CHAT

 

 

Digital Cleanup

The start of Spring may be the time to clean out your closets, dust ceiling fans, and organize pantries, but now that your home is sparkling, it’s time to clean up your digital presence. When was the last time you cleared your cache or deleted old accounts? How many apps are just taking up storage on your phone? How many drawers are filled with sticky notes of old passwords? There’s a lot more to tidying up online than simply sweeping the crumbs off your keyboard. Follow these tips for a safer, more organized cyberspace.

Email

Unsubscribe

  • There are two kinds of people in the world. Those who open every email and those who have thousands in one inbox. Spam and promotional emails are probably taking up the majority of your storage. Either spend time manually unsubscribing from accounts or use this tool to easily unsubscribe in bulk. 

Organize Folders

  • Now that you’re done receiving thousands of unwanted emails, you can prioritize what’s important. Sorting into folders will help you keep track of conversations, documents, travel plans, work needs, et cetera, making it easier to locate what you need to come back to. 

Empty Spam and Trash Folders

  • There is no need to keep a receipt from a purchase three years ago. Start by emptying your spam and promotional folders. Then permanently delete the emails in your trash. No need to be worried. If you haven’t opened an email in 6 months, you no longer need to hold on. Update your settings to automatically delete messages older than a certain date to keep your emails under control.

Mobile Devices

Delete Apps

  • Candy Crush, Pandora, and VSCO don’t need to take up space on your phone anymore. (Unless, of course, you still use these throwback apps then please, carry on!) There are tons of viral games and dead social media platforms that you probably haven’t opened in a few years. Delete and make space for the next big thing!

Unfollow Old Social Media Accounts

  • Interests come and go. Why crowd your feed with products that aren’t for sale anymore, people you never see, or groups you’re no longer a part of? Declutter your social media, declutter your mind, and focus on who’s important to you now. 

Delete Texts and Pictures

  • While we’re purging, scroll down to the bottom of your texts and start deleting! Images and videos take up mass amounts of storage space, so this is a great way to get rid of that annoying “your iCloud is full” pop-up. An even better solution is to go through your photos. You would be surprised with how many duplicates, randoms, and photos taken by accident may be in there. Consider an organizational app, such as Google Photos or SmugMug, that can help clear up storage space and make it easier to find photos by category. 

Sanitize Devices

  • We sanitize toilets, door handles, and elevator buttons but we often forget about the number one collector of germs and bacteria – our cell phones. Before you hold up any number of viruses to your face again, wipe it down with disinfectant first. And don’t forget about your laptops, tablets, smart home devices, and tv remotes. 

Go Through “My List” in Streaming Platforms

  • Everyone is guilty of saving something on Netflix and never coming back to it. Go through that list! You might rediscover something really interesting or realize that was just a fad and (you guessed it) delete! 

Laptops

Cancel Unused Subscriptions

  • Look at your bank statement. Are there any magazines, gaming or music services, streaming platforms, subscription boxes, fitness gyms, meal kits, newspapers, dating apps, photo editors, or anything else that you just don’t need anymore? There are likely quite a few subscriptions you can cancel and stop paying for that unnecessary service. 

Organize Desktop

  • Screenshots, apps, and web pages crowd our laptops. A cluttered home screen does not allow efficient work. Review what needs to remain on your desktop and hide or delete what does not. The same idea applies to your digital bookmarks or dock menu. 

Clear Downloads Folder 

  • Going through your downloads folder can actually be quite comical. You might find old school projects, silly photos, and random zip files, but you will definitely find thousands of files you no longer need. Manually go through your downloads from the last 3 months and bulk delete the rest! 

Update PC

  • Don’t just click away from those pesky “software update” notifications. Downloading the latest operating system can improve speed, add new device features, and fend off hacker attacks.

Household

Recycle or Destroy 

  • Gather all the old CDs, floppy disks, thumb drives, external hard drives, flash drives (basically any kind of “drive”), laptops, gaming consoles, smart home gadgets, chargers, TVs, printers, and landline phones gathering dust in your home and take them to your nearest electronic recycling center. Information on where that may be can be found here

Passwords Manager 

  • Are you the kind of person who uses the same password everywhere or makes up easy ones that any elementary hacker could hack if they wanted to? It’s time to switch to a password management tool. This software will generate unique, random passwords for each of your accounts and store them in a secure digital vault. They’ll notify you of a potential data breach and update passwords if necessary, keeping you and your data safe from any identity theft. 

Just any cleaning ritual, you’ll be happy you put in the work! Take a day to organize your cyberspace thereby creating a safer, faster, more efficient digital presence! 

 

 

 

 

Blue CTTC Fiber Stickers Storm San Saba

Remote, hybrid, flexible, and work-from-home are all terms that have seriously entered the conversation now that the global pandemic has permanently changed workplace culture. A recent study from Pew Research Center found that 23 percent of employees teleworked before the coronavirus outbreak. As of January 2022, 60 percent now report working from home. The survey revealed these workers didn’t opt to work remotely because they are afraid of getting sick, but rather they feel more productive and like being able to maintain a robust work-life balance. As this trend increases, so does the opportunity to live somewhere more affordable and/or comfortable. But instead of location, location, location, now it is all about internet, internet, internet! With the help of CTTC’s high-speed fiber internet connections, San Saba has uniquely positioned itself as an ideal town to save money while staying on the grid. 

