Win A Portable Hard Drive on Facebook!
Over the years you’ve accumulated thousands of digital photos and important documents. Tax returns, family vacation pictures, and financial records - all of which are stored on your computer or even your cell phone. But what would you do if suddenly these files were lost? Would you be an emotional wreck if this was your only copy?
Truth is, nobody can anticipate an accident. And it takes just one small computer failure to destroy all of the important thingsyou care about. In fact, permanent data loss is way more common than you’d think. With 113 cell phones lost or stolen every minute, and 1 in 10 computers infected with viruses each month, it’s important to regularly backup your information.
Remember, a “backup” is simply a second copy of all your important files. Instead of storing all your information in just one place (like your computer), it’s keeping a second copy of these important files somewhere else that’s safe. Most people backup their files in one of two ways: to an external drive, or somewhere on the Internet (commonly referred to as “cloud storage”). For step by step directions on how either method works, visit the World BackUp website.
In the meantime, mark your Facebook calendar the week of March 31st - “World Backup Day”. We’ll be hosting a FUN, Facebook-only game where you could win a FREE portable hard drive. At ATC, we’re here to help our customers remember the increasing role of data in our lives, and the importance of regular backups. Find us on Facebook on March 31st, for your chance to WIN! (And don’t forget to backup your treasured files!)
On Tuesday, February 21st, the City of Malad experienced a ground-breaking milestone. On this quiet morning in downtown Malad, a state-of-the-art technology advancement was taking place right beneath our noses. The spring day was the culmination of one local company’s million-dollar investment, and lifelong dream. Thousands of man-hours combined with a vision for the future had finally come together as the City of Malad gained its very first Gigabit Internet Home.
ATC Communications, one of the valley’s local internet providers, was the backbone of this achievement. For the past two years, ATC has built an advanced fiber network in Malad, a project the communications industry has coined FTTH (Fiber To The Home). FTTH is the next-generation level of internet connectivity and is commonly referred to as the gold standard for internet connections. Fiber can deliver internet at ridiculously fast speeds measured in Gigabits per second (1 Gbps = 1000 Mbps). Access to Gig speeds is extremely rare in Idaho. In fact, BroadbandNow.com reports only 1.3% of Idahoans have access to such speeds, leaving our state ranked 47th on the totem pole of “most connected states”. However, with ATC’s newly constructed fiber network, those statistics will soon be on the rise. At 11:30 am in downtown Malad, our local County Prosecutor, Cody Brower, became the very first residence in Malad connected to Gig Internet.
Back in December, ATC Communications held a “Give Me A Gig” sweepstakes for their fiber connected patrons. The company aimed to give away 6 months of free Gigabit internet speed (currently a $1500 value) to whoever submitted the best written response to “Why I want faster internet”. Cody Brower was chosen as the lucky sweepstakes winner. “I was really hoping I would win”, said Cody on Tuesday morning. “It’ll be great to see all my devices working at the same time. I can’t wait to test it out with Alexa”. Amazon’s Alexa is the Brower family’s digital personal assistant, helping them with everything from turning on lights, to creating a digital grocery list. Even the family’s seven-year-old boy, Gage, is internet savvy. In fact, Gage proudly demonstrated his internet skills that day, as he told Alexa to turn off the internet connected led light strip that circled the ceiling of his bedroom.
The Brower family is your typical modern family, with 11 internet-connected devices throughout their home. Two home computers, two smart TV’s, laptops, tablets, and cell phones all require a strong internet backbone. Additionally, their home’s lighting system is also internet connected, enabling the family to control every switch with a simple voice command. “I caught the ‘smart home fever’ a few years ago”, says Cody. “Ever since then, I’ve always asked for smart home devices for Father’s Day, my birthday and Christmas. I’m a big fan of technology”. Cody hopes to expand his home’s smart capabilities even more. Adding a smart home security system (internet controlled door locks), and smart heating system are bucket list items for the near future.
“The internet industry is fast paced”, says ATC Communication’s General Manager, Rich Redman. “Smart homes are just the beginning. Education, healthcare, and businesses’ in both the private and public sector all require an increasing amount of bandwidth. It’s my job to make sure our communities are ready for the internet demands of the future”. According to Redman, even if typical broadband speeds become 1000 times faster in the next 20 years, a single existing fiber-optic connection can still support it. “Fiber is the only internet technology that is pretty much future-proof. It really is the best way to go.”
ATC Communications offered their “Give Me A Gig” sweepstakes as way to celebrate their recent certification from NTCA - The Rural Broadband Association. ATC has become the very first telecommunications company in the state of Idaho to be “Gig Certified” by NTCA. This means ATC’s Gigabit speeds have been independently verified, and they can actually deliver the speeds they promise.
