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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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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Conquering Quarantine: Continuity is King

By now, we are beginning to settle into the new (if temporary) reality that may include working from home while homeschooling or babysitting kids, while simultaneously having fewer and fewer opportunities to “just get out of the house.” Many of us have only been in self-imposed quarantine for a few days and extreme cabin fever is already setting in.

Beyond washing out hands and not panicking, what can we do to maintain a sense of normalcy for our families? Productivity with work? And academic continuity for our kids?

The most important thing when everything seems so strange is to find consistency and routine where possible. Lots of your daily activities are up in the air—isolation from friends, lack of activities for your kids, finances, working from home—but you have control over more than you think.

Work

In this wired era, we really are more capable of being highly productive without coming into the office. Let technology be your ally, but remember that people are what hold your organization together and drive your purpose:

  1. Stay connected – On days when you don’t have scheduled calls, organize quick check-ins with your employees or colleagues. Use video chat when possible to add a little human touch.
  2. Stay flexible – You may be asked to do tasks you never had to do before. Remember you may be covering for a sick colleague (or one who is caring for someone at risk), so keep your chin up and help where you can.
  3. Maintain your schedule – If you always get up at 6, work out, shower, and head to the office by 7, stick to it! Find a workout video on line or go for a run, but get up at your usual time and be at your desk (or kitchen table!) by 7.
  4. Be patient – Most likely your IT department is going to be overwhelmed with people working remotely so prepare yourself for slow speeds and longer than usual wait times from your Help Desk. “Please” and “thank you” will go a long way with your IT guys right now.

Health

With so much unknown about this new coronavirus, we may be inclined to panic or take drastic precautions. Heeding the authority’s advice is critical for the health of the general population and efficacy of the healthcare system, but we can also do our part be keeping healthy on an individual basis:

  1. Stay hydrated – Just like when you have the flu, staying hydrated is absolutely critical. Get an app that records your water intake, keep a tally by the fridge, whatever you have to do to take in at least 64 ounces of water a day.
  2. Take your vitamins – Keep taking your multivitamins to maintain overall health, and up your Vitamin C, B6, and E intake to boost your immunity.
  3. Rest – It’s an anxious time but the sure-fire way to reduce your immunity is to stress and not sleep. Drink some chamomile tea, have a warm bath, and stick to a set bedtime to support healthy sleep.

Kids

Sweet blessings, our children, right? But all day? All week? Yes, but again, don’t panic. Trying to manage homeschooling your kids while also doing work of your own will definitely be a challenge, but it’s doable if you keep a few things in mind:

  1. Maintain a schedule – The temptation for you both may be to treat this like spring break, but just as you need routine, so do your kids. Wake them up at a set time, have a plan for the day and stick to it, and stop at a specified time each day. Set goals and celebrate achievements.
  2. Call in reinforcements – If your math knowledge maxes out at 5th grade, find someone who can help. Most teachers are making themselves available for “office hours” but also reach out to other parents on Facebook or email for help.
  3. Take breaks – Don’t feel like you need to cram every day full of academics. Get outside, exercise, do arts and crafts, bake something, anything to break up the monotony of school with Mom/Dad.
  4. Find creative learning opportunities – Do crossword puzzles together, use math to measure when you bake, take a nature walk and record the plants and animals you see, and use local resources (most libraries are making e-books free for kids) to read, read, read! 

Stay Connected

  1. Do your research: It’s a complicated time and information is changing rapidly. Find a few solid resources (think CDC, your local government) where you can go for up to date information and recommendations rather than relying on Facebook messages or click-bait.
  2. Check in with elderly or friends with underlying medical conditions (virtually): The elderly and the sick should not be going out at this time, so make sure you call, Facetime, or touch base via social media every day to make sure they have the food, medicine, and personal touch they need every day.
  3. Be patient: With more people at home than usual, your internet connection is likely to be slower than usual. When possible, encourage family members to do off-line work while others are doing required online work. For example, if your high schooler is doing a research paper, have her complete all her online research first, log off, and then start writing.

The climate is tenuous right now and much is out of our control. But if we all take a deep breath, keep our bodies healthy, commit to quality work at home, and help our kids keep consistent and continuous study habits, we’ll get through this.


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Find the Speed You Need!

Is your internet running slow because of too many devices? Use our online calculator to find out how much bandwidth you actually need based on the number of internet connected devices you have.
It’s that easy!


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