“There’s no need for a fortune-teller to see there are more sweatpants and hoodies in our future than suit jackets and starched shirts.”
Chicago Sun Times

Remote Benefits

It’s not just introverts who aren’t excited about returning to an office. There are many reasons why working from home can be valuable to all:

  • Less time on the road: The average one-way commuting time in the U.S. is 27.1 minutes – that’s nearly an hour each day spent getting to and from work, and it really adds up. According to the Auto Insurance Center, commuters spend about 100 hours commuting and 41 hours stuck in traffic each year. 
  • Greater productivity: Think of what you could accomplish in the time it takes to get ready and drive to work in the morning. Not to mention the time spent chatting with coworkers and dealing with office politics. Home offices provide quieter workplaces with far fewer distractions. 
  • A cleaner environment: Fewer cars on the road is directly related to lower greenhouse gas emissions. Reducing commutes is one of the fastest and easiest ways to reduce pollution. 
  • Money saved: It has been estimated that you could save anywhere from $2,000 to $6,500 a year by not spending on things such as gas, car maintenance, work clothes, lunches out, daycare, etc. 
  • Greater job satisfaction: Because remote jobs are often more flexible, workers have more control over their schedules, an invaluable asset when attending to the needs of your personal life. As long as your work is executed properly by the deadline, why not determine when your day begins and ends?
  • Happier, healthier work-life: Working from home has been proven to lower stress, improve personal relationships, and allow more time for hobbies and fitness. Overall, employees are much happier in remote environments, an observation validated by the 72 percent of employers who report WFH has a high impact on employee retention, according to Global Workplace Analytics

Considerably, one of the greatest advantages to working from home is the ability to live in a much more affordable location. With home prices skyrocketing in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, and Houston, more and more people are relocating away from the city. The Austin Board of Realtors recently released the average price of a home in Austin has reached $624,000. Meanwhile, the median is only $235,000 in the Texas Hill Country. For many, it has become not only a no-brainer but a necessity to move to smaller towns. 

San Saba is a CTTC Fiber Community

Before getting too excited about potential savings, remote work is reliant on one very important factor – a stable, reliable, and fast internet connection. The rural divide is no myth, most smaller towns do not have the broadband access necessary to conduct business and keep up with modern technology. You can barely scroll through Instagram, much less conduct digital conference meetings. This is why CTTC is proud to serve the small communities of Central Texas. We love the Texas Hill Country, it is our home, which is why we strive to keep our rural neighbors connected in the same capacity that our urban counterparts enjoy. Fiber internet can be up to 20 times faster than standard cable, a service we are currently providing to nearly twenty different small towns here in Texas, including the Pecan Capital of the World – San Saba. 

San Saba is a terrific town for teleworking, whether you are just passing through and want to set up shop at the local coffee house, or if you are looking to lay down those more affordable roots mentioned earlier. Beginning June 2, 2022, CTTC is launching its CTTC Fiber Community Stickers. The purpose of this program is to provide both visitors and residents with knowledge of where to access CTTC’s high-speed fiber internet while out and about in downtown San Saba. If you look around, you’ll notice bright blue stickers in the windows of most downtown businesses. These stickers are your indication that particular business offers CTTC high-speed internet access to its customers. These are ideal locations to send emails, access the web, and conduct business operations. Simply scan the QR code on the sticker to access a diverse list of CTTC fiber internet hosts, including:

Restaurants

Oliver & Company 

Pecan House Grill 

Pepperbelly’s Mexican Restaurant  

Hotels and Rental Properties

Aunt M’s Illustrated Inn 

Burnham’s Lodging 

Dofflemyer Hotel 

The Harwood House 

The Ragsdale 

Stone Oak Cottage 

Boutiques and Shops

Alamo Pecan & Coffee 

Prynt Shop 

Switch Salon Spa & Boutique 

Armadillo Laundry 

Other

San Saba Chamber of Commerce 

San Saba First United Methodist Church 

Take Advantage of Rural Fiber

Though the pandemic may have been the catalyst for remote work for many millions of employees around the world, it’s far from the only reason to work from home. Look around your tiny, expensive apartment or overcrowded home and think bigger! Because of CTTC’s high-speed fiber internet connections, you can get away from the big city while keeping your remote working lifestyle in the fast lane. Take your newfound freedom somewhere that benefits your future – somewhere like San Saba! And stay tuned for the spread of more CTTC Fiber Community stickers throughout rural Texas.

 

 

 

 

Have you noticed your town is growing? Maybe new businesses are popping up, or maybe there are more visitors on the weekends. Could it be that more and more people have found mentions of how special your town is on the internet and have come to see for themselves? This is the case for many rural Texan communities in the past few years and the impact has been substantial. Sales tax and revenues are reaching higher records than ever before and a lot of this growth can be attributed to revolutionary internet access. CTTC is excited to share the stories of customers that are having a big impact in a central Texas community!

