Why Rural Broadband is Essential

As we continue to practice social distancing, access to the internet has become more important than ever. For those living in rural areas, connectivity is a critical component for creating access to resources, tools and opportunities to thrive and expand.

On April 30, 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released a study analyzing the benefits of broadband in rural communities. The report identified Achieving e-Connectivity in rural America as a cornerstone recommendation.

The report also finds:
● If broadband infrastructure and digital technologies at scale were available at a level that meets estimated producer demand, the U.S. economy could realize benefits equivalent to nearly 18% of total agriculture production.
● Of that 18%, more than one-third is dependent on broadband e-Connectivity, equivalent to at least $18 billion in annual economic benefits that only high-speed, reliable internet can provide.
● There is a symbiotic relationship between the potential economic benefit of broadband buildout and the complementary adoption of connected agriculture technologies.
● e-Connectivity provides improved quality and higher quantity of information, allowing integration of data to improve business decisions.
● It improves information capture, feeding data to the “Internet of Things,” and making it possible to automate activities.
● e-Connectivity offers real-time information that helps workers focus on the most pressing tasks and triage issues as they arise.
● It also reduces information asymmetries to make more efficient markets across geographies for both products and people.

“When we are able to deploy broadband ubiquitously, think of all the things we will be able to design, harvest, and develop,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. “Broadband in rural America will be as transformative in the 21st century as rural electrification was in the last century.”
What are some other ways broadband internet brings rural communities together? Consider our top five benefits of reliable high-speed internet access.

1. Telehealth

Telehealth, or telemedicine, refers to virtual medical appointments or services and it is possibly the most important example to highlight when discussing remote care. More than 60% of those who live more than a 70-minute drive away from a physician don’t have internet service that can handle telehealth.
Rural hospitals and clinics can quickly and securely access larger medical centers with specialists and advanced equipment. MRI, radiology, health records, and speedy contact with experts, helps get proper treatment to patients more quickly.
It also allows patients to live chat with doctors from the comfort and convenience of their home. Doctors can use remote diagnostics and alternative healthcare delivery methods to better save lives.

2. Virtual Education

According to a 2017 congressional report, “America’s Digital Divide,” 12 million school-aged children in remote rural areas don’t have broadband access at home.
Amid the global pandemic, virtual education is another important benefit of broadband internet access in rural communities.

Both educators and students are calling for reforms and extensions of broadband deployment in rural areas, as extended school closures show how essential internet access is for education. With online courses and national testing materials available, schools no longer need to rely on outdated methods.

Not only does virtual education benefit the next generation with alternative ways to learn, most universities and colleges offer continuing education and degree programs for rural students, who may live hours away from the nearest campus.

3. Remote Work

The most effective economic development strategy for many rural communities is entrepreneurship. Considering the impact of COVID-19 on the labor market, many businesses have been forced to close, but an increasing number of companies have transitioned to remote work.
The defining aspect of whether a business can still function remotely is broadband internet access.

The perception that high-speed internet access is an essential tool for small business success and management is especially prevalent among youth, according to the Center for Rural Affairs. For example, one poll found 95 percent of individuals ages 19 to 29 “believe having high speed internet is important for doing work from home or managing a home-based business.”

To be able to work from home, employees need high-speed, secure internet that can handle group video conferencing, large file transfers, and online collaboration tools.
Another important point to consider is that the availability of jobs that can be done remotely is largely dependent on high-speed internet.

4. An e-Commerce Economy

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than $100 billion of e-commerce sales were facilitated by rural broadband in 2013.

Similarly, approximately $9.2 billion of retail ecommerce sales were facilitated by rural broadband in 2015. An estimated additional $1 billion would have taken place that same year had rural broadband penetration been equivalent to that in urban areas.

This number is growing exponentially.

Consumers are turning to the internet not only to shop, but to save money with promo codes, sales and free shipping. Broadband connects shoppers to savings.

5. Connectivity and Quality of Life

Broadband internet is what conquers the aforementioned Digital Divide and helps end the feeling of isolation experienced by many people in rural areas, particularly younger generations who must adapt to the use of technology to improve their future workforce opportunities.

Quality of life is living where you want without sacrificing the comforts of technology. More people move into rural areas where they can maintain their standard of living. When connectivity is optimal, existing or new businesses can reach the world, attracting high-quality, enterprising employees, no matter where they reside.

Broadband internet is a lifeline for rural communities, with the ability to transform lives and equalize access to information. That’s why at Colorado Valley Communications, we understand the importance of staying connected more than ever.

