for new symmetrical speeds on fiber.

Unfortunately, the technical limitations on copper remain, largely due to the equipment design. VDSL gives us slightly better capabilities for customers still on copper, but sadly still not much more than 2Mb currently. There are a couple of options with copper—we could try do an entire network upgrade and replace all of the current VDSL equipment with some newer electronics that could possibly raise the upload speed. This would require hundred of thousands, even millions, of dollars. There are other creative engineering solutions like bonding several pairs of copper together, where available in a neighborhood, to deliver ethernet over copper, but that has a limited range anyway, and also requires new electronics on each end which would cost each customer several thousand dollars.

Ben Hayes, our commercial accounts manager, has been assigned to work individually with copper customers who are looking for higher upload speeds, and would work with the engineers to find these unique customized solutions. This would be a premium service though. 2Mb upload is still our regular limit for VDSL-  that is what we are comfortable advertising.

One other option copper customers will have is to use the new Wi-Fi network we are building out to blanket Eagle Mountain for upload purposes. All broadband customers will have free access  to this network for at least one device, with the option of adding as many devices as you like. Your upload speeds on this wireless network will only be limited by your device’s radio capabilities, and the available bandwidth on the tower, since it, like all wireless service, will be shared bandwidth. However, it will not be a secure network—it’s wireless, so if you are worried about uploading sensitive private data, this option may not appeal to you anyway.

The only real solution, and the current operating plan, is simply to replace all copper lines with fiber to the home, because we would rather put our investment into fiber construction than replacing our VDSL equipment. Only fiber will be able to get us all to fully symmetrical speeds over the long run, and by full symmetrical we mean speeds like 100 down and 100 up. We will convert the entire city to fiber as quickly as we can. Our crews are working around the clock to replace the copper with fiber optic cable to each home.

Amp Up your upload speed to full symmetry with your download speed

To make your speeds symmetrical today, call our office at 801 789 2800.

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 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.

August 2012 Eagle Mountain Customer Newsletter

The Directcom Connection- Customer Newsletter

The Directcom Connection- Customer Newsletter August 2012

Network maintenance

Network maintenance has been scheduled for early Thursday morning, Aug 16, from 12:00 am– 4:00 am.

Service may be interrupted or unavailable during this time. We will be replacing some of our servers with newer models to prepare for a major capacity upgrade. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you if you are working after midnight on Thursday. We are constantly working to improve our network.

New Outages Mailing List

We also have a new Eagle Mountain 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.

Refer-a-friend and get $100

Also, with back-to-school coming up, 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.

Backbone capacity upgrade coming soon

Look out for a very exciting announcement regarding some new redundant fiber routes that we are busy completing to link Eagle Mountain to the national Internet hub in Salt Lake City, and also a major backbone capacity upgrade, all of which will mean even better service for you. Details on that will be announced in the coming weeks.

Join us on Facebook.

Direct Communications has a Facebook page exclusively for our Eagle Mountain 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.eaglemtn

Direct Communications city-wide Wi-Fi Coverage update

You have probably heard by now that Direct Communications is working to blanket Eagle Mountain with Wi-Fi coverage. This will be a mobile service available to our DSL or Fiber broadband customers as a value-added feature. Even if you only subscribe to our starting internet package at your home, you will be issued a password to connect a mobile device to the new wifi network for free, so you won’t have to use your cell phone data plan while you are working, walking, running, or playing around Eagle Mountain. The higher the speed package you subscribe to at home, the more devices you will be able to authenticate for free. This story was covered by The Salt Lake Tribune, Provo Daily Herald, and Crossroads Journal. This will put Eagle Mountain on the map, as nothing has been attempted on a scale such as this anywhere in Utah. Read more at http://blog.directcom.com/2012/06/19/direct-communications-to-blanket-eagle-mountain-with-wi-fi-coverage/

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.

Eagle Mountain Fiber Construction Plan Update

We held a construction meeting yesterday to plan the fiber build to the remaining Eagle Mountain subdivisions that are still on copper lines. This year we will continue  upgrading  Eagle Point, and this winter, begin construction in Mount Airey—replacing the old copper plant with brand new fiber optic cable direct to each home.

We know that those of you still on copper in other areas are anxious to know how soon we will be bringing fiber to your neighborhood. The good news I have been authorized to share is that by the end of 2015, we plan to have the entire southern part of the city totally upgraded to fiber. We also laid out a 7-year plan to build fiber to every remaining home in the city.

This is obviously going to be an enormous project, requiring millions of investment dollars, but we feel that each person in Eagle Mountain deserves fiber to the home, despite the current federal government’s objections to remote areas having better networks than the larger urban centers. This is our community, and we are committed to ensuring the economic vibrancy of Eagle Mountain.

Directcom fiber optic cable splicers, Rod and Lani, with our fiber-splicing trailer.

The time is coming when there will be large economic opportunity gap between those who have fiber optic cable to their homes, and those without. We want you to be on the right side of that gap—the up side, the fiber haves.  Having access to unlimited broadband is the future to 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. Fiber is essential. Fiber is the future.

This build will be unprecedented along the Wasatch Front, especially since all public utilities are required to be buried in Eagle Mountain, so bringing fiber to every last home will require thousands of underground bores. We hope you will be patient as we roll out this plan and ensure that Eagle Mountain will always have the premier fiber broadband network in Utah.

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

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

KUTV-2 Cable Re-transmission Negotiations

The owner of KUTV-2 (Utah), Sinclair Broadcast Group, is demanding a massive fee increase per customer, for continued carriage of  KUTV-2 on our cable line-up this year.  (Remember, this is a station they offer absolutely free to millions of people over the air, but they want to make cable customers pay to receive.) A couple of years ago we agreed to pay their new fee, and you saw those costs added as a local network re-transmission fee. This time, they have demanded too much. The station’s proposed agreement would increase the cost to provide the signal to you by more than 400% over the next three-years.  Although we have attempted to negotiate in good faith with SBG, the only response we have received is pay more, or don’t carry the signal.

Unfortunately, we have no leverage in these negotiations under current federal laws and regulations.  We do, however, strongly believe that our cable customers should not be extorted by multibillion dollar companies, who then gloat to their investors about the huge increases in revenue they are receiving as a result of their ability to take money straight from your pockets in the form of higher cable bills.

If we don’t agree to the massive rate increase demanded, SBG insists that we cease offering KUTV-2 as of January 1, 2012.  We have decided you should not pay higher cable rates owing to broadcaster extortion, even if it results in a signal blackout.  We are truly sorry for this inconvenience.  We would like to continue carriage of KUTV-2, but we cannot because of the negotiations breakdown.

Our situation is not unique. Identical situations have arisen with cable operators and station owner groups in other markets across the country. Cable operators are finally taking a stand, working to prevent your cable bills from rising dramatically, giving us hope that we can continue to deliver quality programming and broadband services to you, our valued customers.

We deeply and sincerely apologize for the inconvenience an interruption in carriage will cause. We take great pride in serving our cable communities and hope to solve this issue as soon as possible.

If you would like to help us win our struggle with SBG so we can once again broadcast KUTV-UT, please call the station at 801.839.1154 and tell them you won’t accept a 400% increase in cost to view KUTV-UT.  Also, please visit our website to learn about this issue and find out how to contact your representatives in Congress to ask that they fix this broken marketplace so cable customers across the country don’t have to accept extortion from broadcasters.

Sincerely,

Direct Communications/ICS Management

Directcom Customers in Idaho now have Access to ESPN3.com.

ESPN3.com. Your Favorite Sports. Live. Online.

Direct Communications is pleased to announce that our broadband customers in Idaho on our DSL, Fiber Optic and Cable Internet Networks now have access to ESPN3.com.

ESPN3.com Means More College Basketball

Direct Communications is the only Internet Provider in Southeast Idaho that gives you access to this fantastic online sports network. Plus, if you are a Direct Communications Broadband customer, ESPN3.com is now available on Xbox LIVE!