We all might admire the new building going up in the lot next door, or the new development of houses in our neighborhoods, but have you considered the benefits of restoring historic buildings? The small town of San Saba certainly has! The town is currently revitalizing its downtown scene but instead of tearing down history, new businesses are refreshing the older buildings that have stood tall since San Saba’s establishment in 1854. The following new businesses are reinvigorating East Wallace Street – a heavily trafficked road in downtown San Saba where Highway 16 and Highway 290 intersect. 

“CTTC was wonderful in helping install fiber into our older, historic building.”

-Terra Gardner, Switch Boutique

Bard & Hallow

Meet the Harts, Logan an original Austinite and Uriah a born Alaskan who each carry a love for all things nostalgic. These are the founders of San Saba’s newest downtown addition – Bard & Hallow. After leaving long careers in other fields, the couple came together to start a fine antique & architectural salvage store based in San Saba, TX. In admiration of how the Nettleship and Jordan families have restored structures of San Saba’s history, developing them into vital parts of the local community, the Harts have similar dreams for Bard & Hallow. So far, they have seen a very fruitful seven months since opening their doors. San Saba and neighboring communities love the antique furniture, unique art, and home goods sold in Bard & Hallow. The future is bright for this new business.

Switch Boutique

Entering San Saba’s downtown scene around the same time as Bard & Hallow was Switch Boutique. Switch is another realization of a lifelong dream, this time belonging to Terra Gardner. This entrepreneur was no stranger to restoration after turning an empty 100-year-old building into a town sensation upon her first boutique’s opening in Goldthwaite in 2019. Expanding to San Saba in 2021 was a no-brainer after recognizing the compatible market, supportive community, and necessary business foundations in town. Switch Boutique provides modern style for all ages, shapes, & sizes! Their trendy clothes, fashionable jewelry, and stylish shoes have been very well received by the ladies in town and Terra is excited to be a part of the team effort working to advance San Saba’s revitalization progress.

Pecan House Grill

Pecan House Grill needs no introduction. Owner Clay Nettleship and General Manager Amber Everett transformed a downtown building with a rich history into one of the most successful restaurants in the Hill Country region. What was once a hardware shop in the 1800s, destroyed by fire and rebuilt into a series of grocery and variety stores, is now an upscale steakhouse that pulls in visitors from all over the state. This is no surprise as the restaurant’s menu is an impressive collection of prime steaks, comfort food, and craft cocktails served from the upstairs bar. 

Fiber Lends a Helping Hand

These successful businesses attribute much of their growth to the high-speed internet access provided by CTTC’s fiber installations. Such a compliment was synonymous in a series of interviews performed with the 3 businesses. Fiber speed enables the POS systems, online sales, website hosts, and digital advertising necessary to run a business smoothly. 

“As soon as I take an order at a table, I immediately hear the ring of a new order in the kitchen.”

-Amber Everett, Pecan House Grill

These local entrepreneurs have enjoyed immense support from the San Saba community, but they also need out-of-town traffic to stay afloat. Fiber connectivity allows each entrepreneur to reach customers in neighboring towns and across Texas. Bard & Hallow and Pecan House Grill were excited to share how often they get visitors from out of state, even as far as Wyoming and Montana. Having two locations, Switch Boutique is grateful that fiber provides the necessary speed to keep inventory balanced between stores. 

San Saba has recently seen immense growth. Sales tax revenue has increased 45 percent in five years alone. If you’d like to join the revitalization process, beautiful downtown buildings continue to be available. There is so much potential here for entrepreneurs and investors. The time to start a business is now and with CTTC fiber internet, the opportunities are endless!

The Future is Now

“Acquiring fiber internet from CTTC has been an extremely smooth, easy process. ” 

-Uriah J. Hart, Bard & Hallow

At today’s rate of technological advancement, the high-speed of fiber internet is now a necessity to stay competitive. Businesses need the reliability, speed, security, and consistency that can only be provided with fiber. With CTTC technician experts, installation is quick and seamless so you can connect and start running your operations immediately. Don’t let internet lag hold your sales back, unlock your business’s full potential with fiber connectivity. Central Texas Telecommunications is currently servicing 18 rural communities in the Texas Hill Country with office locations in Goldthwaite and San Saba.

 

 

 

Whether we’re shopping online, video chatting with friends and family, or working from home, we need the internet to be fast and reliable. Luckily, we’ve come a long way since dial-up. Surpassing cable, fiber internet has become wildly popular in the past decade, yet nearly half of Americans don’t have access to fiber infrastructure, primarily in rural areas. CTTC is bridging that divide by offering modern fiber internet connectivity to the communities of Central Texas. However, if you haven’t yet joined the fiber revolution, you may not understand why this technology is truly the superior choice for internet access. Is it really faster? Is it really more reliable? Is it really worth the investment? The simple answer is yes, but let’s dive deeper into why you need fiber internet in your home and business. 

Speed 

The speed of fiber optic internet is 1 gigabit per second (Gbps). That’s 10 to 20 times faster than the 50 to 100 Mbps cable most of us know now. This is because signals are sent through a thin glass or plastic fiber, immune to the heat friction that occurs in traditional metal cables. After being coded into data packets of zeros and ones, files are sent at the literal speed of light. 