We’ve been serving rural Texas since 1953 with affordable and reliable voice and internet services. We offer high-speed internet to the following communities in our service area: Borden, Ellinger, Fayetteville, Flatonia, High Hill, La Grange, Moravia, Plum, Round Top, Schulenburg, Warrenton and Weimar. Click to see where we are building out our network and to request high-speed internet in your area.

Don’t have broadband in your home? Get started today by calling 800-242-5911.


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2020 Annual Meeting Cancellation Notice

For the safety of our members and staff, the Board of Directors has decided to cancel the 2020 Colorado Valley Telephone Cooperative’s Annual Membership Meeting due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The next meeting is tentatively scheduled for May 13th, 2021.


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Keep Your Kids Engaged, Entertained

Creative Ways to Keep Kids Engaged & Entertained

Summer is here and if you’re experiencing a drought of creative ways to keep your child occupied at home, we understand.

Though Netflix is always a good go-to, turn to something new. 

Try some of these online resources to engage and entertain without that cry of frustration from long load times or buffering using Colorado Valley Communications high-speed internet.

Play in the Minecraft playground – a game-based learning platform that promotes creativity, collaboration and problem-solving in an immersive digital environment.

Tune in for a Skype lecture by a special guest speaker. Skype in the Classroom is a free global community that fosters empathy and compassion for each other and our planet. Sign up for free!

Does your child need help in a specific area? Consider online tutoring services such as peertutor or TutorMe and get one-on-one help in its advanced lesson space using a virtual whiteboard, audio and video chat, screen sharing, text editor and more.

Make any room a classroom with BrainPOP – a subscription-based platform with free access during school closures to engage children in learning games, animated movies and activities. Designed with relevance, depth and humor to encourage kids on their unique learning paths. For K-3, upper elementary and middle schoolers, as well as ESL programs.

With Discovery Education, you can take advantage of ready-to-use, easily adaptable lessons and step-by-step guides and find complete collections of research-based strategies through dedicated collections like the Instructional Inspiration channel. You can also find one-of-a-kind lessons, activities and experiences through its Virtual Field Trips.

Explore 12 famous museums now offering virtual tours, from London to Seoul, in the comfort of your own home. Take a look at just some of Google’s top museums that are offering online tours and exhibits.

Run through a few rounds of Kahoot! – a quiz platform with several learning solutions for teachers and parents, as well as learning apps for kids.

Just because your kids are stuck inside, doesn’t mean they can’t bring out their creative side! Make short videos on TikTok or explore ideas for making a podcast with the app Anchor, which allows you to create and host unlimited episodes, distribute everywhere and make money.

Finally, don’t forget to practice some self-care in times of stress. If you’re struggling, turn to BetterHelp – an online portal that provides access to affordable, private and professional online counseling and therapy services, anytime, anywhere.

If you just need a little zen in your life, check out our list of the top 5 beginner meditation apps for peace in the palm of your hand.

Whatever is around the corner, don’t forget that Colorado Valley Communications is here to help, with a dedicated team of professionals to support you and your family and keep you connected, 24/7,  by calling 877-452-9035!

For more information, visit us online or give us a call at 979-242-5911.


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Alert- Spam Text Messages

06/26/2020-

Some customers have recently received text messages claiming to be from Colorado Valley, with links urging the recipient to click and follow us. These texts are likely spam, as Colorado Valley has not sent any information like this to our customers.

If you get a text message that you weren’t expecting and it asks you to give some personal information, don’t click on any links. Legitimate companies won’t ask for information about your account by text.

If you think the message might be real, contact the company using a phone number or website you know is real, not the information in the text message.

For more from the Federal Trade Commission on recognizing and reporting spam text messages, click here.


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New Webmail System- 06/24/2020

Update 06/29/2020- We understand some customers are seeing an issue with spam. We’re aware of the issue and are working diligently with our webmail provider to correct this as quickly as possible. Once these kinks are worked out, we believe you will enjoy the options and features of this new webmail platform.

06/24/2020- CVCTX has successfully migrated email accounts using @cvctx.com over to a new webmail platform. This new system features an easy-to-use interface, improved security, and the ability to share email folders with your contacts. You may begin using webmail.cvctx.com or logging in at userportal.cvctx.com.

As part of our new Spam Solution, you will begin receiving “Daily Digest” emails if the Greymail service has any messages quarantined. These are safe emails and will contain only content related to your email. If you need to check for an email that hasn’t come through you may also login to Greymail to check for important messages. Additional information can be found in our SPAM FAQ.

