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

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.”

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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Direct Communications Upgrades Cable Network to new DOCSIS 3 System

Direct Communications Cable in Idaho completed a system-wide network upgrade over the course of the Summer of 2014 that will allow residents in all cable franchise towns served by the company to receive up to 20 megabit-per-second internet speeds.

The towns served by Directcom Cable include AberdeenBancroftDowneyFish HavenGeorgetownGraceLavaMcCammonMontpelierParis and Preston

More speed means more fun online.

More speed means more fun online.

The network upgrade was specifically a change from the old Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification (DOCSIS) 1.0 to a newer DOCSIS 3.0 network specification. The DOCSIS 3 equipment allows an increase in data transmission speeds (both upstream and downstream).

Brian Black, Senior Network Administrator for Direct Communications, explained that the upgrade required a complete equipment swap in all of the fiber huts. “We had to purchase three new CMTS’s to support DOCSIS 3, which cost about $50,000 each.” (Cable Internet delivery includes two primary components: a cable modem, located at each customer premises, and a cable modem termination system (CMTS) located at the Cable TV headend.)  

For existing customers, anyone requesting speeds above the previous top speed of 10Mb would need a new DOCSIS 3.0 modem. All new customers automatically receive a new DOCSIS 3.0 modem at the time of install. 

Black said: “The real difference between a DOCSIS 3.0 system and the old DOCSIS 1 system is that a DOCSIS 3.0 modem can connect to multiple channels at once, whereas the old modem could only connect to a single path. So in theory, customers will now have four times the bandwidth available to them at any given time. Right now each of our customers are set up to connect to two downstream channels, and to four upstream channels, but once we have completed the next planned system-wide upgrade to all digital cable TV, each customer with be connecting to four downstream channels, and to four upstream channels.” 

This explains part of the motivation for the company to migrate to an all-digital cable TV system, because besides improving the quality of the picture and number of available TV channels, moving to all digital TV delivery will also free up more bandwidth for the growing customer demand for faster internet speed. 

Brian Black, Senior Network Administrator for Direct Communications in Idaho

Brian Black, Network Administrator for Direct Communications in Idaho

“What this upgrade to  DOCSIS 3.0 means now for all customers is basically more bandwidth available for everyone, and more consistent speeds, especially during peak hours in the evenings when everyone wants to get online at home to stream video, or catch up with their friends on Facebook,” said Black.

“In theory, I suppose we could deliver speeds up to 50Mb or 100Mb to a single customer now on the coax cable network, but really our goal with this upgrade is to make sure we can deliver the speeds we have already sold to customers, and keep up with the customer growth. We feel pretty good about being able to deliver a solid 20Mb to everyone in town, so we want to keep an eye on that and see where the growth takes us before we start selling even higher speeds. “

Direct Communications has experienced three straight years of over 20% growth per year in customer subscriptions, as residents in small towns in Idaho adopt high-speed internet in increasing numbers, and keeping up with the demand has kept Black and his co-workers busy. Black is very pleased with how the new DOCSIS 3 network is performing.

“It’s been a huge change, and I am very happy with the results. The network is just much more stable, and people have responded by using their internet service a lot more already. We have seen internet usage double in some towns like Preston since we did the upgrade, which is great because it means people trust their internet more, have higher expectations now, and are turning to their internet service more for things like entertainment.”

“Our next step is to obviously move the Cable TV service to an digital head end, which will hopefully happen by the end of this year, free up more channels, and then keep improving our network through deploying more fiber nodes throughout the neighborhoods, and splitting up the network to make sure we can always stay ahead of the demand for bandwidth.”

Note: Aberdeen has not yet been upgraded to Docsis 3, but is on Docsis 2.0.

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.

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.

 

Viacom Negotiation Update

Update: 4/2/2014

NATIONAL CABLE TELEVISION COOPERATIVE AND VIACOM
REACH DEAL TO RENEW CARRIAGE AGREEMENT
Lenexa, KS and New York, NY – April 1, 2014 – The National Cable Television Cooperative (NCTC) and Viacom reached an agreement to renew carriage of Viacom’s media networks by NCTC’s more than 800 member companies. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
Judy Meyka, NCTC Executive Vice President of Programming, said: “Viacom is and remains one of NCTC’s largest content providers and we are pleased to have reached an agreement that will provide opportunities for our members to distribute their content over multiple platforms.”
“We’re grateful to have reached an agreement with NCTC that will allow millions of viewers nationwide to continue to enjoy our programming,” said Denise Denson, Executive Vice President, Content Distribution and Marketing, Viacom. “We commend NCTC for collaborating with Viacom to reach a fair deal that puts viewers first.”
About the National Cable Television Cooperative
The National Cable Television Cooperative, Inc. (NCTC) is a Kansas not‐for‐profit corporation that operates as a programming and hardware purchasing organization for its member companies who own and operate cable systems throughout the U.S. and its territories. NCTC seeks to maximize current and future opportunities to ensure the profitability, competitive stature and long term sustainability of its member companies.

