1 SPRING 2015 A QUARTERLY NEWSLETTER FROM HILL COUNTRY TELEPHONE COOPERATIVE, INC. HILL COUNTRY, MEET FIBER. CONNECTIONS THAT MATTER Over the last few years, Hill Country Telephone Cooperative and its subsidiary, Hill Country Telecommunications, LLC, have quietly been working to thrust the Hill Country into the forefront of digital communications. Life in the 21st Century is so often linked to our access to technology. Whether the need is to make video calls with the grandkids or screen an X-ray from a lab hundreds of miles away, our lives are ever more dependent on access to high speed data. Fiber optics is the best and fastest way to provide that access. If you are using a smartphone or tablet, a laptop or desktop computer, most of the applications you want to use perform far better with a high speed Internet connection. Music, games, video and movies are all enjoyable with fast speeds. Up until recently, that technology was mostly reserved for business and residents of large cities. Even conventional phone service is better served with fiber optics. But, with a multi-million dollar investment, Hill Country Telephone has successfully installed fiber optics in much of the Hill Country that has not previously had high-speed communications. This means homes and businesses here now have the super fast data rates and download speeds. Most of the national news attention has been around Google Fiber and those communities the giant company has chosen to overbuild with fiber optics. Austin and San Antonio have both been chosen as Google Fiber communities. What is less known is that communities like Kerrville, Ingram, and Mason have access to the same data speeds. All thanks to Hill Country Telephone. In some places, like Kerrville, access to fiber is limited to business addresses located closest to the fiber backbone. In Mason and Ingram, however, widespread access is available. As is the case with Google Fiber or cable TV, not all areas are served, but many are. Hill Country s website at will help put you in touch with someone who can check your home or business address for access. FIBER EXPANSION AND NETWORK UPGRADES CONTINUE RURAL TELCOS: PROVEN LEADERS IN THE MOVE TO AN INTERNET-BASED SOCIETY. Hill Country Telephone Cooperative is actively working on expansion of state-of-the-art fiber optics in our rural areas. The project is known as Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) Backbone Infrastructure Project.
2 FIVE DIRECTORS COMPLETE CORE CURRICULUM Bob Trees Ed Bastian NTCA-The Rural Broadband Association recently recognized five directors of Hill Country Telephone Cooperative for their completion of the Directors Core Curriculum (DCC) Program. The DCC program is designed specifically for telco directors with courses divided among four areas of study (Policy, Technology, Business and Governance). The seminars are designed to expose directors Randy Bass Kathy Bohn to the principles and concepts of these study areas, creating highly effective Board members. Directors of commercial companies must complete eight required courses. Directors of cooperatives must take one additional course, Understanding Capital Credits, which is deemed essential to understanding their role as members of the Cooperative s Board. Congratulations to Bob Trees, Director-District #1A (Ingram); T.H. Rocky Rocchio Ed Bastian, Director-District #1B (Ingram); Randy Bass, Director-District #2 (Hunt); Kathy Bohn, DirectorDistrict #6A (Comfort and Sisterdale); and T.H. Rocky Rocchio, DirectorDistrict #9 (Frio Canyon) on their achievement. HCTC HELPING OUR COMMUNITIES Hands Caring for The Community is composed of employees from Hill Country Telephone Cooperative volunteering to make our communities better. Hill Country Telephone Cooperative, in combination with Hands Caring for The Community, participates in many local projects designed to assist the less fortunate. These projects include assistance at local organizations such as the K Star Shelter of Kerrville, C.A.M.P. Camp of Center Point, the Women s Shelter, Kerr County Women and Men s Christian Job Corp, local food banks, Kerrville State Hospital, and Ingram ISD. Members of Hands Caring for The Community (HCTC) helping out at a local Food Bank.