Please note if you do not see your webmail contacts, we can assist you in recovering those from the old platform and importing them into the new platform. Email us at info@coloradovalley.com or call 800-242-5911 for assistance with this issue.

Ensure that you are using your full email address (myemail@cvctx.com) as the username on all devices such as PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones. Server settings for your email clients (Outlook, Apple Mail, Thunderbird, etc) and some smartphone clients should not require any changes. Guides to assist you with changes can be found here. If you have trouble with any settings or new features, please call 877-452-9035 for assistance.

Sincerely,
Colorado Valley Communications Support Team

 

 

 


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EXTENDED SUMMER HOURS

In order to serve our members/customers better, we’ve extended our office hours:

Monday – Thursday

7:30am – 5:30pm

Friday

7:30am – 11:30am

 


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COVID-19 Federal Rural Resource Guide 

The USDA recently unveiled federal programs to assist organizations and individuals in rural communities like ours. This resource is the first-of-its-kind to help address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Be sure to read the COVID-19 Federal Rural Resource Guide to find all the details to get the support you need.


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Creative ways to use the internet to connect

Now, as we practice social distancing, that “handy tool” may be becoming a central part of our lives. While it certainly cannot replace good old-fashioned conversations at the neighborhood bakery or hands-on learning in the classroom, it does have the ability to keep us connected in many ways. And let’s face it, generally, we are social beings. The internet provides that outlet.

Here’s a handful of creative ways people are using their internet connection to connect:

We want to make sure you are having the best experience with your internet. Visit our website www.cvctx.com, and feel free to contact us to troubleshoot issues you may be having with Wi-Fi or to increase your bandwidth as your needs grow during this time. We’re in it together.

 


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COVID-19 Updates

COVID-19 Update from Colorado Valley Communications

Colorado Valley Communications is focused on keeping you healthy and connected.

At Colorado Valley Communications, we value the health and safety of our customers and employees above all else, which is why we are closely monitoring events concerning COVID-19 (coronavirus). We are sensitive to the impact this pandemic is having on our customers and employees, while recognizing the importance of keeping our fellow Texans connected. With these thoughts in mind, we have implemented the following measures:

What we are Doing Internally

We are implementing policies to protect our employees and customers from exposure to the virus.

  • Employees who feel sick are being instructed to stay home.
  • We are identifying jobs that can be performed remotely and setting those employees up to work from home.
  • Beginning March 13, 2020, we limited foot traffic at our office by closing the lobby. While our lobby is closed, we are not. We have many options to remotely pay your bill including the SmartHub app, which is a free app that customers can download on their Apple or Android devices. Visit cvctx.com/billing for more information about bill pay options.
  • Before any employee will be dispatched to a customer’s home for a service call, we will ask the customer a series of questions to determine the risk of exposure to our employee. If any risk exists, the service call will be rescheduled if possible. If the service call is an emergency, special precautions must be taken by our employee and our customers before a visit can be made.

Higher Than Normal Internet Usage

During this time, many of our customers are working from home, continuing education at home, and may be streaming video or gaming too. All of these applications require higher speeds and may create buffering if the speed you are currently subscribed to doesn’t support simultaneous use of these applications. Check our bandwidth calculator at cvctx.com/internet to find the bandwidth needs for your household, and fill out the online sign-up located on the home page to find out the speed available at your home.

Keeping You Informed

Colorado Valley Communications is making every effort to keep you informed about how we are responding to the COVID-19 outbreak, along with ways you can protect yourself and your family. To ensure you see our information:

  • Follow us on Facebook: facebook.com/cvctx
  • Follow us on Instagram: Instagram.com/colorado_valley
  • Visit our website: cvctx.com

Please also note we have longer than normal call volumes at this time, so please be patient with us as our team is going above and beyond to make sure everyone has the connectivity they need.

As we navigate these uncertain times, we encourage our communities to stay safe. We recommend you visit the Center for Disease Control (cdc.gov) website for updates on COVID-19 and preventative measures you can take to keep you and your family safe. We are proud to be your local service provider, and as your neighbor, we are here to help you.


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Unplug Modems During Lightning Storms

PLEASE remember to unplug your high-speed modem and router during lightning storms.  Surge protector can’t always protect your equipment.  If your internet connection runs through the phone line, disconnect the cord from the jack because power surges can also travel through the phone line and fry your equipment.

 


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