Original Post 3/27/2014:

Multinational entertainment company Viacom, which is the parent owner of networks:  BET, Comedy Central, Spike, TV Land, CMT, MTV, VH1, and Nickelodeon, is threatening to shut down their network feeds to most rural cable companies at the end of March 2014, unless their demands for huge prices increases are met by the rural cable industry.

Direct Communications obtains all cable TV content through a national rural co-op, The National Cable Television Cooperative — which represents more than 1000 small rural cable operators, and negotiates all our programming deals. NCTC is trying to negotiate with Viacom, but they have informed us that they are not hopeful that an agreement will be reached due to Viacom being unwilling to budge on pricing demands.

Programming fees account for the bulk of our customers’ monthly cable TV bill.  Our goal is to protect our customers from significant programming fee increases. Viacom is demanding an increase that is 40 times the rate of inflation over last year’s fees for the same channels you get today – even if you don’t watch them.

We, as a small company that serves rural customers, feel that Viacom may be out of touch with demand for their programs in rural America, since surveys of our customers in rural Idaho have consistently ranked programs like MTV, VH1, BET, and Comedy Central (which are mostly targeted to urban youth) among the least-watched of any cable networks on the Directcom channel line-up.

Our existing agreement with Viacom expires on March 31, 2014. Although NCTC is working to negotiate a fair price for these networks after March 31, Viacom may turn off their networks or require us to remove all their channels until a new agreement is secured. For more information, please call us at 208 548 2345 or check back regularly on our facebook site, facebook.com/Directcom or  blog.directcom.com

 

Here are links to some of the national news stories about NCTC’s negotiations:

Multichannel News, March 25: Small Ops Gird for Battle

Los Angeles Times, March 26: Viacom in Fight with Small Ops

CBS MoneyWatch, March 26: Cable Customer could lose Viacom

No Contract Required

 

Be free.

Be free.

FACT:  Direct Communications in Eagle Mountain does not require a contract or term commitment . 

Any new customer may sign up for Directcom Broadband service without a contract. If you prefer the freedom of no contract, or month-to-month service, all that is required is a simple $75 broadband installation fee. However, new customers who commit to an easy 6-month contract term with their service, can enjoy  free installation, a 30-day no risk guarantee, and the peace of mind of knowing that they can cancel service anytime, with just a $25 early termination fee. What we find is almost 99% of customers in Eagle Mountain prefer service with a contract and $0 upfront, so we continue to offer that option. 

Contrary to some claims by our competitors, we actually have never required a contact for internet customers. New customers could always choose to forgo a contract term. However, very few people ever chose to sign up without a contract because we have always offered free installation with a term commitment. We do this because a term commitment lowers our risk, or cost, of installing our premium service. Our installation is very customer-friendly, thorough, customized, and  hands-on: we do all the work for you and no technical knowledge on your part is needed to activate your service. We send a local tech to your house, who mounts the fiber electronics on your home, runs Ethernet cable inside to your network hub, router, or a location of your choice, then activates your home router, sets up your home wireless router with security if you desire, and he will not leave until you are satisfied that your new fiber internet connection, and the connection to all the devices in your home, is working to your satisfaction. We follow up with a satisfaction survey. In the old days we required a $185 broadband installation fee if new customers did not want to sign a 1-year commitment up front. This was largely dictated by FCC requirements for telecommunications and broadband companies like us. Recently, these regulations have changed to give us more leeway in deciding how to set contract and installation terms.

Since early 2013, our policy for new internet customer installs has been that no contract is required, and we only require a $75 broadband installation fee if a new customer wants to be free of any commitment.

For customers who know they will be in their homes for a while, and are willing to sign a 6-month commitment, we will continue to offer FREE installation. Plus, we of course will also give you the first month free if you are using our refer-a-friend program, or in other words, if you were referred by a friend.

One qualifier, which will probably never change since it is set by the State of Utah Government, is that regulated telecoms like us must charge a $25 phone activation fee for new accounts. This has always existed as part of the Utah State Public Utilities regulation. This is separate from broadband installation fees.