ESPN3.com is a broadband network for live sports programming that harnesses the quality that ESPN has built through its TV networks. ESPN3.com delivers more than 3,500 live online events a year from your favorite sports through a rich, interactive, and easy-to-use experience. Features of the website include the ability to watch multiple games simultaneously, real-time stats and scoreboards, live chat for interacting with friends and other fans, and much more!

Direct Communications means faster streaming broadband. Our fiber optic network allows you to enjoy speeds up to 20Mb, so you can watch streaming video the way it was meant to be viewed. No throttling and no monthly usage caps means you can enjoy unlimited, high-quality, online viewing.

To watch ESPN3 go to our homepage at directcom.com and click on the ESPN3 logo.

New features and functionality updates at launch:

New Viewing Modes – Multiple options to watch live events, including picture-in-picture and split screens;

New Scoreboard Module – Up-to-the-minute scores from hundreds of sports leagues from around the world;

Stats – In-depth event stats that allow fans to track the event they’re watching;

Chat – Interact with other fans watching the game;

Enhanced Schedule – Users will be able to find a specific event via improved navigation;

Social Networking Tools –Update your Facebook and Twitter status.

Key Plays feature where users will be able to jump to key scoring plays and pivotal moments at any time during the game.

Network Description:
Watch more than 3,500 live sports events a year including college basketball, college football, MLB, NBA, PGA and tennis championships

  • Customize your viewing experience with a selection of features
  • Select from a menu of live or recently completed games and events
  • Watch up to 4 LIVE games all at the same time with a variety of viewing modes
  • Ability to CHAT LIVE with your friend in the Chat room
  • Live scores and an analysis
  • With your High Speed Internet connection, log onto ESPN3.com away from home with Remote Access

ESPN3.com Programming:

• Tennis

– Coverage of all 4 Grand Slam events (Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, US Open)

– Over 1600 live hours of Grand Slam tennis including simultaneous streams of outer-court coverage

Golf

– The Masters: First and Second Round coverage in addition to the Par 3 Contest

– US Open: First and Second Rounds in addition to specific Par 3 hole coverage

– Open Championship: All 4 Rounds in addition to specific Par 3 hole coverage

CWS

– Up to 37 games of the NCAA Baseball Championship including all games from the College World Series in Omaha.

• MLB

– 76 total games (Monday/Wednesday/Sunday) in addition to the Home Run Derby, All-Star Celebrity Softball game, MLB Futures All-Star game & World Series Championship Parade

• NBA Playoffs

– Up to 27 NBA Playoff games including First Round & Conference Semifinal action as well as all games from the Conference Finals (each year rotates between Eastern & Western Conference Finals)

• Soccer

– Over 650 soccer games per year

– Coverage from major leagues/tournaments including the FIFA tournaments, US Soccer, Italian Serie A, Portuguese Liga, Italian Cup, German Bundesliga, Spanish La Liga, Dutch League, German Cup, MLS and NCAA

• College Basketball

– Over 1000 men’s and women’s basketball games per year including over 170 Championship Week games

– Approx 10-15 exclusive games per year

– Coverage of all major conferences

• College Football

– Over 350 games per year including over 20 Bowl games

– 40 exclusive games this season

– Coverage from all BCS conferences

Please note:

Offer available to broadband customers in Direct Communications’ phone exchange and cable franchise areas in Idaho only. Broadband Internet required. Listed speeds are approximate and may vary depending on line conditions. You will be  authorized to  receive “up to” listed download and upload speeds. You must have fiber-to-the-home to receive 20Mb speeds. If you are on copper, 12Mb is the current top speed.

Direct Communications can take any action to protect our network, our rights and interests. We reserve the right to cancel or change service plan offerings at anytime without notification to subscribers. HD video quality where available from media content provider and dependent on line conditions and speed.

ESPN3.com interface may differ from image shown. All online media content sold separately. See http://espn.go.com/espn3/index# for for details about ESPN3.com service and Terms of Use. Broadband internet required. Directcom is not responsible for support or troubleshooting of ESPN3.com.  All warranties and technical support are through ESPN. May require extra hardware to install. You will need an Xbox LIVE Gold Subscription to access ESPN3 through Xbox live.

Sale of Wireless Internet Assets to Digis

Ten years ago, Direct Communications became one of the first companies in southeast Idaho to offer wireless internet. Since then, both our business and the broadband industry as a whole have changed dramatically.  We have decided that in order to move our business forward more effectively, we will be selling our wireless internet assets in Idaho to our friends at Digis, who specialize purely in wireless internet, so that we can focus on our core business of growing our fiber optic network in Idaho and developing our wired internet products, including our cable and DSL technologies. Basically, we want to focus on the things that we do best, and on the products where we have a real competitive advantage.

Please note that this sale does not include any cable, DSL, fiber, mobile wireless (cell phone), or Syringa Wireless assets, or our wireless customers on Digital Bridge (DBC) networks. So, to most of our customers, while this sale will not affect your wired internet service, we wanted to explain why this is good for your future with Direct Communications.

Some of our customers have expressed concerns such as: Why are you selling the wireless business? What is the future of Direct Communications?

Jeremy Smith, General Manger of Direct Communications in Idaho, sent out the following memo regarding these concerns:

“I wanted to let everyone know about the sale of our fixed wireless assets (not cell phone).  A few months back, we were approached by a company (Digis) to buy our wireless customers.  We did not go out and look for a buyer.  We did evaluate their offer and believe it to be best to sell this particular asset.  The proceeds of the sale will go toward growing the company’s other networks.

It always makes employees and customers nervous when things happen such as this.  So, I believe it important to explain things to all of you. I just want to emphasize, the sale was not essential from a financial point of view, but we figured it to be the best thing at this time as we look towards the future direction of the broadband industry.

In the future, people will probably have two internet connections:
1. a capped mobile data solution, and
2. an uncapped and reliable fixed service for streaming data, video, and future services.  We will be the solution for a fixed home and business internet service.  We should be able to accomplish this with our cable, fiber, and DSL networks. Though fixed wireless is considered a broadband service, I believe the bandwidth to be too limited for the amount of bandwidth needed in the short future (both in quantity and quality).

We have some exciting, positive times ahead.  Let’s make our wired networks the best in Idaho!”

Please understand, we are doing this to strengthen our business, and move in the direction we see the future of broadband service going. Fiber Optics is the future of the internet, the future of our company, and the future of rural broadband. Someday, we will have fiber optic cable to every home in our phone exchange areas, and hopefully to as many homes as possible in our cable areas.

We have spent the past couple of years building fiber to the vital institutions that serve your rural areas, like city, county and government buildings, schools, hospitals, doctors offices, libraries, small and large businesses, and many homes. We have also been delivering fiber service to the cell phone towers in the area, and even to most of our competitors in the area. Without an extensive fiber optic network, our rural economy in Idaho would not be able to function in this information age, so we are making a huge bet on fiber for all of us.

What will we do with the proceeds of this sale?

We will invest the proceeds back into the communities we serve—into building our fiber network in rural Idaho, and also delivering faster speeds on our other wired internet products, like cable and DSL.

Witness the drama unfold each week as the Nation’s top teams and biggest rivals battle on ESPN3. WatchESPN. College Football on ESPN. All Season Long.

Witness the drama unfold each week as the Nation’s top teams and biggest rivals battle on ESPN3 and WatchESPN. College Football on ESPN. All Season Long.