The Brower family’s connection to Gigabit speeds is truly a hallmark moment for ATC and the City of Malad. It’s a quiet realization that our community has a strong internet backbone and is ready for whatever our future needs may be. What an amazing accomplishment for Malad. Congratulations to Cody, Annie, Gage, Asher and Adelyn Brower, for hosting Malad’s First GIG Internet Home.
ATC Crew holds ribbon cutting event to celebrate Malad's First Gig Internet Home
Seven year old, Gage Brower, shows ATC his tech skills on his own PC.
What’s the big deal about getting underground communications cable located before I dig? It’s not like anyone can get hurt if I accidentally cut the cable.
As an internet service provider technician, I often witness folks dragging their feet and expressing hesitancy when it comes to getting underground communications cables located before they begin digging or excavation. For many it seems that a potential cut in communications cable is a minor event - when compared to a cut involving other utilities such as gas or power. The fact that imminent personnel safety is not at direct risk, leads folks to believe that locating communications cable ahead of time is an unnecessary precaution. However my twenty years of technician experience has taught me that nothing could be further from the truth.
Last spring I was driving down a rural highway in my ATC service truck. In true Monday fashion, my day was scheduled to the max with appointments spread from one end of the valley to the other. The winter snow had melted into runoff, and farmers everywhere were outside preparing their land for the growing season ahead. As I buzzed down the highway in route to my first destination, I noticed one farmer working his backhoe to install a new fence near the edge of his property. As the scoop of the backhoe dipped into the fresh muddy soil, I hit my brakes and pulled to the shoulder of the road.
Unbeknownst to the farmer, only a few short feet away from his bucket, lay buried fiber optic cable supplying phone and internet service to hundreds of homes across the valley. Additionally, this cable also serviced critical 911 communications circuits and connectivity to multiple cellular towers. In fact, any damage to the fiber cable could have impaired the statewide fiber network, potentially affecting thousands of vital services across the state!
As I approached the unknowing farmer, and proceeded to explain the situation he was in, I remember the initial “no big deal” look on his face. However as the conversation grew, it became apparent that the farmer had no idea of the impending community disaster which loomed just two feet to his left.
As the farmer ceased his well-intended operations, he asked the obvious question of repair costs should he have damaged the fiber cable. In my response, I suggested that he could just leave his entire rig right where it was, as down payment for the bill. Although that was a bit of an exaggeration, it did capture his attention and had the intended effect of reinforcing how critical line locates can be.
According to Idaho law, any damages to ATC’s equipment due to excavation are billable to the equipment operator (Idaho Code section 55-2201 - 55-2212, Chapter 22). Fiber restoration costs can vary greatly depending upon location conditions and fiber size. Essentially, anywhere from a few hundred dollars upwards of $15,000 for emergency restoration costs driven by complex fiber splicing. And that’s not all. Imagine the burden of being the one responsible for disrupting vital internet related services to your community. Commerce halts at local stores when something as simple as purchasing gas at the pump becomes a hassle. ATM machines may not function, cell phone towers are rendered useless, and even the backbone of vital emergency response systems could be at risk.
At this point of realization, I’m certain the small town farmer, who was only trying to build a fence in his own backyard, now understood the potential ramifications of digging without a line locate. When you consider that it takes less than five minutes to make the call, and the line locate service is FREE, you’ve got to ask yourself “Why risk it?” It’s true that line locates are merely orange marking paint across the ground, but they also serve as a vital reminder of what we stand to loose if that communications cable is cut. And that, my friends, is what the big deal is really all about.
At ATC, we want you to get the MOST out of your Internet! Which means making sure you have ENOUGH speed for all those nifty new devices Santa brought! Remember, Netflix recommends a minimum speed of 5 Mbps to stream HD video on just one device! If your household has multiple devices (laptop, smart TV, Xbox, tablet, or smartphone), we recommend a minimum speed of 10 Mbps.
So let's break this down: Your internet connection is like a highway. The bigger your internet highway is, the more "traffic" it can handle. If you're still getting by on 3 Mbps (megabites per second) then it probably feels like you're limping along an old dirt road when you try to watch Netflix. Doubling your speed (a simple $10 upgrade) might be the best gift you ever bought yourself. Here's the good news: Call us today and you can try any faster internet speed for no extra cost for 3 months! Just mention the promo code "TRYIT" when you call! It's easy: We'll upgrade your speed and you'll receive your first three months for the same price you pay today!* Remember, you can always check out our wide variety of internet plans here. We hope you enjoy your fancy new gadgets from Santa! It's good to know you made the "Nice List" again this year! Give us a call to make the most out of your internet today!
*TRYIT offer available to current ATC customers only. New 1 year contract, or extension of existing contract, is required for 3 month promo pricing. Download speeds may be up to 15% lower due to network requirements, customer location, and customer equipment. Not all customers will qualify for faster speeds. Subject to $25 downgrade fee if service is downgraded while still in contract. Offer expires 1/31/2017.