Why are we doing away with contracts?

Over the past couple of years, some of our non-customers in annual focus groups have told us that they didn’t like contracts. Many people did not want to sign long-term commitments various reasons—some did not feel secure in their employment, and feared they might not be able to pay for service in a few months; many said they were looking to move out of Eagle Mountain sometime in the coming year; others said they just don’t like contracts as a matter of principle. We agree—people should stay with us because we offer the best, most reliable service in Eagle Mountain, and not because we have them locked into a contract. However, until recently, our hands were essentially tied because of NECA and FCC regulation.

In  June of 2012, we tested this feedback from non-customers, and during Pony Express Days, instead of offering a sweet electronic toy like an Xbox as a promotion, which would also require long term commitments, we simply offered free installation with no contract and no obligation, and a couple of months of free service so they could demo our superior internet product risk free. While the number of new customers taking advantage of this promo was not quite as high as the years we offered a free Xbox or Wii, the results were still good, and, even more encouraging, as we tracked these customers over the next following months, we found they were just as likely to stay with us than people who had signed a contract. They stayed because they liked the service and found it to be better than any competitors service in Eagle Mountain. This is what we want.

So, we decided to make this no-contract offer our general policy, with a few adjustments. We want to make it easy for people to switch to us. We want to be easy to do business with. We hope that a $75 install charge, with no contract required, would be low enough for most homeowners in Eagle Mountain to afford without requiring anyone to go without shoes for the month. $75 does not nearly cover our cost for an install—we have to pay for the tech, the truck roll, and most expensive, the new fiber electronics to be installed on the home. Together these amount to several hundred dollars. However, we feel confident that once a customer has experienced our faster streaming fiber optic broadband, they will never go back to a wireless internet service provider. Our customers tell us: You simply can’t go back from fiber.

In the past, in order to make it financially viable to give away free electronics as a promotion, like an Xbox, Wii, AppleTV or Kindle Fire, we have with  special promotions asked new customers to sign 2-year contracts to get a fantastic free promo item. Many people who previously said they disliked contracts suddenly didn’t mind them as much. They get a free Xbox, and we get a new customer while lowering our risk–it’s a win-win. In the past couple of years, as the general public has become more tech savvy and educated, the very idea of fiber has become more powerful than any promotion or toy we could offer, so we have limited our promotions and relied simply on our premium value proposition. So, contacts associated with promos are a thing of the past too.

Of course, we expect most people will still choose the no upfront cost, free install, with one month free, that comes with a 6-month commitment. This is not a promo—this is our everyday pricing. But, for Eagle Mountain residents who don’t like contracts, this $75 upfront option is built for you, and we hope to see you soon. Haven’t you ever wanted to know what your internet experience could be over fiber optic cable? Try it—you will like it.

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.”

Directcom Donates to Hidden Hollow Elementary School – 2013

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you note from Hidden Hollow Elementary

Thank you note from Hidden Hollow Elementary

Direct Communications Sponsors Frontier Middle School Hope Squad Program

Eagle Mountain, Utah, November 2013:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jeff Clark, School Counselor, Frontier Middle School said:

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

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

Student Competition – Make a Video Ad for Direct Communications

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

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

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

Specifications:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Videos must be submitted by Dec 31, 2013.

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

Examples:

Better Streaming.

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

Fastest speeds in town.

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

No caps. No throttling. No limits.

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

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

Your local broadband company.

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

Some other ideas:

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

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

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

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

danielp@directcom.com

or call our main office at 208 548 2345.

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

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

September 2013 Promotion- SIGN UP FOR DIRECTCOM HIGH SPEED INTERNET AND GET ONE-YEAR OF FREE HOME PHONE SERVICE.

September 2013 Only

20130901-voip-promo

Sign up for Directcom High Speed Cable Internet during the month of September 2013, and get one-year of free home phone service, with free unlimited local and free unlimited long distance calling for a whole year.
*Idaho cable network areas only. New Directcom Broadband subscribers or speed upgrades only. Offer expires 09/30/2013. See below for details.

What does Directcom Internet service cost?
Our high speed internet service starts at only $25.95 a month for our basic 2 Mbps speed. This speed is good for regular browsing, email, shopping, and other activities. However, for this promotion, we are requiring that you sign up for at least our next tier speed package, which is $39.95 a month for 6 Mbps speeds. This speed will be fast enough to enable you to use your new digital phone service while you are browsing the internet, and maybe even watching an HD Netflix movie online, all at the same time. We also offer crazy-fast 10Mb and 20Mb service, which will allow you to stream multiple high-definition movies at the same time.

