When I was 15, I had the best summer job a kid could dream of. Lee Johnson hired me to work with Statesboro CATV (now Northland Communications) helping install cable television.
I remember the excitement of exposing customers, for the first time, to cable TV. Their TV viewing options went from three or four channels to at least a dozen including CNN and HBO. It was a transformational time in our community. I spent the next couple of decades carving out a career with Northland. During my tenure, I was fortunate enough to be part of many firsts and enjoyed a great career until the entrepreneurial bug took over.
In the years since, I have enjoyed watching team members I helped recruit to the company grow to become leaders not only in Statesboro, but corporately. I sat down last week with one of those, Robert Wolfe, vice president of Technical Operations, who is part of the team that is responsible of overseeing the expansion and growth of broadband company wide.
This is a big job, since we are seeing our homes and businesses become more dependent on the internet. Capacity, speed and reliability are the basic benchmarks customers demand.
Founded locally, commitment to our community has always been a priority. I believe a commitment to not simply meet benchmarks, but leading by exceeding customers' expectations, have been a key to Northland's continued success. The ownership and corporate structure is pretty much the same as it was when I left. This talented management team understands the value of localization, decentralization and investment locally to provide a cutting edge product.
In January, the FCC, who is tasked with overseeing the internet, increased the standard for broadband download speeds to 25 megabits per second from 4 Mbps, and increased the upload speed to 3 Mbps from 1 Mbps. The average speed of internet service in the US currently is 10 Mbps. In fact, 53 percent of rural Americans (22 million) lack access to the new standards. Northland was ahead of this ruling offering the new minimum speeds to residential and business customers since last year.
"Earlier this year we began a transition to an all-digital system in Statesboro," said Tim Kelley, Northland's Statesboro business manager. "This switch allows our customers to access the most advanced technology in digital television with improved picture quality and sound. We will have this all-digital transition completed by the end of the year. This transition, along with ongoing upgrades to our fiber network, gives us the network capacity to exceed the FCC new minimum standards and now allows us to offer standard internet download speeds from 50 to 100 Mbps with even faster services available. In addition, upload speeds from 5 to 10 Mbps and beyond to all of our customers, both residential and business are available."
These super-fast 50 to 100 Mbps internet speeds are now available to about 50 percent of Northland's serviceable addresses with continued expansion system wide in the near future.
"We have invested over $2.1 million dollars into our fiber network and system infrastructure this year in Statesboro to improve reliability and performance for our customers," Wolfe said. "Our goal is to build on our strong local brand and reputation for providing the most advanced products available to all of our Internet, TV and phone customers for the best value."
Picking up on a key point in Kelley and Wolfe's quotes is that their upgrades will be available to both business and residential customers. They are committed to providing all of the same opportunities to their residential customers as their business customers.
I probably lost many of you with all these technical explanations. The bottom line is that as your demand for internet speed continues to increase as we see whole home technology solutions. For me, Northland has made the investment and commitment to ensure both residential and business clients are not left in the dark.
Please email DeWayne at email@example.com or give him a call at (912) 489-9499.