Speed Increase for DSL Customers in Idaho

Faster streaming broadband means no buffering when watching online video.

Faster streaming broadband means no buffering when watching online video.

We will be doubling the download speeds for customers on our starting DSL package from 1.5Mb to 3Mb starting around mid-February of 2013. We are also doubling the upload speed from 512k to 1Mb for all customers currently on our 6Mb package.

However, along with this speed increase, we also need to make a price adjustment to our starting retail package, which will become 3Mb for $39.95 a month. This price increase will only affect those customers on the starting DSL package. The prices for all other speed packages will remain the same as they have been for the past many years. This change will happen starting at the billing period for March 2013.

StandAlone DSL will be changing to $99.95 for 12Mb. More about that later…

This is the first time we have ever had to increase an internet price in our long corporate history. For the past 10 years since we first introduced DSL service, we have only ever had the pleasure of giving our customers higher speeds for the same price they were previously paying.  Raising our starting package price was a difficult decision that we did not take lightly. We understand how vital having access to reliable and affordable high speed internet is to all of our customers, especially in our rural areas, where broadband has become the primary way of staying connected the world.

We wish we could have in fact lowered the starting DSL rate to make it even more affordable for more people, however, this decision was made at the federal administration level, who currently appear to have little interest in improving life for rural residents. The only way that operating rural networks is possible is through federal government cost-recovery programs. These programs subsidize the cost of building communication lines to remote areas, which is wonderful for all of us living out in rural Idaho, but, along with federal dollars of course comes the burden of federal regulation.

The FCC, through their rural management agency NECA, (National Exchange Carrier Association), declared that DSL rates must be increased to meet rising costs, so we had no choice other than to raise our retail DSL rate. In the case of standalone DSL, (internet without land line phone service) NECA has basically priced us out of the market for that. $99.95 is now the cheapest standalone data product we can reasonably offer, and from now on all customers who want DSL will be far better off paying for a landline–even if they don’t use it. This is exactly the opposite direction we were hoping the FCC would take on StandAlone data–we would love to be able to offer DSL on its own for people who really don’t want to pay for a land line, but apparently the good folks at the federal government have their own ideas of what people really want.

We hope that also doubling your speeds will help to reassure you that we really do want to provide real value for our customers. As a comparison, 3Mb, which will be our new lowest, or starter internet speed package, is actually the fastest available speed for DSL in most of the larger cities in Idaho.

Will I have to do anything to upgrade my speed to 3Mb if I’m subscribing to 1.5Mb now?

No—this upgrade will happen automatically in the background. We will simply change your account information in our servers to increase your speed from 1.5Mb to 3Mb. Once this happens, you will notice that downloading many things online will take half the time.

Why will the upgrade to 3Mb speed improve my quality of life?

Using the information highway today is very much like driving on a regular highway- most people want to go the maximum allowable speed. We have places to go, people to see, and we don’t want to waste time getting there. The higher your speed, the more things you can do online, faster.

Online Video Apps

Online Video Apps

Of course, the real advantage of more speed today is the number of devices you can connect and stream to at the same time. Many homes today might have a desktop, a few laptops, a couple of smartphones, and a tablet like an iPad or Kindle Fire, plus entertainment devices like an Xbox, a Wii, or streaming media playes like a Smart TV, Apple TV or Roku, or have Netflix on their Blu-ray player. Count them up—you may already have 5 or 6 Wi-Fi-enabled devices in your own home. If the new primetime at home consists of Mom catching up on The Bachelor on her iPad, while Dad is watching reruns of Shark Week on Netflix on his laptop, and the kids are on episode 103 of SpongeBob on the Xbox, that is going to require a very robust, constant feed with a lot of bandwidth (another word for internet speed.) Family time is just not what it used to be when everybody was staring at the same screen, but multiple screens require multiple internet video streams into the home, and that is where you really need more internet speed. If you have ever complained that you can’t watch Netflix on your TV and use your browser on your laptop at the same time, you need to upgrade to a higher speed, and now with Directcom you can choose as much speed as you will ever need.

1.5Mb? 3Mb? 20Mb? What do the numbers mean? How much speed do I need?

Internet transfer speeds are measured in kilobits per second and megabits per second, although those are not the same as the kilobytes and megabytes we use when we’re talking about hard disks and files. 1 megabit = 1024 kilobits, so simple math dictates that a 1.5 Mb connection will be about 3 times as fast as a 512 kb connection, and our new starter 3Mb DSL Broadband Internet connection is around 55 times faster than a 56k dial-up Internet connection.

When it comes to DSL speeds, loading simple web pages or emails with text only can be accomplished on any speed, but the internet is now so much more than text– think about music, video, animations, games and all the other stuff that makes the Internet so much fun. You will notice a huge difference in speed if you are downloading large files like pictures, music or video, where downloading a file on 3 Mb might take 1 minute, but 10 minutes on a 512kb connection.

But don’t worry about understanding all the numbers. What matters is how they apply to the kinds of things you’ll do on the Internet. Do you like to watch your favorite TV shows online? Download music, video conference with your family, play games, or do your shopping online? If you watch a lot of video, we suggest at least 6Mb to ensure a consistent, enjoyable streaming experience. 12Mb will allow you to download HD-quality video, or watch 2 video streams comfortably at the same time.

If you spend a lot of time online, you know that more speed is always going to be better. Please call us at 208 548 2345 if you have any concerns or questions about this upcoming change.

About Brigham Griffin
Brigham Griffin, Marketing Director for Direct Communications, resides in rural Idaho, and has been with the company since 2005. Brigham has an MBA from the University of Utah, and a BA in Communications from Brigham Young University. He also serves as an adjunct professor of marketing at Idaho State University.

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