CEO's Report – New Lisbon Telephone Company
Well, today may be the first actual day of Spring, as the temperatures are predicted to go above 70 degrees for the first time in 2018. But the prolonged Winter has not slowed our construction crews in building out more fiber throughout East Central Indiana. Projects on Indian Trail Lake (Randolph County), Three Mile Road (Wayne County), Teetor Road and SR 1 (Wayne County), South CR 425 East (Henry County) and North CR 500 East (Henry County) are in various stages of completion and more are planned for 2018. Like 2017, this year promises to be a busy one (weather permitting).
Recently, questions have come up about our fiber projects in Henry County in our regulated area. NLTC is required by the FCC to provide a certain level of Internet and telephone service to each and every customer and those standards are increasing. Unfortunately, our aging copper cables cannot provide the higher bandwidths necessary to meet those requirements in the near future, so NLTC is replacing those older copper cables with newer fiber optic cables. Once these plant upgrades are complete, we will retire the older copper cables, resulting in a lowering of our property taxes and a reduction in maintenance necessary to keep the copper cables working. Once the fiber projects are completed, customers will be moved over to the new network and this may mean an increase in their monthly bills. The fiber network will be more reliable and offer other advantages besides increased Internet speeds, including our new IPTV video product. Our staff will be contacting everyone affected by these upgrades to discuss pricing and service availability. If your area hasn’t been selected for the fiber upgrade yet, be patient, as this overbuild will take years to complete. In the meantime, we are working to offer higher speeds over some of the copper, so contact us if you are interested in an upgrade.
Our planned rollout of new video services hit a few bumps in the road and probably won’t be available until late May. Those of you with our existing IPTV service will see some channel changes when the new product is released. An increase in programming costs (again) have caused us to drop some channels and add others. Our video team continues to try and bring you the most affordable packages possible, while keeping as much of the content you want as possible. The OTT (Over The Top) video product I talked about in the last newsletter should be available around the same time. We hope NLBC TV (our new brand name) will meet the needs of our customers moving forward and be an economical alternative to Comcast, Dish, and Direct. As always, it will carry with it the local reliable service that we are known for.
Finally, I want to talk briefly about something that has plagued our customers over the years. I call this “reading the fine print”. Most of us are not attorneys and do not always read all the contracts that we sign for services like Internet and Video. NLTC and NLBC contracts are usually pretty simple, and we don’t bait a customer with a low entry price, only to increase it dramatically at a later date, But this tactic is common with larger service providers. My satellite video service at home (pretty basic with no premium channels) started at about $60 per month and is now double that, with six months left on the contract. I didn’t have a choice, since I was outside the NLBC serving area, but I will be converting to our OTT video service as soon as it is available. Also, beware that other video providers are notorious about extending the contract terms anytime a change is made, however minor.
Additionally, with Internet service, read the details that specify what you will actually get. Satellite Internet service is very limited in how much you can download before your bandwidth is severely curtailed. Usually one or two movies from Netflix will use up an entire month’s allotment, leaving you with slowed speeds. Similarly, watch out for the statement that Internet speeds are “up to” a certain amount. This usually means that they can (and will) be lower. Those who have had cable modem service in the past know that when the children get home after school, their Internet speeds slow down. Same for evenings and weekends, just when you want faster speed the most. So a 25 Mbps service might end up being less than 5 Mbps during the times you need it most.
NLBC DSL and Fiber Internet service is fast and reliable, and we don’t have data caps. While our wireless service doesn’t have the speeds of the wireline services, there are no data caps on it either. So downloading movies from Netflix, or gaming, will not result in your speeds being throttled down or added charges on your bill for exceeding data caps. Similarly, our video service is priced the same from the beginning of a contract to the end. We try not to have frequent price increases, even though our costs go up every year (most of that due to the content providers). If you ever have a question about what you will get with our service, call us. Our Customer Service Representatives will be happy to answer your questions. But, before you sign any contract, READ THE FINE PRINT.
John E. Greene, Jr.
CEO and General Manager
New Lisbon Telephone Company and
New Lisbon Broadband and Communications, LLC