DIRECTCOM HIGH SPEED INTERNET
REGULAR PRICED BROADBAND CABLE SERVICE
SPEED (download/upload) PRICE per month
2 Mb/512k $25.95
6 Mb/512k $39.95
10 Mb /1 Mb $49.95
20 Mb /2 Mb $69.95
Installation is now FREE with a 1-year commitment. ($100 savings.) Equipment now FREE with a 1-year commitment. ($50 savings.)

Do I have to sign a contract?
No, you do not need to sign a contract. No contract is required to qualify for the free year of phone service promotion. However, with a one-year internet service commitment, we will provide you with a free install, and a free modem lease, so that you will have no upfront costs at all. You can choose to go month-to-month and forgo a contract by simply purchasing the modem up front for $50. We will provide the free phone service for up to a year, as long as you keep subscribing to at least 6Mbps high speed cable internet service, even without a contract. If you downgrade to 2Mb speed, we will begin charging you the regular $24.95 price for phone service. You may cancel your phone subscription at any time.

Why are you giving away free home phone service?
Ultimately, we want people on our high speed internet network. We are giving away home phone service simply to encourage you to leave Centurylink altogether and switch all your services to Direct Communications, your local cable company.  We can provide faster speeds, and better service, at better value.

Can I keep my current home phone number?
Yes, you can keep your current number. We will port your number from Centurylink and become your new home phone provider.

What is Direct Digital Voice?
Digital home phone service from Direct Communcations, a real telephone company, delivered over your copper cable line instead of your copper telephone company line.

How does cable home phone service work?
You plug your existing phone into the supplied VOIP-enabled cable modem, which comes with a regular phone jack built into the cable modem, dial as usual, and we do the rest. We send your phone call digitally over your high-speed cable internet connection, to the regular national switching system. You may even keep your exising home phone number. One great benefit of digital, or IP, phone service is that you avoid having to pay all the high taxes associated with traditional land line phone.

Is cable phone service reliable?
We use all digital IP phones at our own telephone company headquarters to provide telephone service to each employee desk. Not only is it reliable, but with so many advanced features, like voicemail to email, online call screening, call management, and one-click calling, it makes using the phone fun again.

How much will I save?
You could save over $400 a year just on your local phone bill. You could also save an additional $250 or more a year on long distance service, depending on how much long distance calling you typically use on your current home phone.

What is the regular price for the phone service after the first year is up?
After the first year, your regular price for home phone service will be $24.95 for Unlimited Local & Unlimited Long Distance Calling, excluding about $2 in taxes and fees. One great benefit of digital, or IP, phone service is that you avoid having to pay most of the high taxes associated with traditional land line phone . You are free to cancel your digital home phone service at anytime.

Do I have to subscribe to your cable TV service in order to get your Internet service?
No. You do not have to be a cable TV customer to get our cable Internet service. Neither do you have to subscribe to cable TV in order to qualify for this promotion. All you have to do to qualify for this promotion is sign up for our cable Internet service, and commit to a one-year service contract.

Can current Directcom customers qualify?
Yes. Current cable TV customers who do not have broadband with us yet may qualify for the free year of phone service promo. Current Directcom Broadband subscribers may also qualify for the free year of phone service promo, under two requirements: 1) sign a new year-long internet service commitment , and 2) upgrade to the next speed tier. The ultimate purpose of this promo is to attract new internet customers who have never experienced the difference between our cable internet service and their current slow DSL or wireless internet.
To qualify as “new” customers, former Directcom customers must have been disconnected for at least 6 months. Any current customer may add digital home phone service to their account at any time with unlimited calling for the regular price of $24.95 a month.

What if I disconnect service/break contract within a year? 
There will be regular termination fees. You will also be required to return the modem.  See 1-year contract for details.

Why is a credit check required to qualify for this promo?
We are making a significant cash investment in you as a new customer. The year of free phone service is worth $250 dollars. We buy an advanced new cable internet and voice modem upfront for you and provide this to you at no cost. We also pay for the truck roll and install. We must pay dealer and employee commissions and marketing costs. Taken together, we are on average spending about $600 to acquire you as a new customer. We realize that switching internet providers involves significant hassle, effort and costs for you too, which is why we cover these switching costs to give you an incentive to move, and make it easier for you to switch to our better service. It is a win-win for all of us in the long run—you need better internet service, and we want more customers. However, we obviously want to make sure we are making a good investment in our customers. Our Experian Vantage Score credit check system returns an average of the three major credit bureaus and is designed to approve 80% of all US residents. This is a soft-check. See http://www.experian.com/consumer-products/vantage-score.html for more information. You will have to achieve a 600 Vantagescore to qualify. (This is different from a regular credit score.)