ATC’s Fiber-To-The-Home Project Continues In Malad
As the construction season draws to a close, ATC crews diligently continue the deployment of their Fiber-To-The-Home initiative. The process began over two years ago, when ATC’s General Manager, Rich Redman, announced their quest to connect every Malad home and business to their state-of-the-art fiber network. “Fiber is the future of communications technology. Fiber delivers lightning fast Internet speeds along with reliability that is second to none”, Redman stated in a 2014 press release. The multi-million dollar investment project is far and away the most tenacious and extensive project in the company’s 87 year history.
WHY FIBER? There are many forms of high-speed Internet available on the market today. However, nothing beats fiber in terms of speed and reliability. Only five years ago, the average internet speed ranged around 3 Mbps. Today, most households require at least 15 Mbps to operate the numerous smartphones, tablets, TV’s and gaming systems inside the home. Fiber can provide steady and continuous gigabit speeds (that’s 1000 Mbps) and is the most reliable technology available.
As was originally planned, ATC has completed “Phase 1” of their fiber project; every home and business located inside Malad City limits has been offered a fiber connection. Here’s even more good news: According to a recent 2015 study done by the FTTH Council Americas, home values could increase by as much as 3.1% once connected to fiber (http://www.ftthcouncil.org/blog).
But things didn’t stop there. ATC has continued to expand their fiber network in 2016. As to date, the company has added another 450 homes and businesses to their fiber network, and plans to have nearly 1400 subscribers “turned up” to fiber by the end of the year.
WHO GETS FIBER? It is ATC’s long-term goal to offer a fiber connection to every customer in the future. However, as you can imagine, building and expanding a fiber network is laborious and extremely expensive. At this stage of our construction process, everyone living within the map boundaries below, will be offered a connection to fiber. As resources permit, our fiber network will continue to grow each and every year.
As a “Thank You” perk to those homeowners and businesses connected to fiber, ATC literally “opened the floodgates” and allowed these subscribers to receive lightning fast 50 Mbps speeds at no extra charge. ATC is honored to report the vast majority of Malad patrons are pleased with the construction process and are absolutely thrilled with the faster internet speeds.
The company would also like to express a very heartfelt THANK YOU to the city of Malad, Mid-States Consultants, and Henkles and McCoy Construction, for their partnership throughout the project.
As the Fiber-To-The-Home development in Malad nears completion, ATC is proud to report over 265 miles of fiber optic cable has been installed. That is an enormous accomplishment for such a small, rural company, especially considering that only 5% of all Idahoans are fortunate enough to have a direct fiber connection.
If you would like more information about ATC’s fiber project, contact their local office at (208) 766-2882.
What is an area code overlay?An overlay is the addition of another area code (986) to the same geographic region as an existing area code (208). An overlay does not require customers to change their existing area code. Who will be affected?(208) Area code customers will keep their number. The new (986) area code will serve future landline customers throughout out the entire state. What will be the new dialing procedure?To complete local calls, the new dialing procedure requires callers to dial the 10-digit telephone number (area code + the 7-digit telephone number). This means that all calls in the 208 area code that are currently dialed with seven digits will need to be dialed using 10-digit telephone number. The same dialing procedure will apply to telephone numbers assigned to the new 986 area code. Calls that are currently local will continue to be local, even though 10-digit dialing will be required. When will the change begin?November 5, 2016: Begin using the new 10-digit dialing procedures whenever you place a call. If you forget and dial just seven digits, your call will still be completed. August 5, 2017: 10-digit dialing will be required for all calls. After this date, if you do not use 10-digit dialing, your calls will not be completed and a recording will instruct you to hang up and dial again. September 5, 2017: New telephone lines or services may be assigned numbers using the new 986 area code.
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO DO?
In addition to required 10-digit dialing, all automatic dialing equipment or other types of equipment that are programmed with a 7-digit number, will need to be reprogrammed to use the new dialing procedures.
Examples: Life safety systems, PBXs, fax machines, alarm and security systems, gates, speed dialers, call forwarding settings, etc. You may also want to check your website, business stationery, printed checks, contact information, pet ID tags, or advertising materials to ensure the area code is included. Important safety and security equipment, such as medical alert devices, and alarm and security systems must be programed to use 10-digit dialing. Many systems operate on 10-digit dialing by default but some older equipment may still use 7-digits. Please contact your medical alert or security provider if you don’t know whether your equipment needs to be reprogrammed to accommodate the upcoming change to 10-digit dialing.
WHAT WILL REMAIN THE SAME?
Your telephone number, including current area code, will not change. The price of a call, coverage area, or other rates and services will not change due to the overlay. What is a local call now will remain a local call regardless of the number of digits dialed. You will still have to dial 1+area code + telephone number (11-digit dialing) to place long-distance calls within the 208/986 Area Code. You can still dial just three digits to reach 411, 811 and 911.
If you have questions, contact us.
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