St Charles, Idaho to get Fiber to the Home

Direct Communications will be holding an information open house for residents of  St Charles Idaho, on the lawn outside St Charles City Hall, Thursday, May 19, 2016, from 4 PM till 7 PM.

This open house coincides with the start of the fiber upgrade construction project in St Charles Idaho. The company will outline the construction schedule and upgrade plan for Fiber to the Home in St Charles, and answer any questions about how fiber will improve the quality of life for residents of St Charles.

The open house will be a casual outdoor setting where residents will be able to ask questions and visit one-on-one with the Direct Communications engineering and project managers. Residents are welcome to stop by our tent anytime from 4pm till 7pm.

Free hot dog, chips, and a drink will be served for dinner.

Free hot dog, chips, and a drink will be served for dinner.

Directcom will be serving hot dogs and chips at the open house.

There will be displays outlining the construction plan, a typical fiber installation to each home, and the fiber electronics which will be placed in each subscribing home. We will also provide materials and tips on how to prepare to fully utilize the fiber connection to your home, like home-networking best practices and recommendations for routers, etc. New customers will also be able to pre-register for fiber service. We invite and encourage all residents of St Charles to attend.

St Charles Open House Location:


Stop by and get answers to all your questions about fiber and how it will affect you.

Fiber Optic Internet Network Expands in Bear Lake to St Charles

The small town of St Charles, situated at the north shore of Bear Lake, will become the next town in Idaho to get Fiber to the Home.  Local broadband provider, Direct Communications, will be replacing older copper communications lines with all new Fiber to the Home, bringing 1 Gigabit Internet speeds and luxury Internet service for all residents living in the city limits, plus homes along some fiber branch lines that extend outside city limits, including some subdivisions along the Minnetonka Cave Road .  New fiber will also be installed to homes south down the state highway to about 1/2 mile outside of St Charles city limits. This new fiber construction project will begin in June 2016 and the first customers  will begin to be cut over from DSL to Fiber connections in August 2016. All homes in St Charles currently on copper should be completely cut over to 100% fiber  to the home by the end of 2016. This project will bring fiber to the home service to about 140 more homes in the Bear Lake area.

Tentative St Charles Project Schedule

Project Name St Charles
Engineering Start Jan-2016
Contractor Bids In May-2016
Construction Start June-2016
Construction End Aug-2016
Cutover  Start Aug-2016
Cutover End Oct-2016

Current customers do not need to pre-register for service–they will be automatically upgraded for free when fiber to the home is ready.

Direct Communications is currently waiting for some state highway permits, and finalizing choosing a contractor for the main construction work. The company prefers to work with local businesses and contractors. For example, much of the duct material used in this project will be coming from local southeast Idaho manufacturer, Plastic Industries.  Any local contractors still interested in being involved in the project should contact Directcom engineering manager, Matt Farr.

Contractors will be doing the main construction work along roads and city grids, burying the conduit that will protect the fiber optic cable. However, Directcom crews will be doing the final drops across customers yards. The final fiber splice to the home and cutover to fiber at the home will be completed by Directcom’s own techs, who will be installing Optical Network Terminals on the outside, or sometimes, depending on the situation, the inside, of customers homes.  Since fiber does not carry an electrical signal like copper, each fiber terminal needs a power supply to power the electronics which convert the digital laser light to an Ethernet signal inside the home.

Farr estimates the total cost for the fiber construction project will be around $400,000. However, the company will also have to invest significant capital into electronic equipment upgrades in the central office and remote cabinets to support the fiber network. Also, each customer will receive new fiber electronics on the outside of their home, which will replace the old copper network box, which Direct Communications will supply for free to the customer. The fiber electronics can often be the more expensive part of any fiber project.

This St Charles construction project is part of a greater push by Directcom to speed up the process of converting older copper neighborhoods to fiber. During 2015, the company completed a multi-year fiber to the home project in Rockland Idaho, and is currently working on installing fiber to several other subdivisions in the Bear Lake area.

Luxury Fiber Internet will soon be yours in Kiowa.

Fiber means luxury Internet service and 1 Gig speeds.

Jeremy Smith, Manager for Direct Communications, said that although he understands everyone wants to be the next town to be upgraded, areas are chosen and prioritized carefully as upgrade projects for various  reasons such as:

  1. Willingness of city officials to work with us on a utility project. The city of St Charles was particularly helpful in providing information on public easements, and giving us permits and easy access to public right of way on city streets.
  2. Natural progression of where the existing fiber network is easily expanded
  3. The condition of legacy copper laid by the original phone company decades ago. Much of the original copper was in dire need of an upgrade, and where the old copper is causing the most problems for both customers and the network techs, the company will often seek to upgrade those areas to fiber first.
  4. Higher number of potential customers: “We look at population density, and where we can provide the greatest benefit to the most people with the limited funding that we have available to us each year.”

Buried Fiber Handhole, which will replace the old above-ground green copper PEDs. This one was decorated very nicely by a resident in the city center area. Generally, yards and gardens will not be disturbed, except where existing telephone pedestals are located at the corner of property lots– these pedestals will be replaced with handholes, which will be buried and placed level to the ground, which the company hoped would be welcomed by homeowners, since having no visible equipment would enhance curb appeal of the neighborhood. We will use a  maxisneaker or small DitchWitch drop plow to cut a line through lawn and drop in the conduit, with minimize impact on yards or lawns.

The fiber project won’t be disturbing any existing pavement or concrete–the company will bore under any existing paving with a directional drill. There also shouldn’t be any major traffic disruption–Direct Communications will be working with the state on the highway construction portion.

Matt Farr, Engineering Manager for Direct Communications, explained that for this St Charles project, much of the work will be done by utility contractors in order to speed up the upgrade process. Please be patient with us as we roll out this plan to bring you better broadband service. In the meantime, go ahead and pre-register for fiber optic service so that we know you want it at your home.

Fiber is the future of communications, and the key to future economic growth, education, entertainment, and access to a world of opportunities in our new information economy. Fiber to your home will improve your life even if you don’t use the Internet, because fiber optic cable to a home will instantly increase the value of your home. St Charles will soon have the most advanced modern communications network available anywhere in America. Most residents in big cities, even in the most expensive neighborhoods in the USA, do not yet have access to fiber optic cable, but soon St Charles residents will join the 6% of Americans with access to this fantastic service.

Directcom Fiber will bring residents connection speeds 50 times faster than what is currently available in rural St Charles. Work from home, start an online business, enjoy instant downloads, immediate uploads, and faster streaming HD video like Netflix SuperHD . Fiber is more than just Internet. It’s endless possibilities.

Directcom Fiber Construction Plan

Phase 1: Bury main conduit 48” deep  along the city streets.
Phase 2: Place all the fiber hand holds (manholes where all the fiber will converge for each neighborhood.)
Phase 3: Plow in individual conduit drops to each home as ordered. (½” plastic conduit into a thin trench, about 18” deep.
Phase 4: Blow fiber optic cable through the underground plastic conduit.
Phase 5: Splice final fiber cable drop going to each home back into the main cables.
Phase 6: Install new fiber electronics at central switch to feed homes.
Phase 7: Mount new fiber ONT (optic network terminal) on the outside of each home.
Phase 8: Make final connection from your computer or router to your new fiber line via ONT. This ONT will convert the digital light signals sent over the fiber, into an Ethernet signal which can be read by home computers.

Network Map of Current Fiber availability in Idaho

Click on the “view larger map” icon on the top right bar of the network map below, and enter your address in the search field in the google maps interface to see if fiber is available at your address.

Orange areas are Fiber-to-the-home. Yellow areas are still copper to the home, and may be upgraded to fiber in the future. Red is cable Internet.

Why Fiber?

WHAT IS FIBER-OPTIC CABLE?

fiberFiber is the future of communications technology. Fiber optic cable contains strands of optically pure glass, thinner than a human hair, which carry digital information over long distances. Digital signals are sent as pulses of light down the glass fibers, without interference or limitation. This digital transport system is faster, clearer, more reliable, and will give you the bandwidth to access the digital communications services of the future, and today’s IP-based broadband apps such as streaming video, VOIP, video conferencing, home security systems, remote appliance management, and residential internet speeds up to 1 Gig speeds, just like Google provides in Provo, Utah.

The Fiber Optic Advantages Are Clear

SPEED
The fastest connection speed known to man. We currently offer an unmatched 1000 Mbps residential speed to our fiber customers.
RELIABILITY
Fiber to the home uses a pure ethernet connection back to your ISP, without needing intermediate equipment like a modem. This results in a much more stable, reliable service, which means no downtime for you. Fiber to the home virtually eliminates most equipment issues, and downtime typically experienced by internet subscribers.


UNLIMITED BANDWIDTH

Unlimited carrying capacity means NO CAPS. The bandwidth, like speed is only limited by the processing power of the electronics on each end of the fiber. We will never cap your data usage, or throttle your speeds. Stream as much video as you like without ever worrying about overages.


DISTANCE

Unlike copper, there is no resistance in the fiber optic cable, so the signal can travel much further distances. This means we can now serve even the most remote customers with the same consistent service no matter where where you live.


LESS INTERFERENCE

Because it’s literally light being transmitted, there is no interference from electromagnetic noise such as neighbor’s routers, appliances, radios, motors, power lines, or other nearby cables. This means a clearer signal and better broadband connection for you. Even lighting strikes, which can be transmitted by copper cabling, are not transmitted by fiber-optic cable.


LESS MAINTENANCE

Fiber optic cables costs less to maintain than traditional copper lines, saving us all time and money.

Plowing in conduit for fiber optic cable

Saying Goodbye to my Syringa Wireless Phone

Yesterday I shut off my very last Syringa Wireless phone forever. I had to go to the Verizon Wireless store in Pocatello to port my wife’s number to Verizon. (Note: On December 31, 2015, all Syringa Wireless service will stop working.)

I felt a real sadness, a loss, as I removed the Syringa Wireless SIM card from her phone, and replaced it with a new Verizon card. This was the end of an era, and the end of a grand dream. And, it once again raises the question: How can the little guy survive in today’s market?

Syringa Wireless started in 2006 when several local Idaho rural Independent Telecos came together and decided to launch a local mobile phone company. Between us, we already covered most of the geographic area of the southern part of the state of Idaho with traditional landline phone service, so it seemed to make sense to try to offer this newfangled mobile phone service to our customers, especially since the trends seemed to indicate that mobile would eventually become more popular than home phone service. There was a real excitement about the launch of Syringa Wireless–I remember sitting at lunch with John Ney, Syringa Wireless’ newly-hired manager of marketing and operations, in a small restaurant in Pocatello, as he talked excitedly about this opportunity and unfolded his vision for marketing this fantastic new service. A local wireless company built just for Idaho, with caring, small-town customer service that the big national conglomerates would never match. We would cover the rural Idaho hills with towers and provide service in remote places where the big boys would never go. We would be easy to work with. We would know the names of every one of our customers. Our existing home phone customers would flock to our new service “like the salmon of Capistrano.” 