One immediate benefit cable and DSL customers will see is we will soon be offering ESPN3, a fantastic new high-definition sports channel available only online, to our broadband customers for FREE. Did you know ESPN3 will present 70 exclusive online College Football games this season, in addition to the hundreds they simulcast both online and on cable. This October alone, over 123 college football games will air on ESPN3.com. Enhanced viewing options makes ESPN3.com the best way to tune in. Watch up to 4 of your favorite games at once. If you are a sports fan, you will love this fantastic resource we will soon provide free to our customers. http://espn.go.com/watchespn/index/_/source/espn3/
We will try encourage our customers to use the internet more for your video entertainment needs, a technology that is really taking off right now as more people subscribe to online services like Netflix and Hulu. You will begin to see new branding based around the tagline we already use in our Utah exchange ,where most of our customers already have fiber to the home: Faster. Streaming. Broadband.

As a marketing person, I am pleased that our company will be more focused on a single product line. A smart marketer once said: “Do one thing great. Eliminate the irrelevant.” Until fairly recently, we were providing various services including WiMax, Wireless, Cable etc, to over 90 towns in southeast Idaho, and each town’s offering was slightly different. That was a lot for our sales, customer service and technicians to keep up to date with. We were competing with ourselves in many places, covering the same areas with both wireless and wired service. That will now be a thing of the past. We will leave wireless to the people who make that their sole business, and focus ourselves completely on investing in, and improving, our wired networks, where we have a real competitive advantage. This should improve customer service, product design, and the speed at which we respond to new developments in broadband technology, including keeping up with bandwidth needs.

Please call us at 208 548 2345 if you have any concerns about this sale. I am confident that you will be very happy with results of the new direction we are taking as your local broadband service provider, and for those customers who will be transferred to Digis, we are also confident you will be happy with your continued wireless service—they are experts in the wireless field.

Opening Ceremony & Ribbon Cutting for New Direct Communications Building in Eagle Mountain

 

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After months of hard work, Direct Communications was able to open the doors to their new building on Campus Drive in Eagle Mountain in February, 2011.  Our grand opening was held in June, along with the ribbon cutting of the Eagle Mountain City business incubator program.

In attendance were board members of the Lehi Chamber of Commerce, Eagle Mountain City Economic Development officials, the Mayor and the new business incubator tenants who will be starting up businesses as part of the partner program between the City and Directcom to encourage the growth of local businesses in Eagle Mountain

The building has 8 “pods”, or office spaces, approximately 2500 square feet each.  Direct Communications houses four of the pods, Beyond Limits Physical Therapy occupies one pod, and the Eagle Mountain City incubator program has the remaining three pods.  After working in two separate areas for several years, Direct Communications was excited to have all of their employees at the same location.

The private-public partnership between Direct Communications and Eagle Mountain City to create the incubator program is unlike any other project in the nation.  Mayor Heather Jackson called it “complete and utter innovation.  We have figured out our destiny, and we are opening our arms and inviting everyone here.”  The program allows participants to lease office space for three years, at no cost during the first year.  Business are given phone service and free internet services from Direct Communcations , along with a reception area, conference room, copy and fax equipment, av equipment, a break room, and janitorial services.  “We help startups with the hopes that they will move into our City,” said Ifo Pili, Eagle Mountain City Economic Development Director.

Direct Communications is proud of the hard work and dedication they give to their customers.  As Diane Bradshaw, Administrator for Direct Communications said, “having a new, professional building gives us the opportunity to show the customer we are dedicated to Eagle Mountain and are invested in our community.  Customers love coming in to pay their bill and check out our new facility and our employees love coming to work everyday to our beautiful offices.  Direct Communications is here to stay!”

Directcom’s Brenda Caldwell named Utah Valley’s Raddest Receptionist

Utah Valley BusinessQ Magazine. Fall 2011 - pg 34 -http://www.utahvalleybusinessq.com/fall2011/34.html

Congratulations to Direct Communications Cedar Valley’s own Brenda Caldwell on being named Utah Valley’s Raddest Receptionist by Utah Valley BusinessQ Magazine.

Brenda has been with the company for 4 years, and probably has never had a bad day at the office in all that time–at least from a customer perspective. If you have had any dealings with Brenda as a customer of Direct Communications, you know she is a deserving recipient of this award.

Diane Bradshaw, office manager of Direct Communications in Eagle Mountain stated in the article:

“Brenda is always, always, always pleasant to each and every customer that calls or comes into our office. She has a smile in her voice when she answers the phone and treats each customer with respect and kindness, no matter what the situation.”

To view the article online, visit http://www.utahvalleybusinessq.com/fall2011/34.html

The following is an except from the article:

Q: How do you greet callers?

A: “Direct Communications, this is Brenda.”

Q: What qualities make a receptionist successful?

A: You need to be patient, kind, reliable, personable and able to multitask.

Q: What do you wish people knew about receptionists?

A: I wish they knew being a receptionist is one of the best jobs. Interacting with customers and other companies and coworkers is so much fun.

Q: What’s on your desk?

A: My phone, a tape dispenser, stapler, post-it notes and stacking trays with my paperwork in them.

Q: What does it mean to you to be “the face” of the company?

A: Being “the face” of the company means I have the most interaction with the customers. They see and talk to me more than anyone in the company, so it is very important to be professional but friendly.

Q: What music plays when you put someone on hold?

A: Soft music and ads about our company.

Q: What’s your strategy in dealing with upset callers?

A: Being a good listener, having empathy and not taking things personally.

Q: Most memorable client interaction?

A: A customer came in every month to pay her bill. We would talk, and she invited me to go to California with her and her family since I had never been.

Q: Funniest client interaction?

A: When I was working a part-time job at the local gas station as well as here at Direct Communications, one of our customers came in and asked me if I had a sister who worked at the gas station. I told her I worked at both places, and she asked if I was sure because I looked a lot younger than the girl who works at the gas station.

Q: Favorite fictional portrayal of a receptionist?

A: Ryan Reynolds as Sandra Bullock’s assistant in “The Proposal.”

http://www.utahvalleybusinessq.com

Utah Valley Magazine is a trademark of Bennett Communications, Inc. 

“Bennett Communications, the parent company of Utah Valley Magazine, is now in its 11th year of publishing. The company publishes four original titles and partners with local organizations on a variety of other projects.

In Utah, Bennett Communications publishes three original titles: Utah Valley Magazine, Utah Valley Business Quarterly, Utah Valley Bride and MainStreet Magazine. Utah Valley Magazine is published six times a year, UVBQ comes out quarterly and Utah Valley Bride is an annual publication that starts distribution in November” – http://utahvalleybusinessq.com/about/

Winners of Directcom Monthly Facebook Fan Contest

Chris Gibbons of Eagle Mountain receives his Apple TV from Brenda Swift of Direct Communications .

Chris Gibbons  became the first lucky winner of Direct Communications monthly facebook fan contest in Eagle Mountain. The prize for February was a new Apple TV media player.

On hearing about his prize, Chris simply stated on our facebook page: “Sweet, thank you!”

To win the prize for February, facebook fans of Direct Communications had to answer the question: “What was the price Direct Communications paid the City to purchase Eagle Mountain Telecom back in 2006?” (Official answer- $6.3 million) The first customer to reply to the post with the correct answer in the comment field was chosen as the winner.

The goal with these monthly giveaways is to encourage participation on our facebook page, and also try motivate more customers to sign up as facebook fans. Each month during 2011, we will be awarding a prize to a customer on facebook, both in Idaho and Utah. We now have separate facebook pages for Idaho and Utah customers so that we can be more relevant with our updates and responses.

Kathy Barkdull of Idaho--winner of our Idaho February facebook contest, with her new ROKU streaming media player. She will be watching online video in style.

As marketing director of Direct Communications, I am excited about these new social media tools like facebook, which are a very useful way to communicate with our customers. Not only is it instantaneous, but also interactive, which is really a revolution for mass communications. I also like the fact that customers opt into this communication–they are pulling a feed from us because they want to keep up to date with their service, instead of us just pushing out information into cyberspace blindly. We clearly need and want more customers as facebook fans.