What if I don’t qualify based on my credit history?
We will still be happy to serve you, and we welcome you as our customer. You can still enjoy the best broadband speed in town. We will not require any deposits or fees, and we will not require you to sign a contract or commitment. We will still provide you with a free install. However, you will not be able to get the free year of phone service promo. Also, you will have to purchase the modem up front, for $50. If you know your history is good and feel you should qualify, we will be happy to work with you or your bank to correct our information.

Only Directcom offer truly unlimited bandwidth with no caps, so you can watch as much as you like, without worrying about data overage charges.

Only Directcom offer truly unlimited bandwidth with no caps, so you can watch as much as you like, without worrying about data overage charges.

Why is Direct Communications better at streaming video than any wireless provider?

  1. Only Directcom offers truly unlimited bandwidth with no caps, so you can watch as much as you like, without worrying about data overage charges.
  2. We are the only wired network in town.
  3. We offer speeds up to 100Mb over fiber optic cable.
  4. We provide enough bandwidth power so you can watch multiple streams simultaneously on several different devices in your home.
  5. Our network is state-of-the-art fiber optic cable.
  6. Our speeds are consistent, and we typically provide the speed we advertise, not some “burstable” mythical speed that you can only get for a few seconds.
  7. Unlike wireless providers, your bandwidth is not shared with your neighbors, so you can all stream video at the same time and not be affected by their usage.
  8. We don’t throttle your speeds if you stream too much.
  9. We don’t put a cap on how much you are allowed to download each month.
  10. Our fiber-optic cable connects you directly to the national fiber backbone, with no wireless links inbetween.
  11. Wireless internet equipment simply wasn’t built to handle constant high-demand applications like high-definition video very well. Our engineered Fiber network was designed to stream high-definition video.

Terms and Conditions

Offer valid for new cable broadband service requests between Sep 1-Sep 30, 2013, only. On approved credit only. One-year internet service commitment required to receive free modem. No commitment required if you purchase the modem up front for $50. New broadband subscribers only.  Cable not available in all areas. Call for availability. To qualify as “new” customers, former Directcom customers must have been disconnected for at least 6 months.
Regular pricing will apply: 2Mb /512k-$25.95 , 6Mb /512k -$39.95 , 10Mb/1Mb-$49.95. *plus applicable taxes and franchise fees.
Bundled with Cable TV service, regular broadband pricing is: 2Mb /512k-$23.95 , 6Mb /512k -$35.95 , 10Mb/1Mb-$45.95. Broadband Installation is free with a 1-year commitment. Listed speeds are approximate and may vary depending on line conditions. You will be authorized to  receive “up to” listed download and upload speeds. Cable service requires a modem. Download and read the full contract online at directcom.com
Cable TV service pricing: Basic Cable $21.00, Expanded Cable $46.95.
*plus applicable taxes and franchise fees.
Direct Vois Broadband Phone Service: Service (including 911 calling) will not function during a power outage and may not function during network congestion. Use of 911 service permitted only at a Direct Communications-local phone exchange service address, otherwise 911 calls will not route directly to a 911 operator. Customers should secure an alternative to 911 service.
Read full VOIP contract and disclosure here.
Direct Communications can take any action to protect our network, our rights and interests. We reserve the right to cancel or change service plan offerings at anytime without notification to subscribers.

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

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

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

News-Examiner July 3, 2013

News-Examiner July 3, 2013

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

Published in the Aberdeen Times, July 3, 2013

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

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

Customer Tour of Central Office in Eagle Mountain Announced

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

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

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

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

To RSVP for this event, please email ben@directcom.com and provide the following information:

Name:

Contact Phone Number:

Home Phone Number or Directcom account number:

Address:

Are you willing to sign a NDA: Yes/No

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

T-shirt size:

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

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

DirectCom is now a Netflix SuperHD Partner

Netflix SuperHD - from https://signup.netflix.com/superhd

Netflix SuperHD – from https://signup.netflix.com/superhd

Direct Communications faster streaming broadband just got even better.

Directcom is pleased to announce that our broadband service is now Netflix Super HD enabled.

This means that Directcom customers will now automatically be able to  watch movies and TV shows in Super HD on a supported device if your connection is fast enough. ( At least 8Mb/s download for best quality.) Super HD delivers the best Netflix picture quality yet, even better than regular HD, because of better encoding technology and an incredibly clear, smooth 1080p picture with less compression.