We already knew all about providing voice service. We had a ready-made customer base. We had a rural network to tap into. We had a few million dollars in funding. We had a growing industry. What could possibly go wrong?

Well, things started to go wrong right from the start.  The funding ran out quickly. Like most startups, Syringa Wireless struggled year after year to generate a positive cash flow. Spectrum licencing was an issue. Tower lease costs were an issue. Securing the latest handsets was an issue. Our customers didn’t automatically trust our new wireless service like we assumed they would–they trusted the marketing they saw on TV from the big boys. The biggest obstacle was of course the crushing competition from very rich, very large, and very powerful multinational wireless giants. This wasn’t as big an issue in 2006 as it quickly became once smart phones became part of everyday consumer life. Everything can change so quickly in this industry. In 2006 the Syringa Wireless tagline was “Ring Me.” Those were the old days when people still talked to each other. Nobody could have forseen in 2006 how mobile data and the coolness of the smart device would become the only thing that mattered in the mobile phone market.

Like most things over the past decade, it all started with the iPhone.
We couldn’t get them. The big boys could.

We were still peddling Blackberrys with those ridiculous rollerballs (Canadians!) while the iPhone was taking over the industry. I remember sitting at a table eating a sandwich with a pasty software engineer  from Blackberry during a CES Conference in Vegas. We were watching the beautiful people instinctively flock  like the salmon of Capistrano to the booths that advertised iPhone and Android apps, while the Blackberry tradeshow booth was deserted and cold. Nobody was making apps for Blackberry. I asked the Blackberry engineer about this contrast. He scoffed and said something like: “People don’t want apps. They want our secure email platform.” Well, turns out, no, they really did want apps. And they wanted the trendy phones. And we didn’t have them. I knew we were doomed when I saw one of my coworkers sheepishly trying to hide when I caught him hanging around the AT&T booth in Costco.

Eventually Syringa Wireless got the iPhone, but by then it was all about 4G. Syringa Wireless put up over 70 towers in rural Idaho, and we had great voice service, especially since customers could roam on both Verizon and Sprint, so you had their whole network plus our rural network, but while the big boys were fighting over who could make the most outrageous advertising claims about their 4G service, Syringa Wireless was desperately trying to roll out 3G service everywhere. By then, Syringa Networks had taken over direct ownership of the struggling Syringa Wireless company, and their play was to offer unlimited 3G service, so customers wouldn’t have to worry about mobile data caps. Seemed like sensible brand positioning, but the ever widening gap between the big national companies and a local Idaho home-grown wireless company turned out to be too far to overcome, and Syringa Wireless had to close up shop at the end of 2015.

Syringa Wireless lasted a lot longer than many of the other smaller wireless providers who were gobbled up years ago. It is important to remember that Syringa Wireless was not a dealer, agent or rebranding of one of the larger providers–this was a unique, grassroots Idaho mobile network with their own towers and equipment, trying to make it against all odds. Maybe someday the story will make a good Hollywood movie.

So, what did we lose with the end of Syringa Wireless? Well, for one thing, the last outpost of local customer service in the wireless industry. When I wanted a new phone, all I had to do was walk a few paces over to Linda’s desk or Tina’s desk and ask for a new phone. Tina would open the drawer, give me a new phone, and have it activated in a couple of minutes. Any customer in our service area who walked into our office could enjoy a similar relaxing, personal service experience.

My first trip to the Verizon/Oligopoly store was a vastly different experience. Interestingly, I had just come from a federal government agency office before visiting the wireless store, and the experiences were eerily similar. I basically had to take a number and take a seat. At the federal agency, it was my social I had to enter into a screen. At the Verizon store, it was my wireless phone number. Then, we sat, and sat, and waited, while they called names. All around me at both places, people were staring blankly at the walls and floor, totally depressed. The place was overcrowded and understaffed; the employees were doing their best to keep up but were sticking carefully to procedures and policies. I was impressed with the efficiency of our designated salesperson once our name was finally called, but the process of trying to sign up for phone service took over an hour. I came out with nothing except a working phone. No receipt. No account number. I was told to go online to complete the process. And, keep in mind, this was in rural Pocatello Idaho. I shudder to think what it would be like in one of those stores in a major city. This is the nature of the oligopoly. People clearly had nowhere else to go–the other company’s store would have been just as crowded. I have worked in telecom for over 10 years and had never seen a line of customers like this–not even when we offered the $1 a month mobile phone.

Is this the inevitable future of technology service? What is it going to take for a local technology service provider to survive in this world where all the big tech companies are trying to get back to their natural state of monopoly, and getting plenty of encouragement and assistance from the state and federal governments in their quest? Shutting down my Syringa Wireless phone seemed like the end of an age of innocence. We couldn’t beat Goliath. I felt like some sort of lemming being pushed towards an inevitable fate being stuck with a new big provider that would never care to know anything about me beyond my credit card number. I will miss you, Syringa Wireless. You were my first phone. (OK, so I toyed with Cricket back in 2001, but we were never serious.)

NOW HIRING: Tech Support Specialist, Eagle Mountain Utah

tech-supportNOW HIRING:  Tech Support Specialist

Location: Eagle Mountain, Utah. Local residents especially encouraged to apply.

Wage:  $10 to $12/hour, DOE.

Part time. 20 hours per week.

Resumes will be accepted until FRIDAY, MAY 29th and can be emailed to diane@directcom.com or faxed to (801)789-4118

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

You will work out of Direct Communications office building in the Ranches, Eagle Mountain Utah.

Direct Communications Cedar Valley is now hiring a new Support Technician (Level 1) to work within its Installation and Maintenance Team.  The duties will include fielding inbound calls and remotely troubleshooting service issues with our customers. Typically the technician will be working out of our call center in Eagle Mountain, taking calls as they come in and making every effort to repair trouble over the phone and in the case where that is not possible, they will dispatch tech to site for further trouble shooting. This is a part time position and hours will include 5 hours a day, Monday through Friday.

20120925_110816Direct Communications Cedar Valley is a Telephone and Internet service provider based in Eagle Mountain Utah.  We currently service approximately 4000 customers via both copper twisted pair wire and Fiber Optic cable from our Central office to the customer premises.  Technician hired will be trained on our remote systems to be able to trouble shoot the entirety of the circuit using our back office tools, and also, assist customer with Wi-Fi and home networking issues to insure seamless service and customer satisfaction.

Responsibilities

  • Provide exemplary service to our customers
    • Engage and act with ownership, displaying confidence, clarity, focus, urgency, and excellence
    • Answer and resolve incoming calls, email, and chat requests for Direct Communications support relating to Internet communications
    • Provide accurate and timely updates to our customers and document customer cases.
    • Monitor network circuit performance and open support cases immediately for resolution
    • Use company provisioning system to facilitate add, move, change, and delete requests for existing clients as needed
    • Educate customers in the use of Direct Communications systems and applications as related to Internet
    • Obtain general understanding of OS and application operations related to company offered services
    • Correct possible configuration issues for clients
    • When needed, promptly escalate cases to Network Technician (Level 2) to ensure customers issues are resolved quickly
    • Maintain a mindset of continuous improvement, in terms of efficiency of processes & customer satisfaction and optimization
    • Any other duties as assigned by management

employmentQualifications

To perform this job successfully, individuals must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily based on company standards. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required to perform the job successfully.

  • Must be punctual and dependable for assigned shift
    • Must have exceptional interpersonal and communication skills
    • Must be fluent in English (spoken and written)
    • Must have a strong desire to learn and recommend new technologies
    • Must be able to work independently and efficiently in a fast-paced environment
    • Be able to document and troubleshoot multiple systems
    • Experience with solving hardware and software issues
    • Proficient in Internet related applications such as E-Mail clients, PPPoE, and Web Browsers
    • Technical Support Center Experience a plus.

Wage range is $10 to $12/hour, depending on experience, qualifications and skills.  Experience with internet protocol is extremely beneficial.

DCCV is an equal opportunity employer.

Resumes will be accepted until FRIDAY, MAY 29th and can be emailed to diane@directcom.com or faxed to (801)789-4118

Fiber to the Home Coming Soon to Bennington Idaho

Green lines - Fiber to go in trench shared with Bennington city water project. Blue lines - Proposed fiber-to-the-home build out. Orange line- Existing main fiber transport line connecting Bear Lake County to the world.  2015-Proposed Bennington fiber optic cable build by Direct Communications, showing where new fiber lines will be buried, along with neighborhood hand holds, and fiber drops to each home.

Green lines – Fiber to go in trench shared with Bennington city water project.
Blue lines – Proposed fiber-to-the-home build out.
Orange line- Existing main fiber transport line connecting Bear Lake County to the world.
2015-Proposed Bennington fiber optic cable build by Direct Communications, showing where new fiber lines will be buried, along with neighborhood hand holds, and fiber drops to each home.

During 2015, rural Idaho Fiber Optic Internet Provider, Direct Communications, hopes to build out a brand new fiber optic cable network in Bennington Idaho, that will bring fiber directly to each home in town that orders fiber optic service. The wait is almost over for fast, reliable, state-of-the art Internet to finally come to Bennington.

Direct Communications presented their plan for building out the city of Bennington, Idaho with Fiber-to-the-Home at an open meeting hosted by the city at the Bennington LDS Chapel  on Wednesday, April 1. Direct Communications will be partnering with the city to share some of the trenches associated with the Bennington Water Project for a concurrent fiber project.

Fiber is the future of communications, and the key to future economic growth, education, entertainment, and access to a world of opportunities in our new information economy. Fiber to your home will improve your life even if you don’t use the Internet, because fiber optic cable to a home will instantly increase the value of your home. Bennington will have the most advanced modern communications network available anywhere in America. Most residents in big cities, even in the most expensive neighborhoods in the USA, do not yet have access to fiber optic cable, but soon you will join the 6% of Americans with access to this fantastic service.

How to get fiber to your home
During the construction period, we will announce a window for fiber construction drops. You will need to order service during this construction period by calling 208 548 2345. If you do not order Internet Service during the construction window, you may miss your chance to ever get fiber to your home.

Pre-register now for fiber to your home.

To find out more please visit http://directcom.com

Directcom Fiber will bring residents connection speeds 100 times faster than what is currently available in rural Bennington. Work from home, start an online business, enjoy instant downloads, immediate uploads, and faster streaming HD video like Netflix SuperHD . Fiber is more than just Internet. It’s endless possibilities.

