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
read more

What do I need to protect my home while I’m away?

Summer is a great time to get away, but empty homes can be a magnet for thieves and trouble. Studies show that burglaries happen more often in the summer than in the winter, a number that makes sense considering windows or doors often left open to let in the warm breezes and fresh air and homes left empty for days or weeks as homeowners enjoy their vacations.

New technologies that only require the use of devices with internet access in the home that communicate with smart phones are making a big difference, though, by alerting homeowners to potential problems as they occur or even stopping them before damage is done.

Check out these ideas you can integrate into your own home.

Kristy CooperWhat do I need to protect my home while I’m away?
read more

Secrets for a smoother customer support experience

We get it, when things go wrong, calling a tech support line isn’t at the top of your list. Long wait times, bouncing from person to person, and frustrating non-answers are common with other industry help desks. But here at Softcom, we’ve taken all of that out of the equation.

Believe it or not, calling or chatting with our customer support specialists for your internet connection issues or questions doesn’t have to ruin your day.

All it takes is a little preparation and a few easy expectations and we’ll make your day better – faster. Here’s how:

Kristy CooperSecrets for a smoother customer support experience
read more

Tower upgrades open door for more customers and better service

If you live in the Herald or Acampo area, we’ve got great news! Upgrades to several of our towers in the area means that in addition to improving the strength and reliability of our service, we can now provide even more customers with the internet access they’ve been waiting for.

Here at Softcom, we’re committed to a high standard of quality when it comes to our customer’s internet connectivity. That’s why we take a “quality over quantity” approach for our services. For instance, when we reach capacity for each tower, our standard practice is to stop accepting new customers in that area to avoid spreading our resources too thin and degrading the service.

Kristy CooperTower upgrades open door for more customers and better service
read more

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
read more

Ready to stream? Now is the perfect time to cut the cord

If you’ve been hesitating to cut the cord and start streaming, now’s the time to jump in. Deals from streaming services such as DIRECTV NOW, YouTube TV, Hulu and Amazon Prime, in addition to stable Internet service from providers like us, means it’s the perfect time to make the switch.

“Cutting the cord,” the process of getting rid of traditional cable TV services and switching to watching television by streaming it via the Internet, is a concept that has existed for some time. However, for people who live in rural areas where internet services were either too slow or not available at all, cutting the cord has been out of reach. Until now.

Kristy CooperReady to stream? Now is the perfect time to cut the cord
read more

The one thing you need before cutting the cord

Watching TV is not the same as it was when you were a kid anymore. In fact, it’s barely recognizable. Add to that the changes that the internet has brought to home, business, school, work and play and you’ve got a whole new world that is changing dramatically. At the center of it all lies something we’re very familiar with – understanding how best to connect to the world as it is today.

We’ve written about this a few times in the past and are not surprised at all to let you know that 2017 was the year that cord-cutting finally became mainstream. Fed up with high prices and bloated packages, millions of Americans continue to sever their relationship with traditional cable services, instead choosing streaming services that deliver low rates and the ability to get everything they want – and nothing they don’t.

Kristy CooperThe one thing you need before cutting the cord
read more

Overcoming a serious problem for rural internet users

Even though we live in a time where virtual reality is becoming commonplace and people are buying tickets to Mars, it’s hard to believe that there still exists a “digital divide” between rural and urban areas when it comes to internet access. According to the Wall Street Journal, approximately 39 percent of America’s rural population – about 23 million people – do not have access to internet with speeds that can support email, web surfing, or video streaming for more than one device at a time. That’s compared to only 4 percent of urban dwellers who lack fast internet.

Some internet service providers promise the moon to rural internet users, encouraging them to commit to long-term contracts and high fees with the promise of impressive speeds, yet they fail to follow through and deliver. Just recently HughesNet users complained online that the company’s network is struggling to provide advertised speeds of “up to 25 Mbps,” with users sharing in DSL Reports online forums that they’re often relegated to mind-numbingly slow speeds between 384 kbps and 1 Mbps.

Kristy CooperOvercoming a serious problem for rural internet users
read more

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
read more

Our position on Net Neutrality

The repeal of Net Neutrality is a hot topic in America, and many of our customers have reached out to find out how we feel about it. Here at Softcom we believe that everyone should have the same opportunities to access the internet, no matter where they live, without us getting in the way of you getting the content you want.  In short, what does this mean for our customers? That we’ll continue to provide the best internet access and services to each and every customer without any net neutrality shenanigans. Or, in other words…business as usual!

Kristy CooperOur position on Net Neutrality
read more