Super HD is only available via Internet Providers that are part of the Netflix Open Connect network. Our move onto the Open Connect Network was made technically possible by Netflix co-locating their servers in Syringa Networks main Central Office in Boise, Idaho this week. Each night, Netflix updates these servers with their highest demand content. Direct Communications, as an owner-partner of Syringa Networks, is now part of the Netflix Open Connect network.

What this does is move the Netflix content closer to the end customer.

Ron Asche, Engineering Manager for Syringa Networks explained the benefits by saying, “Bringing the Netflix content on Net has resulted in a drop in content latency and an enhanced user experience for Syringa Networks customers.  Additionally, having the content on our network enables Syringa Networks customers access to Netflix SuperHD and 3D content.”

Jeremy Smith, General Manager for Directcom in Idaho, says most importantly this will result in faster loading for customers while accessing Netflix content on our network. “There should be less buffering, and less waiting for the interface to load, because the customer won’t have to travel all over the internet to choose or stream a movie—it’s right here on our fiber network in Idaho.”

Faster streaming broadband means no buffering when watching online video.

Faster streaming broadband means no buffering when watching online video.

When Netflix first announced their Super HD network opportunity several months ago, Direct Communications attempted to sign up individually with Netflix as an Open Connect partner, but was unsuccessful at that time because Netflix required a larger customer count threshold before they would deploy their servers into the network. Fortunately , the combined customer numbers of all the Idaho independents together meant Netflix was willing to partner with Syringa Networks to deploy servers locally here on the Syringa regional network in Idaho, so all Direct Communications customers in Idaho can now benefit from being on the Netflix Open Connect network.

In addition to Super HD, Netflix is experimenting with 3D video, which will also only be available to customers of ISPs like Direct Communications who are on the Open Connect network.

Netflix now offers Super HD streaming on the following devices:

•Sony PlayStation 3

•Apple TV with 1080p

•Roku with 1080p*

•Nintendo Wii U

•Windows 8 App

•TiVo Premiere DVR

•Blu-Ray Players, Smart TV’s, Home Theaters, and Streaming Players with existing Netflix 1080p support*

Hopefully more devices will be coming soon, since , most notably, the Xbox is currently missing from this list.

To stream titles in Super HD, your Internet Provider needs to be connected to the Netflix Open Connect network. You can find Super HD titles by looking for the Super HD logo, on the movie description page on a compatible device.

At time of press, only DirectCom customers in southeast Idaho are Netflix SuperHD enabled. This feature is not yet active in Eagle Mountain.

Requirements to view in Super HD
from (http://support.unblock-us.com/customer/portal/articles/973404-netflix-super-hd)

– Your Netflix Bandwidth Settings

Your Netflix bandwidth preferences must be set to “Best Quality” otherwise you will not receive it. To find out how to check and change your Netflix bandwidth settings please see this support article.

– Your Internet Connection

Super HD requires an Internet connection speed of at least 6Mb/s, and 8Mb/s to view the highest available video quality. Please ensure you test your speed as detailed here. Some other factors will also affect your ability to stream in Super HD; wireless connections from your device to your router, traffic shaping by your ISP at peak hours – sadly these sort of factors lay out of our control.

PLEASE NOTE: The Adaptive Bit-rate streaming algorithm that Netflix uses to stream in Super HD, should always ramp up to the highest bit rate encode available to you that fits in the resolution you’ve set on your device. This means that if your device is not set to 1080p you will NOT see super HD.

Please be aware that some Super HD eligable Roku devices do not currently display the Super HD logo (http://support.netflix.com/en/node/8731#gsc.tab=0)

Cause and Remedy to Wednesday March 13, 1-hour Internet Outage

On Wednesday March 13, at about 9am, most of Utah County experienced a power glitch caused by Rocky Mountain Power, which was passed through to the Eagle Mountain City power grid. Power surges like this can be very damaging to sensitive electronic equipment, and because of this, our central office, which houses several million dollars’ worth of very sensitive, state-of-the art communications equipment including a digital telephone switch, fiber electronics, and all kinds of internet switches, routers and servers, is engineered to never touch the power grid directly.

Inside our switch room is a wall of batteries in an array, which are designed to back up the power to the equipment and absorb any surges. Backing up the batteries are very large generators, which will kick in after 3 seconds of a power outage. Last November, our switch manager began the planning and engineering process to replace the battery array, because the existing batteries had been in place since the days of Eagle Mountain Telecom. Two weeks ago, contractors began preparatory work to replace the batteries.

