How to lower your electricity bills this summer

Summer’s heat can be fun when you’re heading to the beach or out for a picnic, but not so much fun when it comes to utility bills. It makes sense that as energy use goes up during the summer, so does your bills. That’s why we’ve put together this list of easy ways to save energy while still enjoying your summer. URL

#1: Watch for energy vampires

Energy vampires are appliances or other devices that slowly drain small amounts of electricity, even when not in use, that add up over time. Things like toasters, coffee makers, and digital photo frames are a few examples. Just turning them off doesn’t do the trick. You must unplug them when not in use to stop the energy drain.

Kristy CooperHow to lower your electricity bills this summer
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How summer heat can affect your internet

Summer heat – it wilts flowers, melts ice cream, and makes your internet stop working. Two of these statements are true, but the last one not so much. While summer heatwaves can affect your internet, it’s not a common issue and usually easily addressed. Here’s how heat can affect internet connectivity, and what to do if you suspect the heat’s wilting your online connection.

One common issue during heatwaves are blackouts or brownouts from overloaded electric grids. Electricity powers the towers that provide your internet signal. Electricity also powers the routers and computers you use to receive those signals. Unexpected power outages can negatively affect all of the above. High tech operating systems are complex and in normal conditions when they are shut off will go through a standard shutdown sequence to make sure all running processes have correctly terminated before powering off. A sudden loss of electricity can interrupt important signals and connections and cause systems to experience slow restarts or even leave them in an inoperable state that requires technical support.

Kristy CooperHow summer heat can affect your internet
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How the digital divide affects your life

Is your life affected by the digital divide? Rural communities are one of the groups most affected by this phenomenon, but new technologies and awareness of the issues is helping to close the gap slowly. In fact, providing internet access to people who live in rural communities is a big step for leveling the playing field, with the power to transform education, income, communications, healthcare and other basics of life.

What is the digital divide?

Kristy CooperHow the digital divide affects your life
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Softcom Plans for Fun Summer Events Near You

Softcom team members will be attending a variety of fun and festive events in our community this summer and we hope you’ll meet us there. Representatives will be staffing booths and meeting with community members in person to share information about our company, our services, and the exciting improvements in high-speed internet access for people who live and work in remote communities. We invite friends, customers and anyone interested in what we do to swing by our booth, ask any questions you might have, and find out more about how we can make home, school, work and play so much easier.

June 30: Independence Day Parade

Parade will begin at 9:30 a.m. but it’s popular so be sure to come early and get your spot to see the sights and enjoy. Last year’s parade marked the return of the popular military vehicle caravan featuring retired military vehicles and the possibility of a helicopter joining as well. The day also includes the 6th Annual Officer Tonn Memorial 5K Run/Walk, a Fireworks Celebration, Fireworks in the Pool, Horseshoe Tournament, Live Bands, a Kids Zone, and much more. Information about the day’s festivities, parade route, and more can be found HERE.

Kristy CooperSoftcom Plans for Fun Summer Events Near You
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Exciting news: The Galt fiber optic cable installation project is a go!

We’re excited to share with you some exciting news: The Galt City Council has unanimously approved for Softcom to provide the City of Galt government with high-speed Internet access delivered by fiber-optic cable, a project that will provide nearly every city facility with significant improvements in their Internet access.

Fiber-optic cable is the industry standard for providing the fastest and most reliable Internet connection across the last mile — the section of the network connected to homes and businesses. Fiber provides the highest possible Internet speeds and data capacity, without having to rebuild new networks in the future once initial cable has been installed.

Kristy CooperExciting news: The Galt fiber optic cable installation project is a go!
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Turning our competitors’ mistakes into our successes

There’s an old saying that instead of looking at something as a mistake, look at it as an opportunity to make something even better. It’s no secret that we are constantly looking for ways to improve the quality of our service – and sometimes we’ve found that they best way to do that is to watch and learn from the mistakes others in our industry have experienced.