Time to download a 2 hour HD movie:

  • Fiber – 1 Gbps: 40 seconds
  • Cable – 100 Mbps: 7 minutes
  • 4G LTE – 35 Mbps: 25 minutes
  • DSL – 25Mbps: 30 minutes

Reliability

Cable internet is a shared network so similar to a highway at rush hour, cable wires get jammed during peak traffic hours. You can expect up to a 25 percent reduction in speed during peak-use periods. Because fiber optic cables don’t heat up and are resistant to environmental interference, many people can access the fiber network at the same time without affecting overall performance. In other words, a fiber network provides a reliable, consistent service. 

No throttling

Have you ever noticed that sometimes your air conditioning stops working on the hottest of summer days? Everyone maxing out their A/C’s at the same time overloads power lines. The same concept applies to the internet. ISP throttling is when your internet service provider (ISP) deliberately restricts your internet bandwidth or speed without telling you in order to control traffic over their network and reduce congestion. Fiber optic internet speed doesn’t throttle because it’s less susceptible to overload. 

Multi-Device Households

Gone are the days of the “household computer.” Now laptops, smartphones, tablets, and a plethora of smart devices fuel our need for fast and reliable data transmissions. On a cable connection, you’ll notice lags typically when the family is home altogether or whenever multiple devices are being used at once. The bandwidth provided by fiber ensures that no matter how many smartwatches, thermostats, televisions, gaming consoles, baby monitors, or home assistants you have in your home, all will operate smoothly. 

Higher Quality TV

As technology advances, the internet’s need to keep up grows stronger and stronger. 4K televisions are a major factor driving the demand for the increased bandwidth that fiber provides. As the name suggests, 4K TVs deliver four times as much detail as current 1080p full HD sets. That’s eight million pixels, compared to two million pixels, so pictures will have much better definition and higher quality. Because the majority of content is now streamed through services like Netflix or Hulu, a television’s internet connection determines how crisp the image will be. Better internet will provide clearer picture quality. 

Working From Home

Most of us found ourselves working from home in 2020 and many have remained doing so since technology has enabled the same productivity as we’d find in an office. But working remotely comes with its own set of challenges. With fast fiber internet at home, you won’t need to worry about your service cutting out during an important Zoom meeting, not being able to download large files, or having to kick someone in your household off the Wi-Fi because their Netflix habit is interfering with your work. 

Upgrade Today

Take it from the thousands of CTTC customers enjoying state-of-the-art internet access. Fiber optic cables make a substantial difference in efficiency, productivity, and quality of usage. With speed about 20 times faster than regular cable internet and 80 times faster than DSL, fiber is the right choice for most internet users. Contact us today to upgrade your internet. 

 

 

Your Guide to Podcasts in 2022

 

The golden age of radio didn’t end – it evolved! As the world becomes busier, podcasts have become incredibly popular. Audio content allows the listener to multitask. Whether it be in the car, at the gym, or while unwinding at home, the humble podcast has become an extension of the way we consume daily content. But with over two million different shows to choose from, how do you decide which are worth your time? You could listen to friends or hope that the “You Might Also Like” recommendations steer you in the right direction, but those approaches aren’t always a hit. 

We scoured the internet for ten of the best podcasts to tune into in 2022. Whether you’re interested in current events, true crime, health and fitness, celebrity interviews, or just a fun distraction, there’s plenty of fish in the proverbial podcast sea. So clear your schedule and charge up those headphones (or if you’re old school, plug ’em in) because you’ve got some serious listening to do!

The Dropout 

The story of Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos is an unbelievable tale of ambition and fame gone terribly wrong. How did the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire lose it all in the blink of an eye? How did the woman once heralded as “the next Steve Jobs” find herself facing criminal charges? How did her technology, meant to revolutionize health care, potentially put millions of patients at risk? Listen in to a multi-year investigation. You’ll hear exclusive interviews with former employees, investors, and patients, and for the first time, the never-before-aired deposition testimony of Elizabeth Holmes.

Sweet Bobby 

Kirat Assi was terrorized in an online web of deceit for 10 years as she thought she had found her true destiny in Bobby. The conversations became intimate and, of course, his story is not what it seemed. The reveal is unexpected and wild. You’ll want to binge the whole thing for answers. Most importantly Sweet Bobby looks into why there are few consequences for people who commit this kind of online psychological warfare.

The Daily 

The Daily is basically the New York Times but in podcast form. It covers everything from Cancel Culture to anti-vaccine attitudes. Beautifully edited with great music and relevant audio clips, this show excels at storytelling. It will grab your attention and keep your interest throughout. Your host Micheal Barbaro is a great interviewer too, making sure each question he asks adds clarity to the story. 

This is Dating 

Come for the cringe, stay for the connection. Follow four modern daters as they trade the swiping, the small talk, and the fumbled first kiss for a curated virtual date with a team of fairy godmothers behind the scenes. You might have eavesdropped on a first date before, but never like this. This is Dating is a series of recorded first dates.

Radio Rental 

Discover real-life horror stories, from bizarre crimes to paranormal activity. These true stories are set inside the fictional world of Radio Rental, an 80’s video rental store run by an eccentric shopkeeper, Terry Carnation (Rainn Wilson). This imaginative, cult classic-inspired horror brand blurs the lines of reality, with cutting-edge documentary storytelling and a splash of comedy. 