Unfortunately, this power failure came at a very bad time for us, just before our entire battery upgrade was due to take place. When the glitch came, the older batteries did not perform to spec, and since the outage was shorter than 3 seconds, the generator did not kick in. This resulted in the entire main phone switch shutting down, and rebooting, which is never a good thing for such a sophisticated piece of equipment because so many systems are integrated and the chances of everything rebooting seamlessly are slim. When the switch rebooted, several trunking systems stayed down, which is why there was a brief city-wide loss of dialtone. Our techs had to manually bring the trunks back online, and dial-tone was reestablished in about 30 minutes. The telephone system was back to 100% capabilities within an hour.

After the phone system was back online, which is our priority in a crisis in accordance with public utility regulations, our engineers turned their attention to restoring internet service. Due to the power surge and the battery array failure, a core internet switch had been fried. This switch had to be replaced with a spare that we kept on hand for just such an emergency situation. (Now, when I say switch, I don’t mean the kind of consumer-grade switches you would pick up at Radioshack or Best Buy, this is carrier-grade equipment that costs tens of thousands of dollars per switch.) Internet service was restored to the greater network by about an hour after the power glitch, once the internet switch had been replaced and reconfigured, and our IT administrator, Darin, did a fantastic job getting that up again so quickly.

We were initially concerned that this power surge could have damaged some customer equipment, like what occurred a few months ago when the city did their power grid upgrade. That power surge fried a few hundred power inverters on people’s homes, and we spent a couple of days having to replace those. However, we were pleased to see that only one power inverter in the entire customer base had been damaged by this power surge, which outlined just how extreme and unusual that big city power surge had been a few months ago.

After the internet had been generally reestablished just after 10am, there were of course a few stragglers, which is our term for individual customers that did not come back online for various reasons. There were a couple of individual neighborhood fiber electronics cards that were also damaged, and needed to be replaced. Eagle Park, Autumn Ridge, and Hidden Canyon were affected by these card failures, and those neighborhoods took about 2 ½ hours to bring back online. We had some up and down speed issues through the day too as we were testing and validating various equipment and systems.

As individual customers called in, posted on facebook, or alarms showed in the network management system, we reset the individual connection to those customers homes remotely from our servers. If a customer could not be reset remotely, we immediately dispatched a field technician to go into the customer’s home to reset their modem or router. Altogether, there were about 119 individual customers we had to resolve lingering issues for, and by about 6pm that night we had taken care of all but 7 customers who needed further action.

One instruction we must stress to all customers—please do not factory reset your routers after a power outage, because that will wipe the PPPoE username and password from the router, and you will not be able to reconnect with our servers. A simple power cycle (pull the power cord out the back and plug it back in so the router reboots) is all you need to do to refresh your connection. A lot of the truck-rolls we had to do on Wednesday were simply because the customer decided to take the very drastic and unnecessary step of factory resetting their modem or router. When we have to roll a truck simply to reprogram a router, this diverts resources we could be using to help a greater number of customers with real issues not caused by their own actions.

So, the big question customers are asking is: what are you doing to prevent this from every happening again if similar power outages should occur?

The good news is, this very week, on the 18th March, we completed the process of replacing our entire old battery array. This was a several-hundred thousand dollar upgrade. Our new array consists of 28 brand new carrier-grade engineered batteries, stacked in four rows of seven, which will power and protect our equipment properly. This will prevent future switch reboots and equipment failures due to power failures. Our equipment is safe again.

There were a lot of positives to come out of Wednesday’s events too. Last week we launched an online live chat and ticketing system. When our own office phones were down, remote staff who had internet service were able to still talk to customers, keep them updated, and customers could generate trouble tickets automatically online if they also had mobile data, which our surveys show most of our customers do also pay for. Many customers used their mobile data to talk to us on Facebook and let us know they were down at home. We were able to use Facebook to give general updates and start trouble tickets. This was possible because a large portion of our customers are our friends on Facebook. If haven’t liked our page on Facebook yet, please do so at http://www.facebook.com/directcom.eaglemtn

Several customers also asked us to start a Twitter feed for outage notifications, which we will look at launching.

We tried to keep customers updated as best we could with the tools we had on hand. We try to provide appropriate network information, but sometimes giving too much information, especially about sensitive network equipment, can raise more concerns for customers, but we know a lot of our tech-savvy customers, and the many people working from home in Eagle Mountain, like regular updates. Even in providing a report of this kind into the causes of an outage, and the steps we are taking to prevent this from every happening again, we realize we open ourselves to a whole lot more questions from customers. For customers really interested in the inner workings of our central office, we will be hosting a tour of our facilities the week of Pony Express Days, and you can message us on Facebook to sign up for that tour.