Directcom Fiber Construction Plan

Phase 1: Bury main conduit 48” deep in shared water trench and then along the remaining city streets.
Phase 2: Place all the fiber hand holds (manholes where all the fiber will converge for each neighborhood.)
Phase 3: Plow in individual conduit drops to each home as ordered. (½” plastic conduit into a thin trench, about 18” deep.
Phase 4: Blow fiber optic cable through the underground plastic conduit.
Phase 5: Splice final fiber cable drop going to each home back into the main cables.
Phase 6: Install new fiber electronics at central switch to feed homes.
Phase 7: Mount new fiber NID (network interface device) on the outside of each home.
Phase 8: Make final connection from your computer or router to your new fiber line via ONT (optic network terminal) This ONT will convert the digital light signals sent over the fiber, into an Ethernet signal which can be read by home computers.

WHAT IS FIBER-OPTIC CABLE?

fiberFiber is the future of communications technology. Fiber optic cable contains strands of optically pure glass, thinner than a human hair, which carry digital information over long distances. Digital signals are sent as pulses of light down the glass fibers, without interference or limitation. This digital transport system is faster, clearer, more reliable, and will give you the bandwidth to access the digital communications services of the future, and today’s IP-based broadband apps such as streaming video, VOIP, video conferencing, home security systems, remote appliance management, and residential internet speeds up to 1 Gig speeds, just like Google provides in Provo, Utah.

The Fiber Optic Advantages Are Clear

SPEED
The fastest connection speed known to man. We currently offer an unmatched 1000 Mbps residential speed to our fiber customers.
RELIABILITY
Fiber to the home uses a pure ethernet connection back to your ISP, without needing intermediate equipment like a modem. This results in a much more stable, reliable service, which means no downtime for you. Fiber to the home virtually eliminates most equipment issues, and downtime typically experienced by internet subscribers.


UNLIMITED BANDWIDTH

Unlimited carrying capacity means NO CAPS. The bandwidth, like speed is only limited by the processing power of the electronics on each end of the fiber. We will never cap your data usage, or throttle your speeds. Stream as much video as you like without ever worrying about overages.


DISTANCE

Unlike copper, there is no resistance in the fiber optic cable, so the signal can travel much further distances. This means we can now serve even the most remote customers with the same consistent service no matter where where you live.


LESS INTERFERENCE

Because it’s literally light being transmitted, there is no interference from electromagnetic noise such as neighbor’s routers, appliances, radios, motors, power lines, or other nearby cables. This means a clearer signal and better broadband connection for you. Even lighting strikes, which can be transmitted by copper cabling, are not transmitted by fiber-optic cable.


LESS MAINTENANCE

Fiber optic cables costs less to maintain than traditional copper lines, saving us all time and money.

Plowing in conduit for fiber optic cable

Plowing in conduit for fiber optic cable

Fiber Open House in Bennington Idaho

Plowing in conduit for fiber optic cable along Center street

Plowing in conduit for fiber optic cable along Center street

Direct Communications will present their plans for building out the city of Bennington, Idaho with Fiber-to-the-Home at a open meeting hosted by the city at the Bennington LDS Chapel  on Wednesday, April 1 at 8pm.

The meeting is being held to discuss the Bennington Water Project, but Direct Communications representatives will be on hand to answer questions about their planned concurrent fiber project. If you have been waiting for fast, reliable, state-of-the art Internet to finally come to Bennington, please attend and show your support and interest.

WHAT IS FIBER-OPTIC CABLE?

fiberFiber is the future of communications technology. Fiber optic cable contains strands of optically pure glass, thinner than a human hair, which carry digital information over long distances. Digital signals are sent as pulses of light down the glass fibers, without interference or limitation. This digital transport system is faster, clearer, more reliable, and will give you the bandwidth to access the digital communications services of the future, and today’s IP-based broadband apps such as streaming video, VOIP, video conferencing, home security systems, remote appliance management, and residential internet speeds up to 1 Gig speeds, just like Google provides in Provo, Utah.

The Fiber Optic Advantages Are Clear

SPEED
The fastest connection speed known to man. We currently offer an unmatched 1000 Mbps residential speed to our fiber customers.
RELIABILITY
Fiber to the home uses a pure ethernet connection back to your ISP, without needing intermediate equipment like a modem. This results in a much more stable, reliable service, which means no downtime for you. Fiber to the home virtually eliminates most equipment issues, and downtime typically experienced by internet subscribers.


UNLIMITED BANDWIDTH

Unlimited carrying capacity means NO CAPS. The bandwidth, like speed is only limited by the processing power of the electronics on each end of the fiber. We will never cap your data usage, or throttle your speeds. Stream as much video as you like without ever worrying about overages.


DISTANCE

Unlike copper, there is no resistance in the fiber optic cable, so the signal can travel much further distances. This means we can now serve even the most remote customers with the same consistent service no matter where where you live.


LESS INTERFERENCE

Because it’s literally light being transmitted, there is no interference from electromagnetic noise such as neighbor’s routers, appliances, radios, motors, power lines, or other nearby cables. This means a clearer signal and better broadband connection for you. Even lighting strikes, which can be transmitted by copper cabling, are not transmitted by fiber-optic cable.


LESS MAINTENANCE

Fiber optic cables costs less to maintain than traditional copper lines, saving us all time and money.

End of State Broadband Contract Means Faster Internet and Lower Costs for Rural Idaho School Districts

The end of the State mandated contract with a single broadband provider has resulted in many rural schools in southeast Idaho returning to their local internet providers this month, with great benefits for schools and taxpayers alike – specifically, more bandwidth speed for a fraction of the cost.

At 10 AM Friday morning, Rockland School District in rural Southeastern Idaho, pulled the plug on their Internet service from the IEN (Idaho Education Network), and switched to a much faster fiber-optic connection from local broadband company Direct Communications, for a fraction of the cost. While the state, under the now-void IEN contract, had been paying ENA (Education Networks of America) over $6,000.00 a month for a 20 Mbps Internet service to Rockland School District, for the 2016 school year the school district will pay less than a third of that cost for a new 100 Mbps service.

 Rockland School District Technology Director, Rose Mathews, gives a thumbs up to her new 100Mb speed from Direct Communications, after running a speed test showing that the school is receiving a fully symmetrical 100Mb speed.

Rockland School District Technology Director, Rose Mathews, gives a thumbs up to her new 100Mb speed from Direct Communications, after running a speed test showing that the school is receiving a fully symmetrical 100Mb speed.

Rose Mathews, Technology Director for Rockland School District, said “We are very happy to be back with Direct Communications as our main service provider. The choice to go to IEN was purely a budget decision for us originally—the State provided the funding for all of our internet access, which allowed us to move our money into other things, but Rockland School District is pleased to be doing business directly with Direct Communications again. They have always been an important part of our community.”

The idea that rural Idaho schools were going to have better internet service under State control turned out to be false in many cases. For example, the Westside School District in Dayton, Idaho, was already being served by state-of-the-art fiber-optic cable by local fiber broadband provider Direct Communications way back in 2008. The local Idaho broadband company, which has been a local southeast Idaho family-owned business since 1954,  has specialized in bringing fiber to remote areas for over 10 years, but when the State IEN contract declared that schools had to use CenturyLink service to get the IEN reimbursement, Westside school district was forced to disconnect their fiber connection and switch back to an outdated T1 (1.5 Mbps) copper connection, which was a big step backwards as far as technology goes—about a decade backwards in fact. Where the district had only been paying a few hundred dollars per month for reliable fiber Internet service, once the IEN contract was in place, the Idaho State taxpayers were saddled with paying over $8000 a month for outdated copper service to that same location, and a local business was forced aside. The same thing happened with Preston School District, who just this week reactivated their fiber line through Direct Communications, which had been sitting dormant since 2009. Preston School District will now receive double their previous speed, for about a fifth of the monthly cost.

Rockland School District, a small 1A school located in a town of 295 people, found themselves in a similar situation, where despite their remote location and small size, had been enjoying a fiber optic connection for several years through local independent telecommunications company Direct Communications.  For ENA to connect to Rockland School eventually took four tiers of providers because CenturyLink has no network in Rockland —local network provider Direct Communications handed the circuit off to Idaho regional fiber network provider Syringa Networks, who delivered it to CenturyLink, who then handed it to ENA, who was listed as the final service provider.  This was standard practice for many remote districts, because CenturyLink does not have a presence in much of rural Idaho—a great number of small towns are served by local independent telephone companies, many of them started as farmers’ cooperatives. Each provider added their costs down the line. The $6,090.00 per month that state taxpayers were paying ENA for service to Rockland SD was by no means an outlier—many rural school districts were paying far more per month for service.

One of the reasons the costs skyrocketed was that under the state-wide IEN contract, all local school districts were shielded from seeing the actual cost of their Internet service. Mathews stated: “They never told us what the bill was. It was kept very quiet. I knew it was more than they needed to pay, because I knew there were multiple tiers of providers being used, but I think we were all kind of shocked by just how much the state was paying for service to some of our schools.”

Aberdeen School District Superintendent, Jane Ward, explained that she never knew what the IEN contract was costing the state until the state legislature asked for those figures to be published earlier this month. “We only knew that the state was paying 100% of our Internet service cost. Because the state was providing service to our school, it eliminated the annual paperwork I had to acquire to qualify our district for e-rate subsidies.” Mrs. Ward was extremely concerned when the school district was suddenly informed by the State Department of Education on February 16, 2015 that the school districts could be losing their Internet service as early as February 22. Mrs. Ward indicated she was fortunate enough to be able to immediately turn to their local cable provider, Direct Communications. “Direct Communications brought the school district Internet service over 12 years ago when no one else would provide it at a reasonable cost.  We have had a great relationship over the years, and I knew our school was actually being serviced by their fiber underneath the IEN layers.” Mrs. Ward went on to say, “It was an easy decision to go to Direct Communications for help.  I knew I was saving the taxpayers money by switching, and I was confident the service was going to be just as reliable as before. Direct Communications worked with our IT administrator to reconfigure the fiber connections on a Friday afternoon when school was out, and it took less than an hour.”  The ENA cost for Aberdeen School District was $6,496.28 per month for 60Mb service.  The new cost with Direct Communications fiber for the next school year will be less than a third of that cost for 100Mb service.

Lucas McHargue installs conduit for fiber optic cable to Bear Lake High School in Montpelier Idaho.

Lucas McHargue installs conduit for fiber optic cable to Bear Lake High School in Montpelier Idaho.

Direct Communications had a very busy week with crews working around the clock in three small Idaho towns this week to complete fiber builds to local school districts before the Friday E-rate deadline. Grace School District, North Gem School District, and Bear Lake School District will all be served by new fiber optic connections and faster speeds than they had before with IEN. The other important feature of this change is that these districts will now all be able to choose what bandwidth speed they want, no matter the size of their school and with the knowledge and comfort that they are using taxpayer dollars effectively.