We Can Do Hard Things with Glennon Doyle 

Glennon Doyle, author of Untamed – the book that many saw as a lifeline during the pandemic, expands on the phrase that has become a worldwide rally cry – “we can do hard things.” Life is hard. We are all doing hard things every single day – things like caring for children and parents; forging and ending friendships; battling addiction, illness, and loneliness; struggling in our jobs, our marriages, and our divorces; and fighting for equality, purpose, freedom, joy, and peace. On We Can Do Hard Things, Glennon and her sister drop the fake and talk honestly about the hard, hoping that in doing so, we can help each other live a bit lighter and braver, more free and less alone.

Pop Culture Happy Hour 

Five days a week, Pop Culture Happy Hour serves you recommendations and commentary on the buzziest movies, TV, music, books, video games, and more. The Happy Hour team leaves room at the table for exploring a range of reactions and opinions on every bit of the pop universe. 

Serial 

No list is complete without the original true-crime podcast. Serial unfolds one story – a true story – over the course of a whole season. The show follows the plot and characters wherever they lead, through many surprising twists and turns. The audience learns case details in real-time with the host. 

20 Minute Fitness 

This is the best health and fitness podcast if you’re a busy person. Keeping it concise, every episode covers a topic with an industry expert in just 20 minutes. Covering subjects like nutrition, exercise burnout, and fitness trends, this show is always up to date on the latest science. It goes through the newest fads, debunking health myths and letting you know what’s real and what’s not. 

Planet Money 

NPR’s Planet Money is a podcast about the economy for people who think they aren’t interested in economics. Over 10 years and more than 1,000 episodes, the podcast has drawn millions of regular listeners through humor, storytelling, and an accessible style.

Seamless Streaming

Podcasts may be the new radio, but listening to these downloadable shows requires more effort than just twisting a dial. As long as you have a laptop or a cellphone, finding these podcasts is easier than you may think! You can choose from a number of podcast apps, the most popular being Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Spotify. Those apps are a terrific start for someone new to the realm of podcasts but for those who are savvier, discover unique stories on Audible, Stitcher, Pocket Casts, and Overcast. 

The allure of a podcast is convenience but your experience will certainly be spoiled if your internet isn’t up to date. CTTC is proud to provide lightning-fast broadband access so you can stream without buffering, skips, or drops. Contact us today to upgrade your internet connection.

 

*podcast summaries are from Apple Podcast descriptions

 

 

 

70 Years of Connectivity

This year, CTTC is celebrating its 70th year in business. That’s 70 years of providing connectivity to the rural communities of central Texas. Things looked pretty different back in 1951. The world mainly communicated via hardwired telephones and the postal system and we were decades away from the introduction to the internet. But as technology changed, the world evolved and so have we. So as we celebrate our 70th year in business, we’re taking you on a nostalgia trip as we recall some of the technology we encountered through our many years of serving central Texas.

Rotary Telephones

Woman hands picks up the number of the rotary phone and holds the handset on blue pastel background. Top view, minimalism

The invention of the rotary telephone precedes all of us, as it dates back as early as 1891. Before the invention of the rotary phone, callers picked up the receiver, cranked a handle, and were then connected to an operator who would patch them through to the person they were trying to reach. This lengthy process made many people realize that there was a need to cut out the middleman and allow callers to input the numbers themselves. While many inventors filed patents for phones that achieved this goal, one stood out as practical and affordable to manufacture–the rotary phone. The design of this technology included numbers positioned in a circle beneath a metal disc or dial. To make a call, the caller had to pick up the receiver and rotate the dial for each digit in the phone number–therefore “dialing a number”.

The Rotary Telephone had quite the run. It wasn’t until the 1970’s when the push-button tone dial phone was introduced. By the 1980’s, many households had upgraded and rotary phones were phased out.

Dial-up Modems

The dial-up modem was a wonderful piece of technology that allowed us to get online after the birth of the world wide web in 1994. What started in the 1950s as a method of providing connectivity for the SAGE air-defense system became a mass-produced piece of technology for households worldwide. To get online, the device required an open phone line as it used public telephone networks to connect to servers and other computers. The process involved an exchange of data that created a strange and noisy side effect, known among technicians as “the handshake”. If you received a phone call while connected to the internet, you were booted off and forced to go through the whole connection process once again.

AOL/AIM [a]

Vintage Desktop PC with Floppy Drive, Keyboard and Mouse in Neon Lightning. 3D Rendering.

It was all thanks to America Online (AOL) that the internet experienced exponential growth in 1997. AOL was the downloadable software that allowed people to access the internet and email. It was also the first of its kind in which registered users could communicate in real-time via AOL Instant Messaging. Who could forget the significance of the away message? It was the original Facebook status update long before Facebook existed.

“How was it downloadable if you had no internet access?”, you ask? Enter the floppy disc, followed by the CD; both of which are retired methods of downloading software or files from a physical disc that you inserted into your computer. AOL mailed mass amounts of these discs–unsolicited–to households around the country. You may even recall throwing several in the trash. It was estimated that they spent over $300 million on approximately 1 billion floppy discs and CDs over a multi-year marketing campaign. After a 20 year run, AOL officially shut down in 2017.