David Wall posted to our Facebook page: “DC ,You guys are awesome even for posting this kind of info. No other Internet provider provides such quick personal info to things that take place. The rest of our family are all on Centurylink and they would never take the time to post why your lines are down or when they would come back up. Thanks DC!”

Results of 2013 Customer Satisfaction Survey

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

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

 

Direct Communications Contributes to Local Eagle Mountain Schools in 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mrs Mortensen of Hidden Hollow with Diane

Mrs Mortensen of Hidden Hollow with Diane

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

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

Wendy hughes and Michelle Zwick- Mountain Trails Elementary

Wendy hughes and Michelle Zwick- Mountain Trails Elementary

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

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

Michelle Zwick

Secretary

Mountain Trails Elementary

Report on last weekend’s Power Surge-Related Outage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Idaho Customers: Upgrade Your Speed and Get a Free Kindle

Kindle – the worlds favorite e reader

Current Broadband Customers: Click here to Upgrade your speed and get a free Kindle E-reader.

Just in time for Christmas—the perfect gift for your family—faster internet plus a new Amazon Kindle, so you can study, read and get more books online, faster.

Upgrade your internet speed to at least one tier above what you are currently paying, sign a new one-year commitment, and agree to keep that same speed until the end of 2013, and we will send you a new Kindle E-reader. Offer valid for upgrade service requests between Nov 16-Dec 28, 2012, only. 

What’s  a Kindle E-reader?

Kindle is designed for purely for reading; it’s small, light, and fast. Less than 6 ounces – lighter than a paperback, fits in your pocket. Reads like paper with no glare, even in bright sunlight. Download books in 60 seconds with built-in Wi-Fi. Holds over 1,000 books – take your library wherever you go. Supports children’s books and includes new parental controls. Seehttp://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008GG93YE/ref=fs_sz for Kindle details.

Kindle is still the world’s favorite electronic reading device, and is a fantastic educational tool. You can e-mail documents – including Word, PDF and more – directly to your Kindle and read them in Kindle format. Your kids will enjoy reading books, and searching Wikipedia and the Web. Kindle supports children’s books with Kindle Text Pop-Up, and comic books with Kindle Panel View which allows you to read a comic book panel by panel.

Here’s how our Christmas Kindle promotion works:
Current phone or TV customers who do not yet have broadband with us may qualify for the Kindle Fire promo. We are also offering a free Kindle E-reader to the first 50 existing or current Directcom Broadband  customers who upgrade their internet speed this month. Here’s how it works: Upgrade your internet speed to at least one tier above what you are currently paying, sign a new one-year commitment, and agree to keep that same speed until the end of 2013, and we will send you a new Kindle E-reader.
If you are already on our highest available speed for your area, give yourself a pay on the back—you have been enjoying faster speeds than everybody else. This promo is designed to get people to try new products or speeds they may not have tried without an incentive.

When will I get my new Kindle? 
We will ship the Kindle to one of our offices for pickup within 30 days of your new service upgrade. We will call you when your Kindle has been processed, registered to your account, and is ready for pickup. You will sign to say you have received your Kindle. After that point, the Kindle is your responsibility—we cannot support it. Directcom is not responsible for installation or support of your Kindle or Amazon account. All warranties and technical support will be your sole responsibility by working through the manufacturer. If you have trouble with your Kindle, call Amazon for support or replacement. You will create an Amazon account when you register your Kindle. Amazon provides a 1-year warranty on your Kindle, and details are available on your Amazon account page.

Call Direct Communications at 208 548 2345 if you have any questions about this promotion. We look forward to sending you your new free Kindle.

This speed upgrade promo is available  to Idaho customers only. Offer valid for new broadband service requests between Nov 16-Dec 28, 2012, only. Two-year service commitment required.  Offer expires 12/28/2012. OAC. While supplies last. First 50 customers only. Kindle will be provided within 30 days of hook-up. Offer available to existing residential Directcom Internet customers in Direct Communications’ cable or DSL service areas in southeast Idaho only. Rates do not include applicable taxes and surcharges. new 1-year term service contract. You also agree to keep subscribing to your new chosen speed for at least a year. This means no speed downgrades until the end of 2013. If you terminate your contract early or downgrade your speed early, you will be subject to early termination fees plus pay back the full retail cost of the Kindle.