CEO's Report – New Lisbon Telephone Company
2018 went out like a Lamb, with warm temperatures and almost no snow. This weekend things may change, with 5” to 7” predicted. So, we really didn’t escape winter; we just delayed it a bit. But those mild days did allow us to complete all of our 2018 fiber projects and get a jump start on some of our 2019 projects.
Our long-delayed video product had a successful launch on December 6, with only a few hiccups and bumps. We will continue to tweak the video network to improve its quality and reliability. We will also be adding new channels as they make sense (WGN America will be added in January), but we do not plan on any rate changes for the remainder of 2019 and likely 2020.
One added benefit of having our own video product is that we will now be able to launch an Over The Top (OTT) video service in the second half of 2019, barring any unforeseen issues. OTT video is different from our current product, in that it sends the signal over an Internet connection, unlike the dedicated link needed for the linear video service. This means that any NLTC or NLBC customer with an Internet connection of 10 Mbps or greater (including wireless) can “cut the cord” and receive our OTT service.
The packages and pricing will be the same as our linear service, but there will be no set top boxes, instead using devices like Roku or Fire TV or an app on a laptop or tablet. The OTT service will be available to wireless customers first, so stay tuned for more updates on this exciting offering.
The recent wireline rate increases went into effect on January 1 (wireless in February) and many of you saw larger bills. NLTC has not had any rate increases for many, many years, but our costs have continued to climb every year. Eventually, it became necessary to pass those increased costs on to consumers in the form of a price increase. No one likes these, so we hold them off as long as possible. However, in many instances, we are also providing more service (additional Bandwidth for instance) along with the increased price.
Although we completed a number of fiber projects in the fourth quarter of 2018, most were associated with builds to cellular towers. These projects are very important, not just for the increased revenue, but also because they allow us to expand our fiber footprint into areas that will benefit others, both business and residential. In 2018 four new tower sites were “lit”, including building fiber north of Winchester and just north of Centerville.
We will begin marketing and selling services in these areas in 2019. Finally, I want to welcome the Indiana Office of Technology as a new customer in the Fourth Quarter. In late December, we turned up a connection between the Department of Child Services in Winchester and the IOT’s main data center by utilizing the Intelligent Fiber Network (IFN) fiber backbone. IFN is a statewide fiber network built by the small telcos in Indiana that provides connectivity to parts of the State, like Indianapolis, that we could not reach on our own. Our membership in IFN is what allows our company to provide special Broadband services to State entities and cellular providers, among others.
Our partnership with IFN enables us to provide our customers with advanced services that would not otherwise be possible.
John E. Greene, Jr.
CEO and General Manager
New Lisbon Telephone Company and
New Lisbon Broadband and Communications, LLC