Mobile Phones

Old vintage mobile phones on yellow background.

The first mobile phones were more like two-way radios that fulfilled the need for faster communication among taxi drivers and emergency services. Rather than relying on base stations with separate cells, these devices utilized a mobile phone network created by one very powerful base station that covered a larger area. Motorola was the first company to produce the first handheld mobile phone in 1973. It weighed approximately 2.5 lbs., allowed for 30 minutes of talk time, and took 10 hours to charge. Its steep price also made it available to only a handful of people.

Between the 70s and the early 90s, the mobile phone went through several renditions; all of which produced a device that had weak battery life and was ultimately inaccessible to the average consumer. In 1997, Nokia released the NOKIA 6110; the first handheld mobile phone aimed at the average consumer. It was the first phone to feature mobile games such as snake, memory, and logic. It also had a calculator, currency converter, and a colored screen (4 colors to be exact).

In 2003, the first smartphone was introduced with the Palm One Treo 600. The phone was the first to feature multi-tasking abilities. Companies like Nokia and Blackberry followed suit and released their versions of the smartphone with full keyboards, cameras, and wi-fi capabilities.

The mobile phone world was forever changed in 2008 with the release of the Apple iPhone. Because of the iPhone, touchscreen interfaces became the new standard. Before long, Google produced its own version of the device with the creation of the Android platform. This ultimately put an end to the other operating systems that had previously been thriving. The competition was refocused on the iPhone and Android.

Netflix

LONDON, UK – MAY 14 2020: Netflix logo on a smartphone with popcorn

Since its inception, Netflix has revolutionized the way we watch movies and television shows and its success led to the creation of multiple competing streaming platforms that we use today.

When Netflix originally launched back in April of 1998, it was the world’s first online DVD rental company that carried 1000 titles. Customers logged on to Netflix.com, selected a movie, and had it mailed to their homes for $4 per DVD with an additional $2 for postage. Eventually, the business model changed to a subscription service allowing customers an unlimited number of rentals for a low monthly fee.

In 2007, the internet streaming option was introduced. At the time, it was only available on PCs and Internet Explorer. Users were also limited to 18 hours of free streaming each month depending on their selected subscription plan. Two years later, streaming was made available on smart TVs and Playstations and as their platform was made available to other countries outside the U.S., their title selection continued to grow. By 2016, Netflix was available in 130 countries across the globe.

Today, Netflix is both a streaming service and a production company–continuously building its library of original films and series in an effort to have exclusive content that edges out the competition like Hulu, Amazon, AppleTV, and Disney+. In 2020, the company spent $15 billion on the production of original content and that number is expected to continue to grow.

Modern Day Internet: Fiber

Though fiber internet may seem relatively new, the science of fiber optic cables dates back as far as the mid-1800s when scientists considered using the speed of light to transmit information. Researchers at the Corning Glass Institute continued to push this research forward. Approximately 100 years later, they invented the fiber optic wire. These wires carried 65,000 times more data than traditional copper wires. When the U.S. government happened upon this groundbreaking technology, it became the first big organization to utilize fiber optic cables to provide stronger links between computer networks.

Fiber optics has come a long way since then. With a signal that maintains speed and doesn’t deteriorate over long distances, it’s easy to see why the broadband fiber network is spreading fast. Its symmetrical speeds allow for seemingly instantaneous uploading and downloading, meaning businesses and households using fiber internet can operate several devices simultaneously. This allows families and growing businesses to operate multiple systems and devices without forcing them to sacrifice speed.

The need for broadband fiber internet is growing rapidly and CTTC is working diligently to fulfill that need for rural communities across central Texas. CTTC currently serves 4,600 members over a 4,000 square mile service area and the numbers are going up. In the last 12 months, CTTC installed 461 miles of fiber, providing faster and more reliable internet for our customers.

We’ve witnessed a lot of change since 1951. From landlines and cellular to fiber and broadband service as well, our services are constantly evolving. As technology continues to evolve, we will be right at the cutting edge of it with you; providing our customers with the same great service you have trusted for the past 70 years.

Works Cited

Berning Sawa, Dale. “An Oral History of the AIM Away Message (By the People Who Were There).” Invision, 12 August 2019, https://www.invisionapp.com/inside-design/an-oral-history-of-the-aim-away-message-by-the-people-who-were-there/. Accessed 28 October 2021.

Goodwin, Richard. “The History of Mobile Phones From 1973 To 2008: The Cellphones That Made It ALL Happen.” Know Your Mobile, 24 August 2021, https://www.knowyourmobile.com/phones/the-history-of-mobile-phones-from-1973-to-2008-the-handsets-that-made-it-all-happen-d58/. Accessed 31 October 2021.

McFadden, Christopher. “The Fascinating History of Netflix.” Interesting Engineering, 4 July 2020, https://interestingengineering.com/the-fascinating-history-of-netflix. Accessed 2 November 2021.

McFadden, Christopher. “What Are Rotary Dial Phones and How Do They Work?” Interesting Engineering, 6 February 2019, https://interestingengineering.com/what-are-rotary-dial-phones-and-how-do-they-work. Accessed 27 October 2021.