James Murdoch, the Network Administrator of Grace School District & North Gem School District, said of his experience with Direct Communications: “With barely over a week’s notice we contacted Direct Communications with what we needed and their people jumped into action. Daniel Parrish was able to meet our difficult needs and coordinate everything, taking late-night phone calls to make it happen. Matt Farr, their engineer, was at one of our schools watching his sons in a basketball game. I was able to locate him and between games he was able to do a site survey and give an initial approval on the project. We appreciated him taking his personal time to help us. The Directcom installation crews worked long hours well into the night several nights to bring the fiber to our school. They did an outstanding job to quickly and efficiently make the project possible. Brian Black, their Senior Network Administrator, was willing to meet with us any time to help configure our equipment and actually finish with the installation. I was pleased at the courteous, quick and professional manner that each individual employee had. Rather than acting put-out by the unreasonable timeline that we had given them they took it as more of a challenge and were happy to help us achieve our needs.

2015 Grace underground tunnel

Lucas McHargue and Brenden Argyle pull fiber through an underground tunnel in Grace High School.

We are more than happy at the result and were able to meet both our short-term and long-term needs going forward.  Both School Districts were able to avoid any downtime. What could have been a challenging, miserable experience has turned into a very positive one. The additional bandwidth that we have is still at a fraction of the cost that we would have had otherwise. We are thrilled. It has been a very positive experience.”

Matt Farr wanted to thank the local contractors, Track Utilities and Das-Co who worked alongside Directcom crews and helped get fiber to the schools on time.

Mathews reflects: “The IEN was a good concept. The funding for Internet service was important, because local communities aren’t always willing to pay for adequate Internet service. The network management and the help with the routers and tech support was good. The schools still need a way to connect together to provide shared classes and video conferencing. Where the IEN went wrong was forcing everyone to use the same internet service provider for basic bandwidth. As long as they allow us to choose our own provider, I think there is a place for the IEN. I hope our legislature will still find a way to continue to cover the full cost of Internet service to schools, because that is just becoming more important each year.

For more info on the history of the IEN contract, see http://idahoptv.org/idreports/ien/

Eagle Mountain Schools Receive Sponsorship from Local Internet Provider, Direct Communications.

Direct Communications, Eagle Mountain’s local fiber optic broadband provider, donated to each of the local schools in Eagle Mountain Utah this Fall.
Why does Directcom sponsor education in Eagle Mountain? Kip Wilson, general manager for Direct Communications, answered this question by stating: “We are absolutely committed to enhancing life in Eagle Mountain long-term, 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.”

Mountain Trails Elemetary-Principal Turner with student council

Mountain Trails Elemetary-Principal Turner with student council

David Turner, Principal of Mountain Trails stated: “We express our extreme gratitude for your generous donation to our school. Receiving funding like this allows so many opportunities to reach out to students and recognize them for the good things they do here at the school. Your contribution will make a significant difference in the lives of the students here.”

Westlake High School Marching Band

Brek Mangelson, Director of Bands at Westlake High School, with Diane Bradshaw and Brigham Griffin, Marketing Director for Direct Communications.

Brek Mangelson, Westlake Marching Thunder Band Director, said:”Thank you so much for your support of the Westlake Marching Thunder Band this year. The band has been invited to be the official USS Utah Battleship delegate in the 2014 Peal Harbor Memorial Parade this December. Your support helped alleviate part of the costs of this trip for the students. We are so excited to represent the entire state of Utah at this event. Words cannot properly express our sincere gratitude towards Direct Communications for helping to make this trip possible for the students. Thank you!”

Diane Bradshaw, Community Relations Representative for Direct Communications presents a check to Westlake High School Football Head Coach Steve Clements.

Diane Bradshaw, Community Relations Representative for Direct Communications presents a check to Westlake High School Athletic Director, Michael O’Connor.

Sharon Mardesich, Athletic Assistant at Westlake High School said “Direct Communications has been a great support to donating a $1,000.00 each year to our Athletic Scholarship Program. The program is set up to award Senior Athletes that may not be the Star of the team, but the Heart of the Team”. Thank you Direct Communication for being a THUNDER FAN!

Cami Larsen, Principal Black Ridge Elementary, with Diane Bradshaw of Direct Communications

Cami Larsen, Principal
Black Ridge Elementary, with Diane Bradshaw of Direct Communications

Cami Larsen, Principal of Black Ridge Elementary, said: “We are grateful for the support of Direct Communications. The money we received will benefit our students through strengthening our art and music programs. Thank you for helping our students!”

Ranches academy

Ranches academy

“The Ranches Academy student body is excited to have the opportunity to perform in the musical play, Annie; and thanks Direct Communication for the generous donation to pay for the rights to the play” said Director of The Ranches Academy, Susie Scherer.

Diane Bradshaw, Direct Communications Office Administrator and community outreach representative, enjoys being involved with the local schools. “Each year I look forward to going to the various schools in Eagle Mountain and presenting donation checks from Direct Communications. Being personally involved in Utah Scholars and Prosperity 2020, I see the need for business involvement within the schools. I know that any donations the schools receive is put to good use–from the art/music program at Black Ridge elementary to the HOPE program at Frontier Middle School to helping the Westlake Marching band perform at the Pearl Harbor Day parade–all programs help our kids . I am proud to work for a company who values education and is willing to donate money to support our kids.”

Eagle Valley Elementary-pictured from Eagle Valley is Paula Tucker, the new principal, and Angie Hale, media specialist, with Darin Algaier and Diane Bradshaw from Directcom.

Eagle Valley Elementary-pictured from Eagle Valley is Paula Tucker, the new principal, and Angie Hale, media specialist, with Darin Algaier and Diane Bradshaw from Directcom.

Angie Hale of Eagle Valley Elementary said: “We would like to express our appreciation to Direct Communications for their continued generosity and support. Direct Communications, Eagle Mountain’s local telephone and internet service provider, recently made a generous donation to Eagle Valley Elementary. Their contribution will be used to help fund Eagle Valley’s Battle of the Books program and will greatly help to encourage an even greater love of literacy and learning among our students. Direct Communication’s generosity demonstrates their continued dedication to the community and their willingness to help support local schools and programs. Thank you!”

Directcom Sponsors Frontier Middle School Hope Squad Program - 2014

Directcom Sponsors Frontier Middle School Hope Squad Program – 2014

Frontier Middle School Principal Scott Sumner stated: “The generous donations by Direct Communications make many of the programs we do at Frontier Middle School possible. Our hope squad is an exact recipient, and makes it possible to provide hope for kids, and to provide training for success in life, and for what is possible in life. Thank you, Direct Communications.”

Pony Express Elementary principal Vicki Smith with teachers.

Pony Express Elementary principal Vicki Smith with teachers.

Pony Express Elementary principal Vicki Smith reported that their school would be using their $500.00 for purchasing materials for teaching science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). “Specifically, we’ll purchase items that can be used to connect these content areas, such as programmable robots using Lego kits.
Thank-you again for such a wonderful gift. We are pleased that money donated from our community will remain in the school and benefit the children here at Pony Express.”

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

Hidden Hollow Elementary-Principal Tillman and vice principal Mrs Littlefield, with Diane Bradshaw of Directcom.

Hidden Hollow Elementary-Principal Tillman and vice principal Mrs Littlefield, with Diane Bradshaw of Directcom.

Tom Tillman, Principal at Hidden Hollow reported that “Hidden Hollow’s Student Council was able to attend the BYU Student Council Leadership Conference in October thanks to Direct Communication’s generous donation of $500.”
Rockwell Charter High SchoolJohnny Ma,Boys Basketball Coach at Rockwell High School said: “Thank you for you sponsorship of $500 to the boys basketball program for the 2015 season. The donation is contributing to helping 22 players in our program. The donation is helping with their travel costs and reducing their costs for basketball shoes. Our program is thankful for this donation and our relationship with Direct Communications. Thanks Direct Communication for everything that you have done for us.”

Ill Father to Perform at Soda Springs High School Nov. 20 at 7 p.m.

Ill father, singer to perform at Soda Springs High School Nov. 20 at 7 p.m.
(re-posted from Idaho State Journal) See original post at http://www.idahostatejournal.com/members/ill-father-singer-to-perform-at-soda-springs-high-school/article_83cb7b60-6593-11e4-9b6e-b3a104e1659f.html

Ron and Nicole Berg, and son Ben.

Ron and Nicole Berg, and son Ben.

Ron and Nicole Berg, and son Ben.

SODA SPRINGS — 28-year-old Ron Berg, husband to former Direct Communications employee, Nicole Berg, and father to 4-year-old Ben Berg, will perform at a benefit concert with Season 8 “American Idol” contestant Devin Bodkin, of Blackfoot, at Soda Springs High School on Thursday, Nov. 20, starting at 7 p.m.

Ron was diagnosed with Stage 3 brain cancer (anaplastic astrocytoma) seven years ago. At that time he was given less than one year to live. One year ago, Ron was diagnosed with stage four brain cancer (glioblastoma) and once again given less than a year to live. It has been 13 months, and Ron just learned that the cancer is all through his brain, and he has been given just a few months to live.
Of course, we have seen, and can continue to see miracles, but we would like to let Ron do something for our community that has been his passion since he was 8 years old.
He has had a love for music. He is a talented songwriter, singer, pianist and guitarist. There will be a silent auction as well as door prizes.
If anyone would like to contribute to this benefit concert by way of attendance at the concert, donating something for the auction and/or door prizes it would be greatly appreciated. Please call Brenda Cellan at 547-7089 if you have something you would like to donate.
Ron has been unable to work for the past year, so any donation would help his family out immensely. If you are unable to attend the concert, but would still like to make a monetary contribution, you can do so at any Advantage Plus Federal Credit Union or Wells Fargo Bank. Just tell them you would like to make a deposit into Ron L. Berg’s account with his birthday of 12-6-85 and tell them he lives in Soda Springs.

Judge our Directcom Halloween Office Costume Contest


TRICK OR TREAT at your local Directcom office

Come TRICK OR TREAT at your local DIRECT COMMUNICATIONS office in Paris, Rockland, or Eagle Mountain Utah, from 2-4 PM, HALLOWEEN, FRIDAY OCTOBER 31. We will have lots of treats for the kids.

Here’s a look at some of the best Halloween costumes created by Directcom employees over the years.

Directcom Sponsors Frontier Middle School Hope Squad Program – 2014

October 2014, Eagle Mountain Utah

Direct Communications, Eagle Mountain’s local fiber broadband company, once again sponsored the Frontier Middle School Hope Squad Program for the 2014/2015 school year.  This program, launched in 2013 with a donation from Direct Communications, was designed to help combat and prevent bullying at the school.