Our February facebook fan contest for our Idaho customers asked them to reply to this post: “Comment on this post with your customer testimonial: “Why I choose Direct Communications.” Our marketing committee chose a winner at the end of the month, which was  Kathy Barkdull,  for her testimonial: “We started with Direct Communications because no one else would bring a phone line to our remote area. But we stay with Direct because of the great service and the opportunity to have state of the art technology and have the ability to live in the country 20 miles from the nearest town.”

Our Eagle Mountain customers are extremely active, involved customers. They like to be part of the service process and want to know what their ISP is doing. One new use for facebook has been the ability to notify customers of internet outages, and the progress of fixes in real time, even while the customers’ home internet service was down. Most of our customers already have smart phones, often with a facebook app installed, and many have used that mobile connection to voice their opinions and suggestions during outages. This interactive process has resulted in some improvements in how we notify customers. For example, several customers on facebook asked for a more effective notification of scheduled nighttime maintenance outages, because they were working nightshift remotely using their internet. As a result of this feedback, we started a scheduled outages mailing list that people who needed to know could subscribe to.

Social media is simply proving a long-standing concept of marketing, that the more touch points and open lines of communication you have with your customers, the better off your operation will be in the long run.

This Apple TV giveaway was the first time the company had attempted to use facebook to host a contest of this sort, and was a learning experience. As soon as the question was posted, about 14 responses came in within the first 20 seconds. Identifying a winner was tricky, because with each refresh, a different person was shown as being the first to respond. Once a minute had passed, facebook again reordered those responses. A few customers suggested that because they were on different facebook servers, the time wasn’t synched and different people we shown as being first depending on which server they were on a the time. In the end, I chose a winner based on the response that I saw first, and not whom facebook put at the top after a minute had passed, and all the responses were listed as being posted “1 minute ago.” We also decided to award consolation prizes to two other winners, Mike Jeide and Daniel Strong, who both had legitimate and popular claims to being first, especially since they were showing up at the top. We offered them both 6-month Netflix gift subscriptions. Daniel suggested: “I think this is a fun idea to have giveaways like this and there are always going to be issues with the first time of anything. Maybe next time around wait like 10 – 20 minutes and then give it to the first correct answer. But until next time, congrats Chris.”

Jackie Candland suggested: “Maybe in the future…do a drawing from the first 10 answers.”

So, if anyone else is looking to do a quick-response contest on facebook—consider these factors and suggestions—it’s not an exact science, and we probably won’t try a quick-draw contest again.

We currently have a little over 600 facebook fans on our corporate fan pages. Considering how connected and tech savvy our customers in that market are, we would like to have a lot more, because most of our customers probably have active facebook accounts. Like us on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/directcom.eaglemtn for your chance to win next month. Only current customers are eligible to win, and only customers who are facebook fans of directcom will be able to post comments, so join our community.

Congratulations to Todd Ferreira, the winner of March's Roku.

In March in Eagle Mountain, we held a customer testimonial contest. This was a chance to gather some good comments we could use for marketing purposes, as well as keep the judging purely subjective, after the difficulties in February with the quick-post contest. We received about 20 great testimonials, with praise for our service like:

Samuel Schwendiman:

  •  I chose and keep choosing Direct Communications because of their seamless stream ability. We are always streaming Netflix or Hulu and have never had a problem with bandwidth or buffering. Sometimes my girl is watching something on my iPod Touch and my wife is watching something different on the laptop and it works great. We’ve never had any problems.
    Carol Murray Cahoon:
  •  I use Direct Communications because the sound is crystal clear through the phone. I never have to worry about losing internet or phone service even when the wind blows so strong here. My family loves playing online games and streaming video through our xbox. I couldn’t ask for a better service than Direct Communications.

  • Todd Ferreira:
    I chose Direct Communications because after 6 months of dealing with [wireless ISP] and their dropped calls, dropped Internet, phone calls cutting out, and terrible technical support, I was fed up. Since switching from [wireless ISP] to Direct Communications the phone calls are crystal clear, the Internet is lightning fast ( even at 3mbs) and the support group at Direct Communications is GREAT! Thanks for the service.

Again, this was a difficult month to choose a winner, so we turned it over to a marketing committee for a vote, and they choose Todd Ferreira as the winner of March’s Roku for his comment.

Sandra Allen-early morning sunrise over Bear Lake, from my front yard.

In April we asked customers to submit original  photos of the local scenery or community for our annual phone directory publication, but didn’t receive any submissions from Eagle Mountain customers that met with the qualifications needed for print purposes. However, on our Idaho fan page, we carried the competition over two months–April and May, and received several good pictures from residents in our phone exchanges. We chose Sandra Allen as the winner of our Idaho May facebook customer contest, for her original photo submissions of scenes around Bear Lake.

In May in Eagle Mountain, our contest was a push to get customers to refer their friends to our page. We posted the following on our page: May 2011 Facebook contest: Refer your friends in Eagle Mountain to our fan page. Post a comment on our wall saying: “My friends list yourselves here.” Tell each of your referrals to comment once on your original post by saying “I live in Eagle Mountain and I love Direct Communications”. Person with the most new friends (comments) listed under your post wins a Wii.”

Congratulations to April Butterfield Simister--the winner of our May Facebook fan contest. Ben Hayes presents April with her Wii for referring the most friends to our Facebook page.

The winner, April Simister,  referred 44 friends, the runner up, 34 friends. That month we added nearly 100 new fans to our page, which was our most successful monthly contest to date.

Direct Communications awarded 2010 Best Business of the Year

Direct Communications was awarded the 2010 Best Business of the Year by the Lehi Area Chamber of Commerce.

The Lehi Area Chamber of Commerce awarded top businesses in the community at the annual awards luncheon on January 11, 2011.

Best Business of the Year 2010 went to Direct Communications, a phone and internet provider in Eagle Mountain.  Diane Bradshaw, office manager for Direct Communications in Eagle Mountain, accepted the award for the company and shared some of the projects that the company has spearheaded in 2010 with local schools and organizations. Direct Communications has partnered with Eagle Mountain City, Lehi Area Chamber and the Eagle Mountain City Board for Economic Development to start a business incubator program that will launch in next few months.

Leonard May, President, Diane Bradshaw, office manager, and Brigham Griffin, Marketing Director with 2010 Business of Year Award.

Kip Wilson, general manager for Direct Communications, stated: “We appreciate the work of the Chamber, and really commend Diane for her efforts in the community. We will continue to do whatever we can do to encourage the growth of local business in and around Eagle Mountain because we want a strong local economy that creates more opportunities for all of us.”

Brigham Griffin, marketing director said: “I think it’s significant that a business from Eagle Mountain was recognized this year, and everybody in Eagle Mountain should feel proud about this award. What this means is that local business in Eagle Mountain has come of age, residents of Eagle Mountain are supporting local businesses, and we had a great year of growth in 2010 because our customers were turning to their local broadband provider for their needs. So, thank-you to all our customers in Eagle Mountain for your support, and we will strive to live up to this award.”

Diane Bradshaw, office manager for Direct Communications in Eagle Mountain, accepted the award for the company.

The Lehi Area Chamber of Commerce serves Lehi, Eagle Mountain, Saratoga Springs and the surrounding communities.

Read news coverage of the event:

http://m.heraldextra.com/mobile/business/article_3ac19d6d-d68f-5bc0-9c15-a1afcca43de4.html

http://www.lehiareachamber.org/articles.php?id=75

For more Information contact.

Eagle Mountain Economic Development Director Ifo Pili, Diane Bradshaw of Direct Communications, Eagle Mountain Mayor Heather Jackson

Donna Milakovic

Lehi Area Chamber of Commerce

PO Box 154

Lehi UT 84043

801-836-0836

[email protected]

www.lehiareachamber.org

Direct Communications Is New 2011 Allinger Community Theatre Sponsor

12/22/10 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

 The National Oregon/California Trail Center recently announced the addition of Direct Communications as a new 2011 season sponsor of events at the Allinger Community Theatre.

