Check out the most recent INS Tech Talk. It highlights the importance of calling before you dig to check and the potential impact if you don’t make the call.
By Bill Menner, USDA Rural Development State Director in Iowa
Rural telephone companies impact their local economies in many different ways. They provide access to traditional phone service, to cutting-edge broadband technologies, and to federal resources that help create jobs and opportunity.
That’s certainly the case for Interstate Communications! The company, which serves a wide-ranging area of southwest Iowa that includes the communities of Truro, St. Charles, St. Mary’s, Emerson, Imogene and Henderson, has made some significant investments in recent years.
For example, last month Interstate Communications secured a $1 million USDA Rural Development loan on behalf of a company looking to expand in Warren County. The telephone cooperative is using the loan to assist C&L Companies, LLC with the construction of a 25,000 square-foot distribution center just a few miles south of Indianola.
C&L Companies is a manufacturer of after-market motorcycle component parts for the motocross and recreational vehicle industries. It is estimated that the project will assist in creating 14 new jobs.
Interestingly, the distribution center will be located on the grounds of Farm MX, which is home to a widely recognized motocross track. The track will be used to test the company’s products under competitive racing conditions.
And one day C&L Companies hopes to host national qualifying events at this location.
This project is truly a partnership and collaboration on many fronts with Interstate Communications playing a very important role in making everything become a reality.
The project is also receiving assistance from the Warren County Economic Development Corporation, Warren County Board of Supervisors, Iowa Department of Transportation, Iowa Economic Development Authority, Greater Des Moines Partnership, Iowa Area Development Group, Clarke Electric Cooperative and Warren Water District.
C&L Companies is headquartered in Urbandale. The company also has a manufacturing plant in Italy and sells to customers all over the world.
Congratulations to Interstate Communications for helping grow business opportunities in rural Iowa!
Technology has increasingly become more important for the agricultural industry. But don’t just take our word for it. Minden farmer and past president of the Iowa Corn Growers Association Kevin Ross recently wrote a piece for The Des Moines Register that highlights just how important technology is for farmers and the positive impact of broadband availability. He went even further to show how technology and broadband can continue to help grow rural Iowa and keep youth in the smaller towns by providing access.
Check out the article here:
Many providers are moving to usage caps on their Internet service. You have a couple of decisions to make when choosing an Internet plan, the download speed, which is usually quoted as “up to” speeds and the data throughput limit. To provide a guideline, below are some examples of the amount of data used per type of Internet activity.
What consumer Internet activities use in bandwidth
1 email (sent or received, text only) = 35 KB
1 email (sent or received) with attachments = 350 KB
1 minute of connected game play = 1 MB
1 social media post = 250 KB
1 standard Web page = 180 KB
1 app/game/song download = 4 MB
1 minute of streaming music = 1 MB
1 minute of streaming video (standard) = 3 MB
DATA CONVERSION 1 MB = 1,024 KB 1 GB = 1,024 MB
If a one minute video is 3 MB throughput, then a 90-minute typical movie is 270 MB. Gaming is also another heavy data use. Multiple devices increase the usage further. That is why the way you use your Internet connection should be considered when choosing a plan.
What about Ultra-Hyper Speed Broadband
Broadband providers increase download speeds in their plans to attract new subscribers. The current idea is that there is an increasing demand for download speeds driven by the growing use of video streaming services, but that is not necessarily proving to be the case.
In the competitive urban markets where ultra-high speed services of 250—300 MB downloads have been launched, customers are finding that their connection does not operate any faster than on their previous lower speed plan.
The problem is that most of the Internet isn’t transmitting data fast enough to take advantage of such ultra-high speed broadband connections.
If a server computer transmits an Internet video at 20 million bits per second, having a 300-million-bits-a-second connection won’t make it operate any faster. The websites you are connecting to can be the bottleneck.
As more companies secure the extra speed for their own websites and digital interaction, it will become increasingly beneficial for consumers who will start to see greater pay off from their investment.
If you are a business owner or manage your company’s website, what steps have you taken steps to increase download speed for your customers? If you haven’t, do you plan to?
The following article was written by Rep. Tom Sands and reprinted with permission.
We have progressed to the time in session where patience runs short, time runs long and the pressure begins to build. I truly enjoy serving as the Chair of the Iowa House Ways and Means Committee, but this time of year I get pulled in every direction. This week was no exception. I have spent numerous hours this week on HF 510, which deals with E911. Iowa Code allows a 65 cent monthly charge per cell phone and permits counties to impose up to a monthly dollar charge on landlines. There are two Federal mandates coming down that will increase the cost of updating the equipment to receive emergency calls. Technology is changing very fast and now there are ways to transmit data, like texts/photos via 911, but no way to receive the data.
The Federal government has mandated that we must be able to receive the data in two years. The State has upgraded its equipment and is ready to comply.
However, the local public safety answering points (PSAPs) are struggling to find enough money so they can comply. There are two ways to pay for these upgrades under current law. First the counties could impose an additional
$2.50 surcharge on land lines second they could borrow the money and use property tax revenue to cover the bond payments. Neither of these options makes much sense. The number of landlines is going down and property taxes are already too high. Therefore, the question still remains on how the local PSAPs are able to upgrade their equipment in time to comply with the Federal mandate.
Last year there was a task force established to bring a recommendation back to the legislature on the best way to solve this problem. Their recommendations were to get rid of the option for an additional $2.50 surcharge on land lines and equalize the wireless fee up to the dollar.
This makes all phone users equitable have the same charge. This is very important, because the use of the landlines is going down and it has the highest fee. Presently, wireless users pay a lessor fee, but they contribute approximately 70% of all emergency calls. Therefore equalizing the fee on the people who are making most of the calls and are responsible for the equipment update just makes sense. Presently there is an audit conducted on the wireless fees collected at the state, but there isn’t an audit conducted on the local PSAPs, this is wrong and we have stated that this needs to be done. I believe that we need to make sure the local PSAPs have the money it needs to comply with the Federal mandate and have the equipment necessary to answer our 911 calls when they come in. However, I am not convinced that this is being done in the most cost effective manner across the state. So our bill also asks for a review of all 107 local PSAPs to make sure they are operating in the most cost effective manner. It is the Legislature’s responsibility to make sure we have the equipment updates in place to be able to comply with the Federal mandate. Just as important is to make sure they are operating in the most efficient manner and are most cost effective. Property taxes are too high now and paying for too much of the PSAPs budget. The cost should be covered by the users not property owners.