Hope Squad is made up of peer-selected students who are trained by school counselors on how to respond and handle a student situation, such as another student telling them they are considering suicide. The counselors are then notified, and will be able to handle the situation appropriately. Hope Squad allows students to share personal information with their peers in a safe environment so they can get the necessary help they need.  The money donated by Direct Communications will be used for program fees, such as enrollment, shirts, banners and other signage.

IMG_0631.JPG

Direct Communications Marketing Director, Brigham Griffin, presents a check to Frontier Middle School Principal Scott Sumner, and Assistant Principal Kevin Henshaw, at Frontier Middle School in Eagle Mountain.

Frontier Middle School Principal Scott Sumner stated: “The generous donations by Direct Communications make many of the programs we do at Frontier Middle School possible. Our hope squad is an exact recipient, and makes it possible to provide hope for kids, and to provide training for success in life, and for what is possible in life. Thank you, Direct Communications.”

Besides being a community partner for education at the school, Direct Communications also services Frontier Middle School with a 1 Gigabit fiber optic connection.

The Directcom Connection: Fall 2014 Customer Newsletter

Fall 2014 Customer Newsletter for Idaho Customers
Faster Speeds for Cable Customers after Network Upgrade
Direct Communications Cable completed a system-wide network upgrade during Summer 2014 that will allow residents in all cable franchise towns served by the company to receive up to 20 megabit-per-second internet speeds. This upgrade to DOCSIS 3.0 means more bandwidth available for everyone, and more consistent speeds, especially during peak hours. Read more…

Directcom Sponsors Idaho High Schools Sports – 2014 Edition

Direct Communications donated $500 to each of the High School Athletic Programs within the company’s service areas again at the end of the 2013/2014 school year. Direct Communications has an ongoing program to support local high school athletics in the communities served by the broadband company, and offers incentive for student athletes to earn donations for their schools through their participation and own extra effort in all varsity games. Read more…

New Idaho Outages Calendar


Check out our new Outages calendar, which contains details on all outages in Directcom service areas in Idaho. Customers who are experiencing internet problems can check the outages calendar to see if there are any system-wide problems in their town before calling tech support. Read more…

Fiber Roll-out Continues in Rockland

The upgrade of Rockland from copper to Fiber-to-the-Home continues with the northern half of town under construction this year. What is the most challenging part of this project? Read More…

Cow Steps on Fiber- Knocks Out Cell Tower

In one of those moments unique to rural telecommunications, a cow stepped on some fiber optic cable that was exposed during some maintenance work last month in a pasture near the Cold Water area along the Snake River. Read More…

Customers Attend Internet Safety Class


Directcom hosted a community workshop in September demonstrating how to set up internet content filters. Customers from Paris, Fish Haven and Montpelier learned specific ways to block unwanted internet content through their router ensuring devices using the home WiFi network would be protected. If you have a specific request for a topic you would like us to instruct on, please send us your ideas. Read More…

Welcome to New Hires

Brenden Argyle

Direct Communications welcomes Bear Lake County native, Brenden Argyle, to the team as a new installation and combo tech.
Read more…

Matthew Kulicke
Matthew Kulicke hired as a new CSR/Sales Representative in our Paris Office. Matt genuinely likes working with people and loves the feeling of accomplishment when he has been able to help them. Read more…

Refer-a-Friend. Get $100.


Click here to refer your friends to us; help them get better internet service, and earn $100 per referral. Just send us their contact information, and we will do all the work for you. Your friend will be contacted within 2 business days by a Directcom representative. Refer as many friends as you like—you may never have to pay for internet service again.

Cable Customers: Now get UNLIMITED LOCAL AND LONG DISTANCE CALLING FROM YOUR HOME PHONE FOR ONLY $24.95 A MONTH.

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Bear Lake Customers Attend Internet Safety (Filtering) Class

Jeremy Smith teaches about internet filers in the Paris Office conference room.

Jeremy Smith teaches about internet filers in the Paris Office conference room.

On September 18th, Jeremy Smith, our General Manager, taught a community workshop demonstrating how to set up internet content filters.   Customers from Paris, Fish Haven and Montpelier learned specific ways to block unwanted internet content through their router ensuring devices using the home wifi network would be protected.  This class is part of an ongoing effort by Direct Communications to increase customers’ understanding of technology and how to use it as a beneficial tool.

More classes will be offered on a variety of topics in the future. If you have a specific request for a topic you would like us to instruct on, please leave your ideas in the comments below.

Help Solve a Vandalism Crime in Eagle Mountain

20140918-fiber-cut-street-view

On the morning of September 18, 2014, a vandalism crime targeting the fiber communications network in Eagle Mountain occurred, on the West side of Nolan park, at the SW corner of Tinamous Road & Red Hawk Ranch Road. A vandal got into a telecommunications pedestal, (see inserted picture of green metal box) and cut the fiber inside. This happened in broad daylight, and knocked out all internet to the Ranches Academy Elementary School.

Above-ground enclosure used for splicing, mounting of cross-connect systems, terminal blocks, and other telco equipment.

This above-ground enclosure was broken into and the fiber that was cut by a vandal.

We need your help. If you saw anyone opening that box this morning, please call:
Utah County Sheriff 801-794-3970
FBI 801-579-1400
or Direct Communications 801-789-2800.

Active case number 14UC09562.

location of fiber cut crime

location of fiber cut crime

Cow Steps on Fiber- Knocks Out Cell Tower

Today the average cow in the U.S. weighs 1350 pounds.

Today the average cow in the U.S. weighs 1350 pounds.

In one of those moments unique to rural telecommunications, a cow stepped on some fiber optic cable that was exposed during some maintenance work last month in a pasture near the Cold Water area along the Snake River. The weight of the cow hoof kinked the fiber optic cable and temporarily knocked out service to a nearby cell tower, which was served by the fiber optic cable.

Matt Farr, engineer for Directcom explained: “Usually our fiber is safely buried 4 feet underground, encased in conduit, and protected in vaults with 20,000 lb load ratings, but unfortunately a cow came along just at the wrong time. Our crew was preparing for some scheduled maintenance later that night and had laid some cable slack out on the ground. The cows in these part seem to know when and how to create the greatest amount of havoc for the bipeds, which made it even more difficult to explain to the customer, a big national carrier, that a cow was responsible for taking down their tower. They have very strict standards and procedures regarding downtime and it’s a big deal if tower service is ever affected. Cows don’t really figure into their equations.
It all worked out in the end as our crew, out of necessity, had to start and consequently compete their maintenance work ahead of schedule. Not a method of expediting a project that I would recommend, but sometimes in rural Idaho you have to run with the stampede.”

FREE INTERNET SAFETY CLASS

FREE INTERNET SAFETY CLASS – ALL WELCOME

PROTECT YOUR HOME FROM UNWANTED INTERNET CONTENT

family internet safety classWHEN:
Thursday, September 18, 2014 11 am – Noon

WHERE:
Direct Communications, Paris Office
648 ½ N Main St., Paris, ID

Practical step-by-step demonstration of how to set up FREE customized filters to keep a wide range of content from being accessed through your internet.

Childcare available – please call us at 945-8035 to reserve a space for your children.

This class is part of an ongoing effort by Direct Communications to increase customers’ understanding of technology and how it use it as a beneficial tool.  More classes will be offered on a variety of topics in the future.

Update on Rockland Fiber to the Home Construction Project

Plowing in conduit for fiber optic cable along Center street in Rockland

Plowing in conduit for fiber optic cable along Center street in Rockland

Fiber Optic Cable is coming to your home soon.

Updated September 17, 2014:  

Rockland Idaho – Matt Farr – Project Engineer: “We have completed installation to all of the homes in the southwest quadrant of town, and everybody along the highway south of town, up to Scott Hendrickson.

We also have about about 20 homes installed in the south east quadrant of town, primarily  the ones between Main Street and Pine on both sides of the alley. We are working on the remaining homes in that section of town.

We have also constructed fiber in the north east quadrant of town around the school, east from school and also around the entire bench area. Most of these have a drop cable installed to the house, but the fiber has not actually been spliced, so those homes are still connected via DSL until we cut them over to the new fiber.

Our construction crew is currently also working in the west quadrant of town, where we have about half of the homes in that area completed. (This is around the Spruce Street area, and down Willow Street. Later this fall will be going down Creamery Road and picking up all those homes. We hope by the end of the year to also complete  a fiber build out to the R-corner, and pick up a few more homes along the highway.

Our biggest challenge in upgrading our exchange area to fiber has actually been with the final installation of the new internet service inside the home. A lot of the older homes need new wiring inside and we have had to be creative in finding different routes to get through these homes to the routers and the computers, and just the general set up of the ONT and Wi-Fi in the home has been slow. We also had to bore under the Rock Creek several times  (six times already) in our construction, and we still have a couple more bores to do, so that’s always a bit of a challenge because we have to bore about 15 to 20 feet deep to make sure we’re under the riverbed.”

June 10, 2013-
Direct Communications crews completed burying the main conduit routes throughout the southwest quadrant of town. The southeast quadrant of the project includes 25 homes which will be  upgraded from existing copper plant to new fiber optic cable directly to the home.

Mid- June 2013, Direct Communications crews will start on the southeast quadrant of town, which is south of center street and east of main street. This part of the upgrade project will include 51 homes.

2013-rockland city fiber project

2013-rockland city fiber project, showing where new fiber lines will be buried, along with neighborhood handholds, and the drops to each home.

Directcom will be hosting an open house at their Rockland office on Tuesday July 9, from 5pm-7pm, to answer any questions customers may have about this fiber upgrade. Refreshments will be served.

Matt Farr, operations manager for Direct Communications, explained that this project would be rolled out in various phases. “The first task is to bury the main conduit 48″deep along the city streets, and place all the fiber handholds, which are kind of like manholes where all the fiber will converge for each neighborhood.  While one crew is laying the main grid, another crew will be plowing in the individual conduit drops to each home, and together this will take most of the summer.  This ripping or plowing process is designed to be very customer yard-friendly—we purchased a small maxi-sneaker that will just feed in a plastic conduit into a very thin trench, about 18″ deep, which is opened up by a blade. No reseeding of grass will even be necessary. The new drops to each home will follow the path of the existing copper wire in most cases. Sometime towards Fall the actual fiber optic cable will be blown into the underground plastic conduit, and the final fiber cable drop going to each home will need to be spliced back into the main cables going to each neighborhood node. After that, a new fiber electronics box will mounted inside of each home, which will convert the digital light signals sent over the fiber, into an Ethernet signal which can be read by home computers. We hope to start hooking up internet customers on their new fiber internet connections probably sometime during September.”