Oregon Trail Center in Montpelier Idaho

Oregon Trail Center in Montpelier Idaho

Direct Communications, a family‐owned broadband company headquartered in Rockland, Idaho serves the Bear Lake valley with High Speed Internet, mobile phone, cable television and other traditional telephone services. Direct Communications has been focused over the past few years on upgrading the local communications network to fiber optic cable, and residents around Bear Lake Valley can now receive broadband speeds up to 20Mb.  More information about Direct Communications can be found at http://www.directcom.com/

Direct Communications currently hosts the Oregon Trail Center website at http://www.oregontrailcenter.org  as well as provides the Center’s e‐mail and Internet services.  In the near future, the Oregon Trail Center will work with Direct Communications in broadbanding the Center and also work toward being a Wi‐Fi hot spot for the community and tourists.

Returning as 2011 theatre season corporate partners are Bear Lake Memorial Hospital, Rocky Mountain Power, Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau, Clover Creek Inn and Zions Bank.  Theatre events for 2011 are currently being planned.  

The kick‐off concert will be “North to Alaska” featuring Thayne Andersen on Friday, January 14th.  Andersen will perform a one man show with a mix of music, poetry and jokes.  He currently resides in Lava Hot Springs after living for 26 years in Alaska and has performed for U.S. troops overseas.

“Sasquatch – Legend Meets Science” with Dr. Jeffrey Meldrum, Ph.D. of Idaho State University will be presented on Friday, February 11th.  Meldrum is nationally recognized as one of the foremost experts on Bigfoot.  His book of the same name and the related Discovery Channel special are both extremely popular due to Meldrum’s scientific approach to the subject. 

Oregon Trail Center

Oregon Trail Center

Patrons can purchase these tickets on‐line now at www.oregontrailcenter.org, in person at the Oregon Trail Center, or by calling the Center’s box office at (208) 847‐3800. 

For more information, please contact:  Executive Director Becky Smith @ (208) 847‐3800

320 North 4th Street, P.O. Box 323, Montpelier, ID  83254

Ranches Academy Purchases New Playground Equipment with Donation from Direct Communications.

Eagle Mountain, Utah (December 03, 2010)

Direct Communications, Eagle Mountain’s local internet service provider, donated a generous amount to each of the local schools in Eagle Mountain this fall, to show their commitment to education in Eagle Mountain. The Ranches Acdemy, which is a free public charter school located in The Ranches community of Eagle Mountain, Utah, decided to use their donation to purchase new playground equipment for their students.

Thank-you notes from students at the Ranches Academy to Direct Communications

 Eagle Valley Elementary, Hidden Hollow Elementary, Pony Express Elementary, Ranches Academy, Vista Heights, Rockwell Charter High School and Westlake High School each received an undisclosed amount from Direct Communications during the month of September 2010.

Donation to Ranches academy in Ealge Mountain Donation to Ranches academy in Ealge Mountain

Kip Wilson, general manager for Direct Communications, said: “We are absolutely committed to improving life in Eagle Mountain and that means supporting the local institutions that are going to help develop the community. People care about education here, so donating to the schools will hopefully demonstrate our dedication to the top community priorities, including youth development and the success of Eagle Mountain.

A significant portion of the donation to the High School will be channeled to Westlake football. Jason Walker, Head Football Coach for Westlake High School stated: “This donation from Direct Communications is a huge help to our athletics program here at Westlake High School.  It will help to ensure that we have safe, quality equipment for our student-athletes, to help them practice and compete at the highest level possible.  We also use a portion of the donation to pay for after-school tutors to help our student-athletes succeed in the classroom, as well as on the field.  We could not provide such a positive experience for our student-athletes without the help of generous donors like Direct Communications.

Diane Bradshaw, Direct Communications office manager for Eagle Mountain presents donation to Michael O'Connor, Athletic Director of Westlake High School. Diane Bradshaw, Direct Communications office manager for Eagle Mountain presents donation to Michael O’Connor, Athletic Director of Westlake High School.

Further, as part of their donation, a portion of the funds will be set aside to help fund an Athletics Department Scholarship to help students who might not otherwise be able to attend college.  Direct Communications donation is the catalyst of what we hope to be a tremendous help to students now and in the future.”

Direct Communications has a long history of partnering with local school districts, especially in remote rural areas. In many rural towns in Idaho, Direct Communications was instrumental in bringing the first high-speed internet access to rural school districts. Brigham Griffin, Marketing Director for Direct Communications, explained: “Education and high-speed internet go hand-in-hand. So, as a broadband provider, supporting education is a good fit for us. Studies show that students without internet access at home are falling behind the curve today. Not only is the education market thirsty for better broadband access to improve educational opportunities for their students, but we also find that the more educated people are, the more likely they are to subscribe to our higher speed internet services. We want our schools to be strong, because that makes our communities strong and keeps our company healthy.”

Principal Keith Conley of Eagle Valley Elementary School said: “Thank you for this wonderful donation. This kind of support is so greatly appreciated. When businesses and good people donate to our school, we are able to do things for our students and staff that otherwise could not happen. We will use this donation to help fund our after-school programs. At Eagle Valley Elementary, we sponsor several after school programs to provide a wide array of activities. Among these programs, we offer Knowledge Bowl, Geography Bee, Japanese & Spanish Language Culture, Choir/Drama, Reading Remediation, Math Meet, Student Council and Family Night. Teachers advise these activities and parents volunteer as well. We provide very modest stipends and help to purchase items for the students.

This marvelous donation will go a long way in helping us to continue our tradition of providing meaningful and fun activities for our students and community. Our students, staff and community express gratitude to Direct Communications and Diane Bradshaw, for helping the Eagles at Eagle Valley Elementary School.”

Diane Bradshaw of Direct Communications presents a donation to Eagle Valley Elementary in Eagle Mountain, Utah. Diane Bradshaw of Direct Communications presents a donation to Eagle Valley Elementary in Eagle Mountain, Utah.

Diane Bradshaw, local Direct Communications office manager for Eagle Mountain, is also involved in the Utah Scholars Program, and regularly gives presentations throughout the Alpine School District.  “As a parent I wanted to find a way to help support our local schools, as well as improve our business profile. People need to know that we are heavily invested in Eagle Mountain—we are invested in the children and invested in the community. One way we can give back meaningfully is to get involved in the schools.”

Bradshaw can be found each quarter at Westlake High School, giving away prizes to recognize students for academic achievement.

It is hard to miss the signs of Direct Communications involvement around the sports fields at Westlake High School, especially the 40-foot banner facing the football field, touting the relationship between the Thunder and the local broadband company. For example, at the homecoming football game, Direct Communications will be giving away prizes to the crowd, including an Xbox. Walker said again: “Our sincerest thanks to Direct Communications for their generosity and investment in our students.  We appreciate their support and look forward to working with them in the future.”

For more information contact Direct Communications at 801 789 2800 or visit www.directcom.com/eaglemtn

Directcom donated to Rockwell Charter High Directcom donates to Rockwell Charter High in Eagle Mountain. Donation to Hidden Hollow Elementary

ESPN3.com Now Available to Direct Communications’ Broadband Customers in Eagle Mountain.

ESPN3.com. Your Favorite Sports. Live. Online.

 Direct Communications is pleased to announce that our customers in Eagle Mountain now have access to ESPN3.com.

ESPN3.com Means More College Basketball

Direct Communications is the only Internet Provider in Eagle Mountain that gives you access to this fantastic online sports network. Plus, if you are a Direct Communications Broadband customer, ESPN3.com is now available on Xbox LIVE!

ESPN3.com is a broadband network for live sports programming that harnesses the quality that ESPN has built through its TV networks. ESPN3.com delivers more than 3,500 live online events a year from your favorite sports through a rich, interactive, and easy-to-use experience. Features of the website include the ability to watch multiple games simultaneously, real-time stats and scoreboards, live chat for interacting with friends and other fans, and much more!