3 KIDPICKERS.COM An online community portal for kid pickers. American Pickers creator and star Mike Wolfe is helping kids reconnect with their families and communities through his website and new book. Realizing the importance of Rural America, Wolfe states, If you look at what s going on with America s small towns and main streets, they are disappearing. We are on the road all the time and we see it. Much of this decline, Wolfe reflects, is as a result of loss in the agriculture base and manufacturing jobs that have moved overseas. If a child finds things in their community and they learn about their community, then they take pride in their community, he says. Wolfe s book teaches children how to learn about their community s history and family s history. Grandparents tell us that kids come out to their house now and they want to look in their barns, their attics, their basements they want to know who this was, what it was, they want to know more about it. The book is available in all major bookstores and online retailers. The KidPickers.com website provides a safe environment for kids to interact with other kids about their findings and adventures. The site is only open to kids age 13 and younger, and a parent must be involved in the registration process. Fifty percent of the one-time $5 subscription fee is donated to the St. Jude Children s Research Hospital for their Kid Pickers for Kids with Cancer program. ESSENTIAL HOME SECURITY 24/7 MONITORING REMOTE CONTROL VIA APP OPTIMIZED FOR YOUR HOME Rethink your Security & Alarm
4 CUSTOMER FACTS TEXAS NO CALL LISTS HECHOS DEL CLIENTE LISTAS DE NO LLAMAR EN TEJAS Texans may register a telephone number(s) for one or both of two No Call lists sponsored by the Public Utility Commission (PUC). Placing your name, address and telephone number on these lists will identify you as someone who does not wish to receive telemarketing calls at home. STATEWIDE DO NOT CALL LIST Residential or Wireless Only The statewide Do Not Call list applies to any telephone marketers, including Retail Electric Providers, operating in Texas. Your registered telephone number(s) will remain on this list for three years. ELECTRIC NO CALL LIST Business Service Only The second list prevents calls only from Retail Providers and telemarketers calling about your electric service. Business numbers placed on this list will remain on the list five years. When will these calls stop? The date of your registration determines the date by which all telemarketing to your number must stop: Date Registered Jan 1 - Mar 31 June 1 Apr 1 - June 30 Sept 1 Jul 1 - Sept 30 Dec 1 Oct 1 - Dec 31 Mar 1 Calls Stop By How do I sign up? At - Use the Internet for an easy, automated method that provides instant registration. To register by mail, use the printable registration form. Request a registration form by calling TXNOCALL ( ). Write: TEXAS NO CALL P. O. Box 313 E. Walpole, MA Online registration is free. Telephone registrations must be paid by credit card. Mailed applications may be paid by credit card or by check made payable to Texas No Call. The charge is $2.25 for each number registered on the Do Not Call list and $2.55 for each number placed on the Electric No Call list. Consumers in Texas can now register for the National Do Not Call list by visiting or by calling toll-free (TTY ). Companies that conduct telemarketing activities should call or visit for compliance information and additional details regarding Texas No Call lists. Tejanos pueden ahora registrar un número(s) de teléfono para uno o ambos de dos listas No Llamar patrocinado por la Comisión de Utilidad Pública (PUC). Poniendo su nombre, la dirección y el número de teléfono en estas listas le identificarán pues alguien que no desea recibir llamadas de telemarcaderos en casa. LA LISTA ESTATAL DE NO LLAMAR Solo Residencial o Celular La lista estatal de No Llamar se aplica a cualquier vendedor de teléfono incluyendo proveedores electricos que funciónan en Tejas. Su número(s) de teléfono registrado se quedará en esta lista durante tres años. LA LISTA ELÉCTRICA DE NO LLAMAR Solo Servicio de Negocio La segunda lista previene llamadas sólamente de abastecedores y telemarcaderos eléctricos que llaman sobre su servicio eléctrico. Números de negocio puestos en esta lista seguiran apareciendo en la lista por cinco años. Cuándo pararán estas llamadas? La fecha de su matrícula determina la fecha que toda televenta a su número debe parar: Fecha Registrada Jan 1 - Mar 31 June 1 Apr 1 - June 30 Sept 1 Jul 1 - Sept 30 Dec 1 Oct 1 - Dec 31 Mar 1 Llamadas Paran Cómo puedo registrarme? En Utilizar el Internet para unmétodo fácil y automatizado que proporciona matrícula instantánea. Para registrar por el correo, utiliza el formulario de inscripción imprimible. Solicite un formulario de inscripción llamando TXNOCALL ( ). Escriba: TEXAS NO CALL P. O. Box 313 E. Walpole, MA Registración en linea es gratis. Las matrículas telefónicas deben ser pagadas por tarjeta de crédito. Las aplicaciones enviadas pueden ser pagadas por tarjeta de crédito o cheque hecho pagadero a Texas No Call. La carga es $2.25 para cada número registrado en la lista de No Llamar y $2.55 para cada número puesto en la lista Electrica de No Llamar. Los consumidores en Tejas ahora se pueden registrar en la lista Nacíonal de No Llamar visitando o llamando (gratis) (TTY ). Las compañias que conducen actividades de tele marca dero deben llamar o visitar para información de conformidad y detalles adicionales con respecto a las listas de No Llamar de Tejas.