Peskoe-Yang, Lynne. “When the Internet Was Made of Sound.” Popular Mechanics, 28 October 2019, https://www.popularmechanics.com/science/a29611456/internet-dialup-modem-sounds/. Accessed 28 October 2021.

World’s Greatest Internet Provider

It’s not every day that you get a phone call letting you know your company is in the running to be featured on a television show called World’s Greatest. That’s a call most people would want to take, and at CTTC, when we received the call we definitely wanted to know more.  

 

About World’s Greatest

World’s Greatest is a national television show in its 15th season that takes viewers on a fast-paced tour looking at different industries, and topics from amazing companies, big and small from all over the world. When we set up our first interview, we were notified that we were among 80 telecommunications companies being considered for the show.

The Interview Process

In our initial interview, we were asked what sets us apart from other telecommunications companies, and our General Manager, Jamey Wigley, who has been with CTTC for over 30 years hit the nail on the head talking about our history starting as a landline telephone company, and evolving into a high-speed fiber internet provider. We have a long, unique history and a connection to our communities that big telecommunications companies just can’t replicate. After the initial interview, the World’s Greatest team worked with our Marketing Manager, Amanda Wood, to set up a follow up interview for the top 10 finalists, and after that interview, all we could do was wait. 

Humbled and Honored to Be Selected

It was pretty exciting to receive the call that we had been chosen to be featured on the show. We know there are a lot of great companies out there doing what we do around the country, but we were honored and humbled by the selection and we began the process of coordinating logistics for the filming of the show! We knew there would be some challenges to bringing it all together, but we had no idea what it would take to make it all happen!  

Not The Easiest Time to Film a TV Show

The World’s Greatest team is based out of Florida, and Amanda worked diligently to get things lined up for our filming. However, COVID-19 had other plans and as schedules got changed, and people got quarantined, it seemed like the show was never going to happen. Amanda was poised to be the on-screen spokesperson for the show, but her family had to quarantine due to COVID-19, and after all of her hard work to get everything ready, she was not able to be part of the day-of filming. We made the necessary adjustments and got everything in place to film the episode.

Smile, You’re On Camera Again

During COVID-19, our offices, and interactions with customers were always with a mask for safety precautions, but for the filming of our segment we thought it was important that we not have any evidence of masks in the footage so that it could not be tied to the pandemic. This required quite a bit of creativity to make all of the shots work, but after 8 straight hours of filming, the World’s Greatest team had what they needed, and once again we waited to see what the final results would look like. 

 

World’s Greatest Debut

On April 12, our episode debuted, and we were thrilled with the results. It took a lot of work, flexibility, and creativity to make it all happen, but we are so happy that World’s Greatest chose us and understood that for CTTC, history, customer service, and our connection to the community, are what make us the world’s greatest telecommunications company.

 

CTTC Spring Entertainment Update

It is almost Spring in Texas, and eventually, we will all be looking for wildflowers and taking pictures in the Bluebonnets, but just in case we get a few more rainy days that might keep you inside over the next few weeks, we have collected a few lists of top-streaming shows on a variety of streaming platforms.

 

What People are Watching on Netflix

According to Newsweek magazine, the top three most-streamed shows on Netflix in February were:

Firefly Lane

Apparently, a lot of people were looking for something light and fun after the challenges of 2020, and Firefly Lane took the top spot. The friendship-focused show spans a number of decades and is based on the book by Kristin Hannah.

Bridgerton

This British fictional period drama is the story of a young couple pretending to be in love to avoid being matched up with someone else, a brilliant plan, until they wind up making their lives even more complicated–including an old-fashioned duel!

Lupin

Lupin is a hit new show with roots in some old-school material. The story focuses on a thief trying to steal a necklace that belonged to Marie Antoinette. The idea came from a book he was read as a child, called “The Queen’s Necklace” which is a real story from 1906. 

 

 

What’s Trending on Disney+

According to businessinsider.com the top streaming shows for the week of February 18th on Disney+ have a science-fiction theme:

The Mandalorian

Season 2 of the Mandalorian has been a huge hit, with the return of a number of vintage Star Wars characters, and following the adventures across the galaxy of Din Djarin as he tries to get The Child safely to the Jedi and away from the embers of the fallen Empire. 

Wanda Vision

This is the first Marvel series made for television and it has scored big numbers. The series focuses on Wanda and Vision, who find themselves in a normal suburban neighborhood trying to fit in despite their superpowers, although everything is not as it seems and there is much more going on than meets the eye.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars

When Disney purchased the rights to all of the Star Wars properties, they most likely had a plan that included extending the lives of cartoon series like The Clone Wars, and a new season has just recently launched exploring the storyline and events that lead up to “Star Wars: The Revenge of the Sith.”

 

 

What Amazon Prime Members are Watching

Some people do not realize that free television programming is included with their Amazon Prime membership, and there are some great shows to check out including:

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

A 50’s housewife decides she wants to become a standup comic once her husband fails at doing so. Witty dialogue, amazing sets and costumes, and the absolute energy of Rachel Brosnahan pull you in to see what will happen next.

Sneaky Pete

What happens when you are a con man who escapes from prison that robs a gangster? In this case, Marius, takes the identity of his cellmate Pete and walks back into their lives without missing a beat. The sticky situations and quick cons are made for binging. 