Direct Communications is the fastest, most reliable, high-speed internet connection in Eagle Mountain. Our fiber optic network allows you to enjoy speeds up to 20Mb, so you can watch streaming video the way it was meant to be viewed. No throttling and no monthly usage caps means you can enjoy unlimited, high-quality, online viewing.

To watch ESPN3 go to our homepage at http://www.directcom.com/eaglemtn/ and click on the ESPN3 logo.

New features and functionality updates at launch:

New Viewing Modes – Multiple options to watch live events, including picture-in-picture and split screens;

New Scoreboard Module – Up-to-the-minute scores from hundreds of sports leagues from around the world;

Stats – In-depth event stats that allow fans to track the event they’re watching;

Chat – Interact with other fans watching the game;

Enhanced Schedule – Users will be able to find a specific event via improved navigation;

Social Networking Tools –Update your Facebook and Twitter status.

A Key Plays feature where users will be able to jump to key scoring plays and pivotal moments at any time during the game.

Network Description:
Watch more than 3,500 live sports events a year including college basketball, college football, MLB, NBA, PGA and tennis championships

  • Customize your viewing experience with a selection of features
  • Select from a menu of live or recently completed games and events
  • Watch up to 4 LIVE games all at the same time with a variety of viewing modes
  • Ability to CHAT LIVE with your friend in the Chat room
  • Live scores and an analysis
  • With your High Speed Internet connection, log onto ESPN3.com away from home with Remote Access

ESPN3.com Programming:

• Tennis

                – Coverage of all 4 Grand Slam events (Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, US Open)

                – Over 1600 live hours of Grand Slam tennis including simultaneous streams of outer-court coverage

 Golf

                – The Masters: First and Second Round coverage in addition to the Par 3 Contest

                – US Open: First and Second Rounds in addition to specific Par 3 hole coverage

                – Open Championship: All 4 Rounds in addition to specific Par 3 hole coverage

 CWS

                – Up to 37 games of the NCAA Baseball Championship including all games from the College World Series in Omaha.

• MLB

                – 76 total games (Monday/Wednesday/Sunday) in addition to the Home Run Derby, All-Star Celebrity Softball game, MLB Futures All-Star game & World Series Championship Parade

• NBA Playoffs

                – Up to 27 NBA Playoff games including First Round & Conference Semifinal action as well as all games from the Conference Finals (each year rotates between Eastern & Western Conference Finals)

• Soccer

                – Over 650 soccer games per year

                – Coverage from major leagues/tournaments including the FIFA tournaments, US Soccer, Italian Serie A, Portuguese Liga, Italian Cup, German Bundesliga, Spanish La Liga, Dutch League, German Cup, MLS and NCAA

• College Basketball

                – Over 1000 men’s and women’s basketball games per year including over 170 Championship Week games

                – Approx 10-15 exclusive games per year

                – Coverage of all major conferences

• College Football

                – Over 350 games per year including over 20 Bowl games

                – 40 exclusive games this season

                – Coverage from all BCS conferences

Please note:

Offer available to broadband customers in Direct Communications’ phone exchange in Eagle Mountain only. Broadband Installation is free with a 1-year commitment. Listed speeds are approximate and may vary depending on line conditions. You will be  authorized to  receive “up to” listed download and upload speeds. You must have fiber-to-the-home to receive 20Mb speeds. If you are on copper, 12Mb is the current top speed. Read the full DSL terms of use online at http://www.emcity.net

Direct Communications can take any action to protect our network, our rights and interests. We reserve the right to cancel or change service plan offerings at anytime without notification to subscribers. HD video quality where available from media content provider and dependent on line conditions and speed.

ESPN3.com interface may differ from image shown. All online media content sold separately. See http://espn.go.com/espn3/index# for for details about ESPN3.com service and Terms of Use. Broadband internet required. Directcom is not responsible for support or troubleshooting of ESPN3.com.  All warranties and technical support are through ESPN. May require extra hardware to install. You will need an Xbox LIVE Gold Subscription to access ESPN3 through Xbox live.

Direct Communications Makes a Move

DirectCom's new pocatello office reception area

During this rough economic time when most companies are looking to downsize, Direct Communications found it the perfect time to expand into a larger facility.  On October 31st Direct Communications moved from 485 W Chubbuck Rd, Suite B to 345 W Yellowstone Ave, Suite B in Pocatello, Idaho.   While Direct Communications was a proud resident in Chubbuck, the increase in staff and cramped work space made it apparent that a larger location was forth coming.   When we entered the office doors on Yellowstone, we knew we had found our perfect fit to make it our new home.  With a little muscle, paint, and new furniture, Direct Communications’ move was done in a flash.  As you enter our Pocatello office you are greeted by a friendly member of our sales staff.  There is a soft, leather couch to relax as you ponder the possibility of purchasing cellular phone service,  or enjoy watching the flat screen TV as it navigates through some free on line tools to enhance your web browsing  experience. 

Office on Yellowstone and Maple in Pocatello

DirectCom Office on Yellowstone and Maple in Pocatello

Direct Communications’ cozy, relaxed atmosphere is a reflection of their home town values and their commitment to bring the latest broadband technology to southeast Idaho.  Direct Communication will like to proudly invite everyone to visit us at our new home located at 345 W Yellowstone Ave, Suite B, Pocatello, ID 83201.  Our office hours are Monday through Friday 8am through 6pm.

Direct Communications donates $1000.00 to Pocatello/Chubbuck School District 25.

On October 25, 2010, Direct Communications donated $1000.00 to School District 25.  This was in conjunction with a June 25, 2010, Direct Communications fundraiser for local education.  The goal was to show appreciation to the teachers in District 25.  Costa Vida donated the food for the event, and several local businesses donated raffle items to raise money for the school district.  Direct Communications introduced Amped Up Wireless in the area, and pledged to donate $100.00 for each new install of the product during the launch. 

Anya Beauchat, Sales Office Adminsitrator for Direct Communications in Pocatello, presents donation check to School District 25.

Anya Beauchat, Sales Office Adminsitrator for Direct Communications in Pocatello, presents donation check to School District 25.

This story was covered by KPVI News 6, who aired a segment on the 6pm news about the donation. To see the video, visit:

http://www.kpvi.com/story.php?id=30362&n=15206

                With the combined efforts of all involved, we were able to raise $1000.00 to donate to School District 25.  Anya Beauchat, Sales Office Manager of Direct Communications, said “We are proud to be donating to a school district, where not only some of the employee’s children attend, but also to a district where teachers and staff consistently go above and beyond.”  She adds, “Through this donation, Direction Communications would like to both thank, and honor, School District 25 for providing our children with the skills and tools they will need to ensure the future growth of Pocatello.”

                When contacted for comment, Shelley Allen the District’s Education Foundation Director said, “We are fortunate to live in a community that values education and partners with education. It was wonderful of Direct Communications to think of the Pocatello/Chubbuck School District’s students, for giving, when planning their celebration.”  She added, “This donation benefits our kids, and is greatly appreciated.”

                Direct Communications presented a check on October 25, 2010 at 9:00 a.m during the school district Cabinet Meeting at 3115 Pole Line Road, in Pocatello.

Direct Communications Supports Eagle Mountain’s FC Blaze

Direct Communications provided a donation this month to the FC Blaze, Eagle Mountain’s local competitive soccer team, as part of their commitment to giving back to the local community and supporting growth opportunities for youth in Eagle Mountain.

fc blaze logo

fc blaze

Branden Reall, President of FC Blaze, said:

“On behalf of the FC Blaze Competitive Soccer Club in Eagle Mountain I would like to thank Direct Communications for your very generous sponsorship. Your commitment to helping the FC Blaze in our community is sincerely appreciated.