Here is a general summary of the project steps:

  1. Phase 1: Bury main conduit 48” deep along the city streets,
  2. Phase 2:  Place all the fiber hand holds (manholes where all the fiber will converge for each neighborhood.)
  3. Phase 3: Plow in individual conduit drops to each home. (½” plastic conduit into a thin trench, about 18” deep. The new drops to each home will follow the path of the existing copper wire in most cases.
  4. Phase 4: Blow fiber optic cable through the underground plastic conduit.
  5. Phase 5: Splice  final fiber cable drop going to each home back into the main cables going to each neighborhood node.
  6. Phase 6: Install new fiber electronics inside central office to feed homes.
  7. Phase 7: Mount new fiber NID (network interface device) on the outside of each home, near the old copper NID.
  8. Phase 8: Connect a new fiber ONT (optic network terminal), to be placed inside of each home, to outside fiber NID. This ONT will convert the digital light signals sent over the fiber, into an Ethernet signal which can be read by home computers.
Laying fiber conduit along Rockland center street

Laying fiber conduit along Rockland center street

Farr explained that there will actually be two new fiber boxes deployed to each home. On the outside of each home near the old copper NID (network interface device) the company would mount a  simple plastic box to act as a splitter, where the fiber from the street would meet a fiber to go inside the customer home. Inside the home, the company will provide a fiber ONT (optic network terminal) that will have a built in wireless router, in order to broadcast the high speed internet signal conveniently throughout the home, and customers could connect to the fiber directly via WiFi using their smartphones, tablets, or laptops, without needing to purchase an additional wireless router themselves. The ONT will also have two ports for phone service, and four ethernet ports, which a customer could use to directly wire any devices to the router. This ONT will need to be located close to a power receptacle inside, since it must be constantly powered for the electronics to function. The ONT does operate on a provided battery back-up, so that in the case of a power failure, phone and internet service will continue to function.

Farr wants to place the new ONT on the inside wall directly behind the existing copper NID if possible, so they can use the customers existing inside copper phone wiring for telephone service. On a fiber network, separate lines are required inside the home for the phone and internet service. Where necessary, because many older homes have inside telephone wiring that is not compatible with the new fiber equipment, Directcom techs may also need to run new CAT5 ethernet cable from the new fiber electronics box to a phone or ethernet jack inside the home, to make sure that customers will continue to receive both telephone and internet service. Customers may also have the option of paying a premium to have new CAT5 network cable run to various inside locations of their choice.

“We realize every home is going to present a different situation, with different wiring, so we will have to be flexible. Our end goal is to make sure the customer has an even better internet connection than they have currently on DSL.”

If you have any concerns or questions about this fiber project and how it will affect you, please call our main office at 208 548 2345.

 

A Message from Jeremy Smith:

Fiber Technology and Your Future

This summer you will see our crews working in your neighborhood. These are exciting times for our company and our customers.

We are now in the process of steadily upgrading older neighborhoods that were previously on copper, to fiber. Arbon is complete. During 2013 and 2014 we will be working on upgrading Rockland. We have a 5-year plan to convert all of our exchange areas from Bear Lake to Rockland to 100% fiber to the home, as long as the Federal government continues to support rural telecommunications. This is obviously going to be an enormous project, requiring millions in investment dollars, but we feel that each person in our rural exchange areas deserves fiber to the home.

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

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

-Jeremy Smith -General Manager, Direct Communications

To find out more about why fiber will improve your internet service quality, see http://www.directcom.com/fiber-brochure.htm

Frequently asked questions: Fiber-To-The-Home Technology

How will a fiber connection improve my life?
Faster Speeds. Increased Reliability. Unlimited bandwidth. This is the most advanced method on the planet to deliver high-speed internet. Fiber is a great economic leveler for rural residents. Your home will have the same advanced connectivity as the most high-tech building in any major financial district in the world. Imagine a world where you can stream HD video to as many devices simultaneously as you want to without any buffering. Imagine a world where your internet service never goes down, and you never have to waste time calling tech support. This perfect connection can be yours with fiber optic cable. The fiber line running to your home from the main cable contains just a few strands of fiber, but those strands could theoretically carry all the information in the Western USA. We have the ability to provide up to 100MB per second to each home in the network. Fiber-optic cable carries an all-digital signal, and is better suited to today’s digital communication devices. Fiber optics are the future of communications, because both copper and wireless will eventually max out on the bandwidth people will require. Eventually, all media will be delivered as internet data. You will be ready for that future.

Do I need a modem with Fiber-to-the-home internet service?
No. Your fiber connection does not require a modem. Just plug your computer network cable directly into our optical network device, (ONT) mounted on the outside of your home, and you will be instantly connected directly to our network via pure ethernet.
50 Mb internet

Does my home need to be wired differently to take advantage of fiber-to-the-home?
The new fiber ONT separates the phone and internet signal, so they will need to travel over separate wires inside your home. We will run a new Cat5 cable into your home and install our service to one phone jack and one ethernet jack at a convenient location inside your home, so that you can hook up your phone, and computer or router.

Is a fiber network more expensive to build than copper? 
The price of fiber optic cable is now comparable to copper. The real expense with fiber is in the advanced electronics. The ONT (optical network device) that fits onto the outside of the home, is very expensive, because it’s a far more sophisticated system than the old copper devices. However, there is less maintenance required on a fiber network than copper, so over the years, it will save us, and our customers, a lot of money.

Will I be charged for the installation of fiber to my home?
No. We cover the full cost of the construction of the fiber and installing the new equipment on your home to connect the fiber. We will also waive the final service installation fee when it comes time for you to hook up your computer to our broadband service, with a 1-year commitment.

How is fiber optic cable installed? 
First, we bore, or plow in plastic conduit underground, which is a good method because it has very little environmental impact. We then blow the fiber optic cable through the conduit using compressed air moving at very high speeds. The high-velocity air flow causes the cable to float, and that way we can feed it through very easily. Where the fiber needs to be spliced to serve homes, we put in handholds, or buried manholes with loops of fiber, where we can branch off and pick up those new homes in the future.

Why a buried fiber network?
Buried networks are all about Reliability, Reliability, Reliability! You can count on your fiber conenction to work, from fire, to blizzard, to windstorm. Directcom’s fiber network is 100% buried—no wireless backhauls or downed lines to worry about. In the recent wildfires that damaged or wiped out many other providers communications lines in Idaho, Direct Communications was unaffected since all of our fiber network is safely buried.

Will Fiber increase the Value of my home?
Fiber to the home could increase the value of your home by as much as $5,000, according to the Fiber-to-the-Home Council. Our investment in your home means more money in your pocket. More importantly, fiber to your home means a higher quality of life for you in this digital information age, where so much of what we do to enrich our lives has moved online. More internet speed means more fun.
Fiber will also naturally lead to more economic development in your areas due to the advanced technology and internet commerce opportunities available in the area. This is especially important in rural areas, where a gap has traditionally existed in diverse economic opportunities—but in our new information economy—fiber puts us all on the same footing.
fiber means more speed

Will fiber increase my monthly rate?
No. Your fiber upgrade will not increase your Internet or telephone rates, unless a customer chooses to upgrade their features or speed.

Will new equipment be installed at my home?
Yes. The old Network Interface Device (NID) you currently have will be replaced by a slightly larger Optical Network Terminal (ONT). The ONT coverts the optical signal to ethernet. This unit will also contain the power supply and battery back up for the electronics. The ONT requires electricity. Since fiber cannot carry an electric power charge like copper used to, a battery back-up is required to power your phone service in the event of a general power outage. This battery is designed to last for 8 or more hours, depending on phone usage. Typically, the electronics use .001 kwh per month.

Will getting fiber to my home disturb my yard or property?
Though we may sometimes be required to dig across your yard to bury a new fiber line, our goal is to treat your property as if it were our own. Often, we will have buried conduit already in place. We will be always strive to promptly restore your property to a condition as close to original as possible. We will typically follow the path of existing copper lines during the upgrade. However, homeowners should also understand that your lot came with legal easements registered to each home, for power, water and communications, and anything planted or built over these easements will always be in danger of being disturbed or removed by any public utility companies. Remember to always call Digline at 811 before you dig.

What should I expect during the upgrade?
Although we began several years ago laying the necessary main conduit to each neighborhood, this last phase involves placing fiber or conduit all the way to your home. We will be making our way door to door to do a site survey and to let you know when your fiber connection is ready for service. When everything is in place, we will need to schedule an appointment with you for the final hookup to the network inside your home. We will need an adult present at that time.

Direct Communications Hires Local Tech Brenden Argyle

argyle IMG_1106

Brenden Argyle of Paris Idaho

Direct Communications welcomes Bear Lake County native, Brenden Argyle, to the team as a new installation and combo tech. In his role as a tech, Brenden will be responsible for field installation and troubleshooting of high speed internet, cable TV and phone service in the Bear Lake area.

Brenden is familiar with various wireless routers, including Linksys, Netgear, and Belkin, comes trained in use of cat-5 and coax cable, and is familiar with both PC and Apple products. Brenden’s prior experience includes working for Digis, Satellite Solutions, and U.S.D.A. Forest Service as a Firefighter.

Please say hi to Brenden as you see him working in the area, and congratulate him on the new job.

Direct Communications Hires New Local Customer Service Rep, Matthew Kulicke.

Picture1Direct Communications in Idaho is pleased to welcome Matthew Kulicke to
Direct Communications as the afternoon CSR/Sales Representative in our Paris Office.

Matthew comes to us with 4 years experience in customer service. He most recently worked
for Allstate Roadside Services as a CSR and previously in Sony PlayStation’s Tech Support.

Matt genuinely likes working with people and loves the feeling of accomplishment when he
has been able to help them. His family is very important to him and he likes spending time in
nature hunting and fishing.

WELCOME, MATTHEW KULICKE!

Directcom Sponsors Idaho High Schools Sports – 2014 Edition

Bear Lake High School student athletes and staff accept a sponsorship check for $500 from Direct Communications.

Bear Lake High School student athletes and staff accept a sponsorship check for $500 from Direct Communications.

Direct Communications donated $500 to each of the High School Athletic Programs within the company’s service areas again at the end of the 2013/2014 school year. Direct Communications has an ongoing program to support local high school athletics in the communities served by the broadband company, and offers incentive for student athletes to earn donations for their schools  through their participation and own extra effort in all varsity games.

Daniel Parrish of Direct Communications presents Preston High School athletes with a sponsorship check for $500.

Daniel Parrish of Direct Communications presents Preston High School athletes with a sponsorship check for $500.

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

Directcom schools program coordinator, Daniel Parrish, said he was grateful to all the ADs, principals and superintendents who had been very open and helpful. “They all were very gracious about making us part of their school family.”

Aberdeen High School student athletes accept a sponsorship check for $500 from Direct Communications. — with Daniel Parrish at Aberdeen High School.

Aberdeen High School student athletes accept a sponsorship check for $500 from Direct Communications. — with Daniel Parrish at Aberdeen High School.

Parrish stated that although donations of this nature often require earmarks, Direct Communications has placed no restrictions or requirements on these donations, and the schools are free to use the money however they think is best.

