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.

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