Each year the FC Blaze continues to grow. Through the program, we have seen more young players grow and we have enjoyed good success in the past year.  The goal of the FC Blaze is to continue to make a difference in the community and lives of its players. With the help of donations from supporters such as you we will continue to see improvements.  We will continue to update you as our season progresses.

Thanks again for your generous support.”

Kip Wilson, General Manager of Direct Communications has stated on several occasions that the company is absolutely committed to improving life in Eagle Mountain, and that means supporting the local institutions that are going to help develop the community.

The FC Blaze soccer club was established for the specific purpose of creating a local competitive soccer program whose goals are to instill good character, self esteem, good sportsmanship, and strong physical abilities.   Their intent is to complement the communities and surrounding schools by providing additional levels of competition. For more information on competition soccer, the club, and other information, please visit http://www.fcblaze.org/

FC Blaze from Eagle Mountain U12 Team

FC Blaze from Eagle Mountain U12 Competition Team

DirectCom Lays Fiber-to-the Home in Arbon Valley

Fiber lights

Fiber optic cable connects the world.

Why is fiber optic cable being run to your home in Arbon?
We have been using fiber optics for our backbone network for a number of years—we  were one of the first companies in Idaho to use a digital switch, and helped build the first state-wide all fiber-optic sonnet loop, which ties the entire state of Idaho together into a network that goes back to the national backbone. However, not many telephone companies provide fiber all the way to the home yet—we were the first telephone company in Utah County to do that, so we thought it was time to offer it to our exchange here in Arbon.

Is it an expensive venture? How much does it cost to install fiber optics? Time? Labor?
Today, the price of the fiber optic cable has come to down the point where the cable itself isn’t any more expensive than the traditional copper, and of course at the same time, copper is increasingly expensive, with no hope of ever going down again, the way the world economy is headed. The real expense with fiber is in the electronics. The entire phone switch and head end must be upgraded to support the new fiber network, and on the customer end, the box (we call it a ONT, or optical network terminal) that fits onto the outside of the home, is very  expensive, because it’s a far more sophisticated system than the old copper devices. The great thing about this new ONT though, is that it supports the new technology that people are using more and more in their home, like home networks. Anybody who builds a house now will want to install CAT-5 network cable to each room, so they can network all their computers together, distribute their internet connection to each room, and many security, intercom and advanced entertainment systems all need network cable thesedays. On our ONT, there is a place you can plug your main Ethernet, or CAT-5 cable, right into the fiber-optic network, so you don’t have to use the old phone line or phone jacks. It’s engineered for the future. There is a little more labor involved in actually burying the fiber than there is with copper, which is just ploughed in directly, because fiber-optics must be run in conduit, but the long term benefits are clear and the investment profitable. Also, from what we have seen so far, there is less maintenance required on a fiber network than copper, so over time it will save us money.
 
What are the advantages of fiber optics? What changes would an average citizen see in their lives because of its use?
The most important factor is bandwidth. The fiber line running to a home from the main cable contains usually about 12 strands of fiber, but those 12 strands could probably carry all the information in Idaho. So, the capacity is huge—we have the ability to provide up to 100MB per second to each home. Fiber optics are the future of communications, and copper will someday max out on the bandwidth people will require. In the future, your telephone company will also be your cable company, and all media will be delivered as internet data. The advantage of this of course is that the possibilities for different content and the boundaries for broadcasting will be unlimited. Every person could someday broadcast their own TV station of our their home—just call up Grandma and say—change the channel to IP address such-and-such, and watch your grandchild blow out her birthday candles.

Fiber optics carry an all-digital signal, and 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. There is no resistance in the fiber optic cable like metal lines have, so the signal can travel infinitely, because it’s light, not an electron flow, so we can now serve customers who live far away from the central phone office with products like DSL, which is vital in the 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. Ask all the farmers if they would like that. Having fiber to your home is a great modern feature that will increase the functionality and value of my home. Here in this little pocket in the hills, is a show-piece of the future.

How has communications in Arbon Valley changed over the last 100 years?
In our office in Rockland we still have the original little Rockland phone switch on display—the current president, Leonard May, used to sit at that switch as a child, which was housed in his family’s own home, and act as the operator, and manually change plugs around to switch the calls. An alarm would ring each time there was a call, and somebody in the family would have to wake up to connect the caller. He bought the company from his father in 1974, and from 300 local subscribers then, we now serve over 10,000 customers with a range of communications products from VOIP phones to DSL to cable TV.

 How many homes are hooked up to fiber optics in Idaho?
There aren’t any other phone companies in Idaho Falls, Blackfoot, Pocatello, or anywhere down to the Utah border, deploying fiber to the home yet. Direct Communications is leading the way, and we have hooked up several homes from Bear Lake to Rockland to fiber.

How is fiber optics installed?

Direct Communications: Idaho’s Own Modern Day Pioneer

Who is Direct Communications and what makes this company special? Direct Communications would proudly say that they are builders and pioneers.  While some might say that this is a big statement to come from a company that many in the larger metro areas of Idaho don’t know much about, ask most rural folks in southeast Idaho about Direct Communications, and they will likely tell you about their first experience with high-speed internet.

Direct Communications’ vision is to improve the communications infrastructure throughout Southeast Idaho by connecting rural towns and delivering improved services via their state-of -the-art fiber optic network. As this might seem like foreign language to some who may not have any knowledge of this technology; Direct Communications can best be described as an independent telecommunications leader that has been providing quality communications services since 1954, specializing in rural areas.  Presently, Direct Communications provides telephone, high-speed internet, and cable television service to customers across Idaho.   

Direct Communications is headquartered in Rockland, Idaho, a rural town 40 miles southwest of Pocatello. Direct Communications has been a family owned business since 1954. The Rockland office still has the original little Rockland phone switch on display.  The current president, Leonard May, used to sit at that switch as a child, acting as the operator, changing plugs to switch the calls.  The switch was in his family’s own home.  An alarm would ring each time there was a call, and somebody in the family would have to wake up to connect the caller. He bought the company from his father in 1974.  Starting out with 300 local phone subscribers, Direct Communications now serves over 10,000 customers with a range of communications products.

Direct Communications has a long list of new technologies that they have pioneered.  To name a few of their ventures, Direct Communications was the first to implement a digital switch in Idaho, the first to use fiber optic cable in telephone communications network in Southeast Idaho, the first to provide high-speed internet to rural southeast Idaho, the first IP (Internet Protocol) switch in Southeast Idaho, the first in Southeast Idaho to install fiber to the home, the first to offer DBS satellite in Southeast Idaho, and the first to offer satellite internet in Southeast Idaho.  To add to the list Direct Communications was also one of the first cellular offerings in Idaho and helped build the first and only state-wide fiber optic cable sonet network.  With a list that long, it is no wonder that they have been able to withstand the test of time. 

With all the “Big city Technology,” Direct Communications refuses to give up their small town values.  Direct Communications is a firm believer that communications services must enrich people’s lives and enhance their relationships.  Direct Communications takes pride in knowing that their employees work hard to make sure each customer knows that they are being taken care of.  Direct Communications believes that customers deserve the very best technology available, and knows there is viable business in the small rural areas often neglected by larger companies.  Most recently Direct Communications has expanded into the Declo, ID area providing a much needed reliable high-speed wireless internet option. 

Direct Communication’s latest endeavor is giving customers the availability to have fiber optic cable directly to their home.  Direct Communications was the first company to Southeast Idaho to provide this service. This results in being able to give customers not only faster connecting speeds, but also better quality internet.  Fiber optic cable transmits information using light signals through hair-sized strands of glass, and drastically enhances both its clarity and bandwidth for sending information.  The possibilities once you have fiber into your home are endless with all of the rapid advances in technology. 