Daniel Parrish presents Grace High School athletes with a sponsorship check for $500.

Grace High School athletes with a sponsorship check for $500.

Although none of the schools reported a points aggregate this past year above the $500 guaranteed donation which Direct Communications had pledged to each school, Jeremy Smith, General Manager for Direct Communications in Idaho, said he enjoyed the ongoing relationship between the broadband company and School District. “As local service provider, we try to build up every community that we serve. Supporting schools makes good sense for both our businesses and our communities.  High speed internet and education go hand in hand, so we view these types of donations as a win-win.” He reminded school administrators that Direct Communications can now provide circuit speeds up to 1Gig upon request.

Daniel Parrish presents North Gem High School athletes with a sponsorship check for $500.  - in Bancroft Idaho

Daniel Parrish presents North Gem High School athletes with a sponsorship check for $500.
– in Bancroft Idaho

Farewell to Our Friend, Robby Steele. We Will Miss You.

Robby Steele- photo courtesy of Chet Steele

We at Direct Communications mourn the loss of our dear friend, co-worker, and vital member of our Direct Communications family, Robby Steele, who died in an accident in Delta while volunteering at Millard County’s demolition derby on the Fourth of July 2014, at the Millard County fairgrounds. Robby–you left far too soon, and we will miss you always.

Our thoughts and prayers are with his family this week, and although our internet service will continue uninterrupted, our office will be closed to walk-ins on Monday, and will be completely closed most of  Thursday to allow all employees to attend Robby’s funeral. We hope you will be patient with us as we allow our employees time to grieve.

Robby represented all that was good in America. He was a dedicated family man, a hard worker, an innovator, a volunteer, and a contributor in every way. We will all miss Robby’s unmistakable smile, laughter, his strength, and great sense of humor–he had that rare ability to make everyone feel instantly like you were his best friend.

Robby managed all the network mapping systems, and was a vital part of all engineering and tech projects, decision making, and everyday business at Direct Communications. The  loss of his experience and knowledge of the network and systems in Eagle Mountain will obviously be a tremendous challenge for us as a company.

Robby commuted from Nephi to Eagle Mountain for work every day for the past 7 years, having been with Direct Communications since May of 2007, but was involved with the development of Eagle Mountain for even several years before then with telecommunications consulting firm MidStates.

Robby Steele -2nd from far right, at our 2013 company Christmas party.

Robby Steele -2nd from far right, at our 2013 company Christmas party.

All residents of Eagle Mountain have lost a key contributor to the development of the fiber network here in the city with the passing of Robby Steele. Robby was truly dedicated to the cause of making the network in Eagle Mountain exceptional, and always strived for 100% accuracy in all of his work, would never settle, and always had the courage to speak his mind if he thought we could do better as a company.

Do you have a memory of Robby you would like to share? We invite all to post comments and tributes below, or on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/directcom.eaglemtn.

For related articles about Robby see:

http://fox13now.com/2014/07/05/man-dies-in-accident-at-millard-countys-demolition-derby-organizers-say/

Direct Communications Hires New Local Eagle Mountain Tech – Landon Beatty

Direct Communications is very pleased to welcome another local Eagle Mountain resident, Landon Beatty, as a full-time employee on the growing Directcom tech team.

New Directcom Employee Landon Beatty

New Directcom Employee Landon Beatty

Landon’s responsibilities as a Combo Tech will include customer fiber optic and phone service installations, level 2 tech support, and plant/network and equipment maintenance.

Landon comes to Directcom after several years as a communications specialist with US Army Reserve, where he maintained the detachment’s computer and radio systems, as well as trained other techs and soldiers on how to use the units communications systems.  Prior to that he served in the regular US Army Armor Division as an Assistant Tank Commander, maintaining the communications systems, guns and ammunition for his Abrams Tank. For several years he also ran his own business designing and installing custom home theater systems, installing not only the wiring and technology, but even designing and building the custom wood cabinets and trim. We are thus very confident that our customers in Eagle Mountain will be in good hands when Landon is doing a home internet install.

Landon stated: “I am really enjoying getting back to civilian life, and working close to home. In my past career my installations have always been all around the country, and it’s great to be working in a single, local area, where my customers are my neighbors and I can build a long-term relationship with them. So far the techs have been great, the customers have all been great to work with, and I am having a really good time.”

Landon has lived in Eagle Mountain for 2 years. Landon originally hails from Hurricane Utah, and attended Hurricane High School and UVSC. If you see Landon out in the field, be sure to say hi and congratulate him on the new job.

We still currently have open positions for more techs to ensure we always can meet the needs of our growing customer base in Eagle Mountain, so please apply at Directcom.com or see https://blog.directcom.com/2014/04/14/immediate-opening-combo-tech-eagle-mountain-utah/. We prefer to hire Eagle Mountain residents, so strongly encourage all locals to apply to work at Direct Communications, your local Eagle Mountain ISP, or Eagle Mountain internet service provider.

Paris Open House – Friday June 13-Free Food, Free Fun, and Fiber Optic Cable.

Direct Communications will be hosting an open house for all Bear Lake County residents on Friday June 13, 2014 from 11am to 4pm, at our newly remodeled Paris office, 648 1/2 North Main, Paris, Idaho. This will also serve as a grand re-opening of our remodeled office.

Join us for free food, snowcones,  fun, prizes and games for the kids, including an inflatable water slide. Come and see our remodeled office, with a new conference room that will be available for approved community use. Meet our new local employees, Jennifer Pope, Dustin Keetch, and Krystal Bruce.

Our open house will include displays and information about Fiber Optic cable technology, and how it is improving life and communications in the Bear Lake area. Our managers, engineers, and project managers will be on hand to answer all your questions about when fiber is coming to your neighborhood. Keith Martindale of KVSI will be doing a local radio broadcast from the event.

For more information please call 208 548 2345.

 

Join us for the grand opening of our remodeled Paris Idaho office and open house.

Join us for the grand opening of our remodeled Paris Idaho office and open house.

 

2014 Pony Express Days Report

The happiest week of the year for our marketing department, Pony Express Days, is over once again. Like previous years, Directcom was a festival sponsor, and we reflected that we have been a corporate sponsor each year for over 10 years now. Although the City celebration was scaled back this year, this was Directcom’s biggest year ever as far as the parade was concerned, and we decided to try direct most of our advertising budget towards throwing out lots of free candy and toys along the parade route, and try give the folks something to remember. We threw out literally thousands of t-shirts, frisbees, and wristbands, and two new items this year: megaphones for the girls, and foam swords for the boys.

We began the week with a customer focus group, which we find is always a good way to set the mood for Pony Express Days. This year we invited customers who were subscribing to symmetrical speeds, and the very highest speeds, 100Mb and 50Mb, to attend our session, so we could find out more about what makes people choose premium speeds, and how they felt we were doing in meeting the needs of super users in Eagle Mountain. They provided us with some good insights, suggestions and discussion, and we provided them with dinner and some insider information into our future plans. Thank-you again to the customers who took the time to attend this session.

Directcom Ape throws out bananas to the crowd.

One of the most fascinating parts of this parade for us is how much people love to catch bananas from our Directcom ape (which started as a parody of 2001 Space Odyssey and represents the evolution of broadband to fiber technology.) This ape throwing bananas tradition began back in 2009 quite by accident, when he threw out an extra banana he was eating that year  just for fun, and the crowd went wild. Every year since then, we have thrown out more and more bananas, and this year our ape distributed three very large boxes during the parade. At the booth this year we had a couple of extra bananas sitting on the desk, and a father and daughter came by to ask a question, and we offered the child a banana. She was not interested in the healthy alternative to the candy on our desk until Diane (our office manager) told her that our parade monkey had actually touched these very bananas, and suddenly her face lit up and she eagerly snatched up the banana and began peeling it. Thanks to Troy for being the ape again–it is not a job for the faint-hearted–it can get very hot in that costume under the blazing desert sun, especially while dancing and surfing on top of a van and throwing out hundreds of bananas.

Ben Hayes, Outside Sale Exec for Directcom, presents a Smart TV to Nathan and Sarah Jensen- winners of this year’s Pony Express Days customer giveaway. They will be streaming video in style. –At Nolan Park in Eagle Mountain

Each year we hold a drawing for current customers, and give away a TV at the end of the week. This year the prize was a 40″ Vizio Smart TV, which fits well with our brand position of Faster Streaming Broadband. We try to encourage our customers to stream and watch as much online video as possible, because we have noticed that the more people use their internet for entertainment purposes, the more likely they are to be Direct Communications customers, because we are the only provider in Eagle Mountain that does not limit the amount of data (i.e. streaming movies) people can use each month. In the past we have done paper tickets, but this year we required an online entry, which was hopefully more convenient for both us and our customers.

Direct Communications employees and family at the Pony Express Days 5K run.

Each year we pay for several of our employees and their families to run in the 5K on Saturday morning. Kip Wilson, our General Manager, is a running enthusiast, and came away this year with a great idea for how to spice up the race in 2015. He is thinking about introducing an incentive like: every customer who finishes in front of him in the 5K next year will receive a free month of internet service. Would that give you extra motivation during your run?

Ben Hayes ready to answer questions at our booth in Nolan Park.

This was a relatively quiet year for us at the booth in the park, because we were not running any large sales promos like we have sometimes done in years past. (Some of you may have received a free Xbox or Wii simply for signing up back in the day.)  These days, new fiber is the message people want to hear, and rather than invest in sales promotions, we plough all available resources into upgrading copper lines to fiber. By far the most common question people asked at the booth was: “When is Fiber coming to my neighborhood?” We were even pleased to see a competitor with a booth set up just down the aisle from us, because it was clear evidence that contrary to some complaints, there is no internet monopoly in Eagle Mountain.

Superheros and super villains join Directcom for the parade. We say you can unleash your online superpowers with fiber optic broadband.

Thanks again to our superhero friend Tim who makes his own amazing costumes and marches in the parade each year with us. We would like to thank the City for again hosting this great event, and also say good job to the new event Coordinator at the City, Chasity Glenn, and her intern, Tia Trusty, who took good care of the sponsors and made sure everything went smoothly. We enjoyed being near the front of the parade. As a small local business, we must admit we enjoyed the scaled-back version of Pony Express Days–it was more like the old days, with mainly just local businesses as sponsors, locals attending, and a real small-town feel.

See you all again next year during Pony Express Days, and please comment below if you have any suggestions on how Directcom can make next year’s event even better.

Why Are Some Homes In Eagle Mountain Still On Copper Instead Of Fiber?

“What is the holdup?“ asked Eagle Mountain resident Don Mallicoat recently on Facebook. This is an excellent question, which many customers in Eagle Mountain who are still on DSL (copper) connections, are probably asking. Why are some homes in Eagle Mountain still on copper, while most are being served with fiber to the home? What is preventing Direct Communications from taking fiber to every home today?