For example, a recent article highlighted Frontier’s dramatic decline as a result of overreaching with their growth strategies and resulting inability to provide customers with adequate internet connectivity. Too many customers, not enough resources, and a lack of focus from their management has created a perfect storm of poor service that’s caused nearly half a million subscribers to leave last year alone. Internet service in Wilton, especially, has been negatively affected by Frontier’s decline, leaving subscribers with little to no connectivity at all.

Kristy CooperTurning our competitors’ mistakes into our successes
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How to help our technicians provide better service

While we do everything we can here at Softcom to ensure that your connection is fast, strong, and steady, sometimes we need your help too. Here’s a few simple tips to help us get around nature (and other assorted stuff) to provide faster, better service when you need it.

  • Keep critters away: Wasp nests are probably the biggest pest problem our technicians deal with when providing on-site service for our customers in Galt, Herald, Clements, Acampo, Wilton, Lodi, Lockeford, Walnut Grove, and the surrounding areas. Keep an eye on your equipment and try to discourage nests by setting traps or applying chemicals that will dissuade them from making a home.
  • Clear the clutter: Before our technicians arrive, it’s best to clear any clutter that has built up around antennas, cabling, or any of our equipment. If we can’t get to it, we can’t service it.
  • Watch the weather: In the rare case that it’s raining, we’re unable to climb, shimmy, jump, dance around or service any equipment. It’s dangerous for our technicians and not so good for the equipment either. So if rain is in the forecast and you’re about to make an appointment, it’s best to try to schedule around any bad weather.
  • Natures obstacles: If you’re adding new landscaping, avoid planting large trees with dense foliage near the antenna as it can weaken or block your signal. Trim existing trees or hedge lines that are in the direct path between you and your local tower as well.
  • Check for common issues: Did you know that often the cause of an internet outage can easily be fixed by the user at home? Before you pick up the phone and request a service call, we put together this quick checklist that might help you get back on track without calling in a professional.
Kristy CooperHow to help our technicians provide better service
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How to prepare for a digital disaster

This last year has been one to remember when it comes to disasters across the United States. From fires and floods to hurricanes galore, the importance of being prepared was demonstrated time and again as we watched communities struggle to survive. But while most of the attention was focused on assembling emergency supplies like food, water, first aid kits, flashlights and batteries, not much is being said about digital disaster planning.

Forget about natural disasters. Something as simple as an electrical fire or broken water pipes can prove devastating for everyone from small business to solo entrepreneur. Even families are at risk of losing access and control of sensitive files and financial accounts in an emergency.

Kristy CooperHow to prepare for a digital disaster
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Cord-cutting rates continue to skyrocket

Cancelling expensive satellite and cable company contracts, aka cutting the cord, and moving to internet-based streaming is continuing to grow at an outstanding rate. In fact, the speed at which people are leaving traditional pay TV is on track to be the biggest upset of the year. In the last quarter alone, approximately one million pay TV subscribers in the U.S. cut the cord and moved to internet-based streaming services. Even ESPN viewers, formerly some of the most loyal fans around, are jumping ship with the company losing more than 10 million viewers in the last few years. This shows a growing trend of consumers who either don’t watch sports, or are tired of the high price that comes with access for it. In fact, one recent survey suggests that 56% of remaining ESPN viewers would drop it in a heartbeat if it meant saving the estimated additional $8 price tag the sports network adds to cable subscriptions each month.

Kristy CooperCord-cutting rates continue to skyrocket
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You clicked – we listened! Most-read articles of 2017

This past year has been filled with milestones for us. One of the most satisfying is the remarkable bond we’ve built with our customers since we launched 25 years ago. As we move into a New Year we’d like to thank you for your insight, feedback and support along the way. Throughout the year you’ve let us know what is interesting and important to you through every click on our blog, website or social media. In fact, we thought it would be fun to round up the Top 10 most popular articles of the past year. If you missed any, here’s your chance to catch up.

Kristy CooperYou clicked – we listened! Most-read articles of 2017
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