The telephone industry as a whole has seen some changes, with more customers replacing their traditional land line phones with mobile/cell phones. However , being able to offer a wide variety of internet services, Direct Communications has been able to evolve with the changing times.  Direct Communication has seen the largest increase of sales with their wireless internet service.  The number of wireless internet customers grew by almost 81% in 2008.  Brandon Jolley, Installation Manager for Direct Communications, modestly attributes this success to his technicians.  Stating, “Without my technicians, it would make my job pretty difficult.”  Brandon also attributes the success to being able to use the latest technology to upgrade his wireless equipment.   In 2008, Direct Communications added five new wireless towers and upgraded eighteen wireless towers.  Brandon and his team’s endless hours of hard work have paid off and it shows by the increase of loyal customers.   Direct Communications services around 85 cities and towns in Idaho with a variety of communication products.

With all this talk about Direct Communications, one last question begs to be answered: Why should I support local businesses like Direct Communications?  Local ownership ensures that important decisions are made locally by people who live in the community and who feel the impacts of those decisions.  Thus each decision made has an impact that “hits home.”  Compared to chain stores, locally owned businesses recycle a much larger share of their revenue back into the local economy, enriching the whole community.  Locally owned businesses build strong communities by sustaining vibrant town centers, linking neighbors in a web of economic and social relationships, contributing to local causes. Some of the organizations and Community projects that Direct Communications has proudly contributed to in 2008 include the Friends of Scouting, 4-H Program (state-wide), Chesterfield Historical Society, Aberdeen Community Channel, ISU Rally Rags, Oregon Trail sponsor, Paris Community Center, Rockland 5th grade mentor program, Power County Junior Miss Pageant, Bear Lake Memorial Hospital foundation and the list continues from there.  (Complete listing of Community projects that Direct Communications was involved with can be found at www.directcom.com/goodworks.htm.)  If you look behind the scenes at any civic activity that contributes to the common well being of the community, you are likely to find a local business person, giving their time, and often their money, to the common good. The service provided by the voluntary efforts of people who care about our community could not be replaced by any amount of government assistance or tax money. Local business people are the unsung heroes of our community.

Direct Communications has found success in rural areas where larger out-of-state companies have failed because of their commitment to invest in the local communities they serve.  Employees for Direct Communications can have pride knowing that they are working for a company that looks out for their local communities.

To find out more information about Direct Communications or the services they provide in your area you may contact them at 800-825-7137 or check them out at www.directcom.com.

Direct Communications to donate $100 of each sale in July to School District #25.

Direct Communications to donate $100 of each sale to Pocatello/Chubbuck School District #25.

 Pocatello, Idaho (Tuesday, June 22, 2010) Direct Communications, a local internet service provider, will host a benefit event for School District #25 on Friday, June 25th, 2010, at the Direct Communications Chubbuck office located at 485 W. Chubbuck Rd. Suite B, and will donate $100 of each sale of its new Amped Up Wireless Broadband service during the month of July 2010, to School District #25.

In continuation of their loyalty to southeast Idaho communities, Direct Communications is excited to announce an event to benefit School District #25 scheduled for June 25th, 2010, 11 am-6 pm.  This event will include live entertainment with local bands, games, cotton candy, prizes and more for children in the area as well as free food donated by Costa Vida. Free massages will be provided by Sunsations Spa. Many prizes will be given out at the event, including a free Xbox 360.  Parents can receive information from Direct Communications knowledgeable staff regarding free services available through the internet, as well as the new Amped Up internet product available from Direct Communications. 

Direct Communications will begin the event with a ribbon cutting in conjunction with the Pocatello Chamber of Commerce for the new Direct Communications Chubbuck office located at 485 W. Chubbuck Rd. Suite B, and the festivities will commence directly following.  In support of our schools and children, a donation jar will be available and Direct Communications will commit to donating $100 of each sale that day and through the month of July to School District #25.

The general public is invited to attend this event that is set to be both beneficial, informative, and fun for children and adults.

Jeremy Smith, general manager for Direct Communications, said: “When we were looking for ways to get involved in the community, we examined what issues were important right now to families in the Pocatello area, and of course the number one issue everybody was talking about was funding for local schools. We thought this would be a good way to show our support for the community and the issues they care about, and hopefully make a positive lasting impression.”

Shelly Allen, community relations specialist for the Pocatello/Chubbuck School District #25, said: “It’s partnerships like this with local businesses that will help us provide a quality education to students in our area. Any proceeds from this event will go directly to the Education Foundation and will benefit both students and their teachers.”

Direct Communications has a long history of partnering with local school districts, especially in remote rural areas. In many rural towns in Idaho, in places like Aberdeen, Montpelier, Paris, Grace, Thatcher, and many others, Direct Communications was instrumental in bringing the first high-speed internet access to rural school districts. Brigham Griffin, Marketing Director for Direct Communications, explained: “Education and high-speed internet go hand-in-hand. Not only is the education market thirsty for better broadband access to improve educational opportunities for their students, but we find that the more educated people are, the more likely they are to subscribe to higher speed internet services. We want our schools to be strong, because that makes our communities strong and keeps our company healthy.”

Shelly Allen added: “We really appreciate Direct Communications thinking of us and involving us in their planning for this product launch and open house.”

Anya Beauchat, local Direct Communications office administrator for the Pocatello sales office, and organizer of this benefit event said: “As a parent I wanted to find a way to help support our local schools. I hope a lot of people will come out to our event on Friday and show their support for our local school district.”

For more information about the open house on Friday or to contact Direct Communications for product information, call Anya Beauchat at 208 237 9729 or visit www.directcom.com

Direct Communications Opens New Retail Store in Preston

Direct Communications, Preston’s local cable company, recently opened a retail and customer service location at 138 S State, Preston, and would like to extend an invitation to all residents of Preston to visit their new location, try their products on display,  and see what new services are available to them.

Brendon Larsen, 17, of Preston, one of the sales representatives working at the new store, explains that the store actually opened in March, but it wasn’t until they put the new sign up outside the store that people really began walking in. “Usually people will see the sign, and recognize the name because a friend told them about their cable TV or internet service from Direct Communications. Most of our business comes through referrals.”

While the space inside the storefront is small, judging by the range of services on offer this is a company with large ambitions.

“We have our entire digital cable lineup playing on the big screen TV, so people can browse through our channels, see the picture quality. We have a computer setup so people can sit and try our high-speed internet. Right now we have our connection at the store set at 5Mb, and we are seeing fairly consistent speeds. We also have our digital VOIP phone set up, which uses our cable internet connection to make calls, and that is actually the only phone line we use at our businesses, so people can test that out, make a couple of calls and see how it compares to traditional phone service.”

Brendon says working at the new store has been a good job for him, and talking to people about communications services is something he enjoys compared to other things he might be doing. “It pays well, and will look good on my resume when I apply for college.”

Jeremy Smith, General Manager for Direct Communications Cable, explains why the company decided to open a retail location in Preston.

“Ever since we purchased the Preston TV franchise from Comcast, we have been looking for ways to improve customer service, and bring a local flavor to the cable network. We know we have a lot of competition from national providers, so we thought a physical location in Preston would help bring our services to the people, increase convenience and create value, because we can show we are a local company, where you can walk in talk to a local representative anytime, face to face. Hopefully that is still worth something today.”

Brendon says current customers use the store to come in and pay their bill, saving them the cost of mailing it in, and to make quick upgrades or changes to their service. “They sometimes come in with technical questions—if I can’t give them an answer right away, I at least can refer them to the right person in tech support immediately.”

The store is open Monday to Friday from 10am to 6pm.

“If new people come in, and try our products, they will usually sign up for service. Actually, I had a salesman walk in the other day, trying to sell me a newspaper or magazine subscription, and he ended up walking away with internet service from us.”

Direct Communications has been providing internet service to Preston residents since 1999, and offers Telephone, Internet and cable TV services throughout southeast Idaho.