5 BEWARE OF TECH SUPPORT SCAMS SOME MAY APPEAR TO BE AN HCTC PRODUCT Scammers have been peddling bogus security software products for years using fake websites, free offers, and alarming messages to try to convince you that your computer is infected. But recently customers have been reporting that some of the scams appear as an HCTC product that pops up on their computer screens. The latest version of the scam begins with a phone call. Once they have you on the phone, they often try to gain your trust by pretending to be associated with well-known companies, such as Hill Country Telephone Cooperative, or confusing you with a barrage of technical terms. They may ask you to go to your computer and perform a series of complex tasks. Sometimes, they target legitimate computer files and claim that they are viruses. Their tactics are designed to scare you into WHAT TO DO IF THIS HAPPENS TO YOU: If You Get a Call from someone who claims to be a tech support person, hang up and call the company yourself using a phone number you know to be legitimate. A caller who creates a sense of urgency or uses high-pressure tactics is probably a scam artist. DO NOT rely on Caller ID alone to authenticate a caller. Criminals can fake caller ID numbers and may not even be in the same country as you. Place your phone number on the National Do Not Call Registry (www.donotcall. gov) and report illegal sales calls. believing they can help fix your problem. If you believe that someone may have accessed your personal or financial If You ve Responded to a Scam and think you might have downloaded malware from a scam site or allowed a cybercriminal to access your computer, don t panic. Instead update or download legitimate security software and scan your computer. Change any passwords that you gave out. If you use these passwords for other accounts, change those accounts, too. If you paid for bogus services with a credit card, call your credit card provider and ask to reverse the charges. Check your statements for any other charges you didn t make, and ask to reverse those, too. information, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at NEW HEADQUARTERS BUILDING ON SCHEDULE Construction of the new office building remains on schedule with completion expected by mid The state-of-theart retail facility will offer an Internet experience on the power that high-tech broadband brings to our communities. NEW KERRVILLE LOCATION IN RIVER HILLS MALL We have temporarily relocated to office space at 200 Sidney Baker South, #33 (in River Hills Mall). Our Kerrville office offers technology solutions and technical support for the business and home including personal devices and computer repair. Walk-ins welcome. Complimentary diagnostics. Monday-Friday from EVERYDAY SPECIAL 20% discount for Veterans (labor only) Move-In Special $25 OFF OF $75 OR MORE (LABOR ONLY) Expires 6/30/15 Limited to 1 per customer/visit
6 EMPLOYEE SERVICE RECOGNITION WE THANK YOU FOR YOUR TO THE COOPERATIVE AND TO OUR MEMBERS. BERNICE FISCHER Manager Human Resources & Administration DEAN OATES Outside Plant Engineer BETTY DRAWE Insurance Benefits Coordinator CHRIS LINDEMANN Outside Plant Inspector KAREN HOLBROOK Supervisor Centralized Operations DENISE SALTER Manager Billing & Customer Service MARGIE DOMINGUEZ Product Development Specialist NEWELL STEWART Outside Plant Technician JOHN IVY Outside Plant Planner
7 LEN CONRAD Systems Administrator BRADLEY CHAPMAN Senior Graphic Designer ROBERT HARRIS Security Alarm Technician NISHA CHANDY IP Network Engineer KERRY SUTTON Program Manager Business Development MARK HESS Business Solutions Specialist PATRICK TINLEY Manager Network Operations ROSE PETMECKY Customer Service Representative PATTY FEAGAN Licensed Manager Security Alarm SUSAN BAKER Dispatcher DONNA BROCK Dispatcher APRIL HANSARD Chief Financial Officer
8 P.O. BOX 768 INGRAM, TEXAS NOW OPEN AT THESE LOCATIONS (FOR YOUR CONVENIENCE) Ingram 220 Carolyn M-F, 8-5 Kerrville 200 Sidney Baker S., #33 (Inside River Hills Mall) M-F, 8-5 Mason 817 S. San Antonio St M-F, 8-5 (Closed 1-2 for lunch) PRSRT STD U.S. Postage PAID Kerrville, TX HERRING PRINTING Hill Country Telephone Cooperative, Inc. P.O. Box 768, Ingram, Texas Hill Country Telephone Cooperative, Inc. is an equal opportunity provider and employer. CONNECTIONS THAT MATTER