The very short answer is simply: money, and the sheer cost of the citywide upgrade.

The slightly more expanded answer is specifically: cash flow.

The more complex answer, that requires some real explanation, is government regulation of our industry, and how the business model of rural telecom works.

Firstly, let’s be clear—we wish we already had fiber to every home in Eagle Mountain. If we could wave a magic wand, we would make that happen today. Our research and data shows that fiber customers are more satisfied with their service, irrespective of the bandwidth package to which they are subscribing. Further, our data indicates that fiber customers cost less in maintenance and customer support. Our goal is to upgrade every home to fiber as quickly as possible because it is better for our customers, the community, and us.

When Directcom purchased the previously city-owned network from Eagle Mountain City in 2006, the number of houses with fiber to the home was 0.

The number of homes in Eagle Mountain with fiber to the home is now several thousand. So, we have made progress, but yes, there are still neighborhoods we need to convert from DSL to Fiber.

The company has already upgraded about half of the older subdivisions from copper to fiber; however, due to simple budget constraints, we cannot run it to everyone at once. Over the past few years, Directcom has been able to upgrade about 300 older homes a year to fiber, while at the same time kept up with fiber construction to all new subdivisions. During 2013 the company upgraded Cedar Trails, Sage Valley, and the Eagle Landing subdivisions from Copper to Fiber lines. During 2014 we are upgrading Pioneer and Mountain View. By the end of 2014 we should be completely done with the city center upgrade.

Since 2006, we have invested about $24 million into network assets. (This is public information that can be can be sought from the State Tax Commission.) This should give some perspective into the cost of building a modern fiber network. Where does all that money come from? Not from your internet bill, but keep reading, and we will answer that later.

Some background: Direct Communications bought the former Eagle Mountain Telecom in 2006, after the city had tried for many years to sell off its telephone network. The cost of building and maintaining a telephone network was driving the city slowly towards bankruptcy, and Direct Communications, a private telecom provider with a business model that works for remote areas, stepped up and offered a solution for residents of Eagle Mountain, and Directcom paid off the Municipal Bonds which had financed the City’s network. Direct Communications originally bought the network from the City for $6.3 million, and every year since then we have invested significant resources into upgrading the network plant to fiber optic lines, and upgrading switches, electronics and equipment to power the fiber.

So, what is preventing us from upgrading all the homes to fiber in the same year?

Like all businesses, we work within certain constraints. Our available budget is one constraint. Acquiring capital is a major constraint. For us, and most small businesses, managing cash flow is a major constraint. A small company can easily go bankrupt by growing too fast and not having the cash flow to keep up with growth, because of the time lag between investment and recovery on that investment. That lag needs to be financed. Most fast-growing startups must be fueled by outside investment capital, especially those with high construction costs like communications networks. Without this, they would not have the cash flow to even pay their employees because of this time lag. Directcom, essentially still a startup, must finance most of its network growth and upgrades through borrowing from banks and government entities devoted to lending to rural institutions. Borrowing the millions of dollars needed for upgrades is not easy, and very tight government regulation of our industry makes it especially challenging to acquire financing. Put simply, we just can’t get our hands on the huge amount of money needed to do all the upgrades at once.

An important piece of this puzzle is to understand that end consumers themselves could never pay for the real cost of bringing fiber to their homes under pure market forces in a community this size. Clear evidence to demonstrate this claim is that there no other wireline provider in Eagle Mountain.   However, rest assured, Eagle Mountain citizens, that we are truly the only provider who really loves you, because we are here with you and working diligently to bring fiber optic connectivity to every home and business. This is our only market, and Direct Communications Cedar Valley has no interest outside of Eagle Mountain. You are our only customers.

We should mention the need to build and scale the network in a technologically sound way.  Switching everyone all at once would drastically impact our network, resulting in months or years of chaos and a bad consumer experience for everyone in Eagle Mountain until we stabilized everything again.   We want to build it well, not just for today but for decades to come.  That along with identifying trouble/aged areas in the network is the primary determinant in where to upgrade and how to improve the network. The upgrades have to be carried out in a manageable fashion that will fit within capabilities, and our financing model.

Direct Communications makes their investment in fiber construction back over several decades. We borrow to build the network, and then during those decades of cost recovery, an FCC program pays a specified rate of return, which provides the incentive to invest in remote areas, and allows us to pay back the debt. Without this program, Eagle Mountain would not have a fiber network at all, and we would not have a viable business model. (Also worth noting is that there is a several year gap between when we put fiber into the ground and when it is allowed to start being recovered on under the FCC program.) Of course, along with this federal cost recovery program, comes federal regulation—a lot of it. In spite of the very real and genuine challenges resulting from cash constraints, burdensome government regulations, and ever increasing network demands, we are excited about the accelerated deployment of fiber to the homes that we’re pursuing in order to continue providing premier internet experiences for our customers now, and to prepare for the way people will use the internet in the future.   It is often trendy to trash government regulation and by no means are we fans of a great deal of it, but in rural communities where there is no viable business model for the deployment of fiber networks the model of a regulated monopoly makes the most economic and social sense.  It ensures a provider of a business model that incents investment and then a statewide regulatory authority regulates the monopoly to protect the consumers who have no other choice where to go for wireline services.

So, we will continue to slowly but steadily upgrade from copper to fiber as the business model allows. If you are already on fiber, know that you are enjoying the most advanced broadband technology available anywhere in the world.  If you are one of the customers still on copper, try to console yourself with the fact that you do have fiber to your neighborhood or street node. Only the last few feet through your yard to your home are actually still copper lines. We currently deploy the latest VDSL equipment to maximize the copper technology, and you can choose 20Mb DSL speeds, which is enough to stream about 3 Netflix movies at the same time. We are currently looking at increasing that copper offering to a 30Mb download to tide you over until we get fiber to your home. Someday every home in Eagle Mountain will have fiber all the way to the home, and the happiest people of all will probably be the employees of Direct Communications, your local broadband provider.

(Special thanks to Kip Wilson, General Manager, and Michael Parrish, Accounting Manager, for their contributions to this article.)

Installing Chrome Logo Signage as Part of our Paris Office Remodel

This winter we have been busy updating, repainting and remodeling our Paris, Idaho office, located about 8 miles north of the white sands of Bear Lake. Thank you to all of our local customers and  employees who have helped on this project. Once we are done, we hope to invite all the residents of Bear Lake Valley to a ribbon-cutting and open house to see the new office. Once known as the Paris Community Center, our new Paris office is still available for special community event use, and will have a new conference room in the back for various community education classes. Yesterday we installed some new cubicles for our local techs to use, and a chrome logo on the back wall.  Special thanks to the pros at SignUp Signs & Graphics in Pocatello , who hand-crafted the chrome 3-D lettering. Anyway, this is how the sign was installed:

Positioning the template on the wall

Positioning the template on the wall

The vinyl template is stuck to the wall with front and back covering removed.The vinyl template is stuck to the wall with front and back covering removed. This was the most difficult and time consuming part of the process.

Sticking the metal letters onto the wall

Sticking the metal letters onto the wall

The lettering is complete

The lettering in place

The sign is finished

The vinyl template is peeled off and the installation is complete.

The finished logo signage on the back wall in our Paris office.

The finished logo signage on the back wall in our Paris office.

Direct Communications Donates to Westlake High School – 2013 Edition

Diane Bradshaw of Direct Communications presents a donation to Westlake High School Athletic Director Michael O’Connor for the athletic program. (Not pictured, but our thanks also to: Sharon Mardesich, athletic assistant.)

Diane Bradshaw of Direct Communications presents a donation to Westlake High School Athletic Director Michael O’Connor for the athletic program. (Not pictured, but our thanks also to: Sharon Mardesich, athletic assistant.)

Nov 2013 – Eagle Mountain, UT

Direct Communications donated $6000 to the Westlake High School Athletic Program this month, as part of their continuing effort to support student achievement at the school. This money will be split between the football program and the general athletic scholarship fund. According to Sharon Mardesich, athletic assistant, the scholarship fund was established to reward graduating student athletes with money for college, who have made a significant all-round contribution to Westlake High School, not only through their participation in athletics, but also by their good grades, attitude, perseverance and general involvement.

Diane Bradshaw of Direct Communications presents a donation to Westlake High School Athletic Director Michael O’Connor for the athletic program. (Not pictured, but our thanks also to: Sharon Mardesich, athletic assistant.) We are proud to be a sponsor of Westlake High School Athletics. —at Westlake High School.

Direct Communications Donates to Rockwell Charter High School – 2013

Diane Bradshaw presents a donation to Coach Maw of Rockwell High School

Diane Bradshaw of Direct Communications presents a donation to Coach Maw of Rockwell High School

November 2013, Eagle Mountain Utah.

Direct Communications donated $500 to Rockwell Charter High School again in 2013, as part of the company’s continuing effort to be a responsible corporate partner of the citizens of Eagle Mountain.

Certificate from Rockwell High School thanking Directcom for it's continuing commitment to supporting education

Certificate from Rockwell High School thanking Directcom for it’s continuing commitment to supporting education

Rockwell High presents Direct Communications with a certificate of appreciation

A representative of Rockwell High presents Direct Communications with a certificate of appreciation for supporting the high school.

Direct Communications Donates to the Ranches Academy – 2013 Edition

Ranches AcademyDirect Communications, Eagle Mountain’s local fiber optic broadband service provider, donated again this year to The Ranches Academy.  Diane Bradshaw, Directcom office manager, who has been coordinating the education outreach program, and is herself  a parent of children who attended schools in Eagle Mountain, wanted to find a way to help support local schools, as well as improve the business profile of Directcom. “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.”

Susie Scherer, Director of The Ranches Academy said: “We are so excited to be getting this check this year. We are doing our first licensed school play and it is more expensive than expected. Half of the money will go toward the play and half will be used again by the student council for similar activities as last year. I just told the parent volunteer about the play and she is ecstatic! Please pass on our gratitude! Thank you.”

Direct Communications Donates to Eagle Valley Elementary

November 2013, Eagle Mountain, Utah.

Ben Hayes, Account Executive for Directcom, presents a donation to Eagle Valley Elementary.

Ben Hayes, Account Executive for Directcom, presents a donation to Angie Hale and Principle Conley of Eagle Valley Elementary.

Direct Communications donated again this year to Eagle Valley Elementary School in Eagle Mountain, as part of the company’s commitment to be involved in the community. As the local broadband service provider, Direct Communications believes that supporting local education is a way to both reinforce the important message that good education and better broadband service go hand in hand, and both are essential elements to enhancing the quality of life for all in Eagle Mountain.

Angie Hale of Eagle Valley Elementary School stated:

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