How COVID-19 is affecting internet availability for work and school at home

As more people rely on their home internet for work, school, shopping, and socializing due to the coronavirus pandemic, it’s not surprising that internet usage rates have dramatically increased, along with the amount of data to support everyone doing, well, everything. Unfortunately, one way that many internet service providers have chosen to deal with this increased usage is to reinstate data caps for their customers.

What are data caps? It’s when an internet provider limits how much data subscribers can use each month – putting a “cap” on how much they are allowed according to their plan.

Kristy CooperHow COVID-19 is affecting internet availability for work and school at home
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What NOT to post on social media to protect your security

Many people love to share highlights of their lives through social media, including daily routine updates such as running or hiking, sending kids off to school each day, or laptop working sessions at a favorite coffee shop. Experts say, however, that posting information like this often including hidden information like detailed locations and timelines, opening the door to criminals who can use that information for everything from stalking to robbery to worse.

Kristy CooperWhat NOT to post on social media to protect your security
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How to know if that super-fast, super-cheap home internet offer is too good to be true

We’ve all seen those flyers in the mail from start-up companies offering super-fast internet service at amazing low prices. But the trick is knowing if they really do deliver all that they offer, or if it’s just another too-good-to-be-true gimmick that just doesn’t add up. As long-time providers of high-speed internet service in our area, we hear from our customers from time to time asking about new offers and how they compare to our services. So we thought it would useful to share what you need to know to determine the true value of any internet provider’s offer.

Contract details

The devil is in the details, so the saying goes, and the fine print is often where you’ll find the answers to understand the real value of an internet service provider’s offer. One of the first things to do is check out the Terms of Service or Contract.

Kristy CooperHow to know if that super-fast, super-cheap home internet offer is too good to be true
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How to safely celebrate the holidays during the COVID-19 pandemic

As much as we’d like coronavirus to disappear by the holidays, it won’t. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t still celebrate. According to the CDC and other health experts, the holidays don’t need to be cancelled this year, as long as you follow some simple safety tips like the ones we’ve rounded up here.

Check local regulations

First thing’s first. If you plan on hosting a holiday celebration, we strongly encourage you to check your local COVID-19 regulations to determine whether it’s safe (and legal) to have any type of gathering. Whether you’re planning on a small family gathering at home, or a larger socially-distanced event in an outdoor space, it’s good to know your local mandates to plan responsibly.

Kristy CooperHow to safely celebrate the holidays during the COVID-19 pandemic
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New cutting-edge equipment to expand services, coverage and speed

We’ve been busy behind the scenes here at Softcom for the last few months integrating cutting-edge Ericsson LTE equipment into our network that we are confident will be game-changing when it comes to internet service, coverage, speed and reliability for our customers and community.

Ericsson is recognized as one of the world’s leading providers of information and communication technology for service providers. Their technology and services are trusted by our nation’s top telecommunications companies and valued for their consistent success in a fully connected world. During the last few months here at Softcom, we have been working diligently to thoroughly test and integrate the equipment necessary to deploy Ericsson equipment, investing in our technology and in our ability to remain one of the best rural internet service providers in Galt, Herald, Wilton, Acampo, the River Delta, and the surrounding communities.

Kristy CooperNew cutting-edge equipment to expand services, coverage and speed
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What to expect when voting this year

For the first time in history, more than 20 million mail-in voting ballots are being sent out to California votes this year, just one of the many changes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s what you need to know to make sure your vote counts.

Register to vote: If you haven’t registered to vote, there’s still time. State law requires registration 15 days before an election, however there are options for same-day registration as well. See all the details and register to vote here: https://registertovote.ca.gov/

Not sure if you’re registered to vote? You can check here: https://voterstatus.sos.ca.gov/

Kristy CooperWhat to expect when voting this year
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How to use technology to lessen work-life stress

In an age where technology has given us so many “shortcuts” to make life easier, why do we all feel so stressed? Take one pandemic, add in difficulties adjusting to work, school and life at home, and that equals a whole lot of anxiety. The main reason for these problems, though, doesn’t always lie in the technology, but in the way – or how much – it’s being used.

For example, a study from Common Sense Media shows that smart phones, something designed to give people more “freedom,” actually rarely leave our sides – even at night! According to the study (pdf link), a third of teens actually sleep with their devices — girls more than boys, according to findings (PDF) in The New Normal: Parents, Teens, Screens, and Sleep in the United States. Parents aren’t better, with 62% keeping phones in reach of their bed.

Kristy CooperHow to use technology to lessen work-life stress
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How the government is addressing cybersecurity during COVID-19

You might think that government is solely focused on addressing the pandemic, but over the last few months new legislation has been proposed for more than 280 bills or resolutions just dealing with cybersecurity. With the chaos that COVID-19 is causing, lawmakers are working to keep criminals from running amok online.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 38 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico introduced or considered more than 280 bills or resolutions that deal significantly with cybersecurity. Some of the areas seeing the most legislative activity include measures:

Kristy CooperHow the government is addressing cybersecurity during COVID-19
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How COVID-19 is changing online shopping – now and for the future

As much of the world has embraced social distancing as a way to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s naturally been a decline in shopping at brick-and-mortar stores. While most people had used online shopping in some way before the pandemic, today’s situation means many are turning to ecommerce for things they normally would have purchased in person. Supplies such as food, pet products, health and beauty products, medications, and other home essentials are now shopped for via the internet.

One report shows how much people are relying on online shopping. According to the Adobe May 2020 Digital Economy Index (DEI), which tracks the state of e-commerce, online shopping levels during COVID-19 (April to May) were higher than what retailers saw during the previous 2019 holiday season of November to December.

Kristy CooperHow COVID-19 is changing online shopping – now and for the future
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Tips to make working from home easier (and more fun!)

How’s that “working from home” thing going? Even if you’ve got your home office all set up, you’re probably dealing with some growing pain. That’s why we rounded up some ideas for boosting WFM productivity – and adding a little fun while you’re at it.

There are a lot of benefits to working from home: flexibility to work the time you want, saving money on commuting and eating out, more free time for friends and family. But there are disadvantages as well:  interruptions and distractions, anxiety and stress, and missing the human interaction in traditional office spaces. For the time being, however, it looks like working from home (WFM) is the new normal, so here are some tips to uplevel your home office experience.

Kristy CooperTips to make working from home easier (and more fun!)
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