The Boys

The Boys is an example of what happens if you give a teenager obsessed with comic books and violence the freedom to do anything they want with any character in the story–no rules. The Boys flips heroism on its head, making the superheroes bad guys with addiction problems, anger management issues, and too many other maladies to list. 

 

Other Suggestions to Wrap up Winter

There are many other streaming services out there, and so many great shows to choose from, so here are a few more suggestions, in case you might have already checked out some of the ideas above:

Netflix

  • How to Get Away With Murder
  • Outer Banks
  • The Crown
  • Schitt’s Creek
  • Queen’s Gambit

Amazon Prime

  • The Man in the High Castle
  • Jack Ryan
  • The Expanse
  • Fleabag
  • Goliath

Disney+

  • Pixar Popcorn
  • The Simpsons
  • Schoolhouse Rock

 

Lightning Fast Internet Speed

CTTC is proud to provide lightning-fast internet connections so you can stream all of the content you want without buffering, skips, drops or any problems. Contact us today to upgrade your internet connection and start streaming some of these amazing shows!

 

What’s the Difference Between Fiber vs. DSL vs. WiFi?

At CTTC, We get asked all the time, what is the difference between the different types of internet connectivity available in our region, so we thought we would give a quick overview of all of the options out there, and more specifically the ones available to most of our communities.

 

The Internet Has Become a Critical Tool For the Success of Rural Texas Communities

Living in rural Texas presents many unique challenges that our friends in the big city rarely have to face. For many, one of those challenges is access to reliable, fast internet for your home and business. However, CTTC has laid the groundwork to help our Central Texas communities lead the way in fiber connectivity, building Smart Rural Communities, and providing fast, reliable internet connectivity with lightning-fast speeds. Over the past year, it has become more important than ever to be able to work from home, run online businesses, and have access to telemedicine, and CTTC has been here to ensure our rural Texas towns like Bend, Big Valley, Cherokee, Doole, Millersview, Eola, Evant, Goldthwaite, Locker, Lohn, Melvin, Mercury, Mullin, Priddy, Richland Springs, Rochelle, San Saba, Star, and Voca have the best connection possible.

 

The Four Main Types of Internet Connections

When it comes to choosing which type of internet delivery service is best for you, it is important to know the differences between your choices and what options are available. There are four primary types of internet connections: Fiber, Cable, DSL, and Wireless Internet. Each type of connection has different download and upload speeds, as well as different delivery methods. Here are the facts you need to know about each type of connection:

Fiber Internet Connection  (Available from CTTC)

Fiber internet is a broadband internet connection delivered through glass fibers that allow for data to be transferred at about 70% of the speed of light. Fiber connections are fast (up to 1 gig-1000 Mbps) and are resilient to external factors because the lines are dedicated only for internet connections. 

Cable Internet Connection

A cable internet connection uses underground coaxial cables that are shared lines that also transmit television signals. Cable connections can be as fast as fiber internet (up to 1 gig-1000 Mbps) in some cases, but connections are not very common in rural areas. Cable connections also experience lags during peak use times due to the shared nature of the connection.

DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) Connection (Available from CTTC)

DSL is an affordable, fast option that transmits signals over copper phone lines. DSL is often the best option available to rural communities due to the lack of existing fiber or cable lines. Most communities have existing phone lines that can be shared to transfer data over the internet at speeds up to about 115 Mbps.

Wireless Internet

Wireless internet is becoming more common but has been less widespread up this point. This type of connection uses stationary fixed points to transmit the data signal from one location to another, it does not require a cable delivery system, so it is very flexible. WIreless connections transfer signals over the air instead of through a cable or fiber, so the connection is much slower, around 25 Mbps. These connections are also impacted by weather and sightlines, and if the signal becomes blocked by a tree or a building, the connection will deteriorate. 

What is Mbps Exactly?

One of the most important questions you need to ask when considering an internet provider is how fast does my internet need to be? The national average internet speed in the United States is 42.86 Mbps, but what is Mbps anyway? Broadband speeds are measured in “megabits per second,” shortened to Mbps. Bits are tiny units of data with a megabit representing a million of them. The higher the number of Mbps, the faster your internet connection. Any internet speed of less than 25 Mbps is considered a slow connection.

 

How Does WiFi Play A Role in Connecting Communities?

WiFi is often confused as being interchangeable with other internet connections. In actuality, WiFi is what transmits data inside of your home or business from your router to devices such as your smartphone, tablet, smart TV, laptop, and anything else that can pick up and utilize an existing internet signal. A WiFi signal is local, which means that it will generally only reach the areas within your home or office. It does not create internet access; it only allows you to have the signal carried to your device when there is internet service available. Wireless internet service is not WiFi, and WiFi is not internet service. The two go hand-in-hand, but they are not the same thing. WiFi does allow businesses to offer customers a connection while they are shopping or having a coffee. The quality of the WiFi connection will depend on the type of internet connection and router that it is connected to.

 

Why Fiber is the Future of Internet Connectivity 

In rural areas, many large cable companies do not want to make the investment in infrastructure for internet services for residents. This means that many rural communities are being left behind when it comes to technology and growing businesses beyond our local neighborhoods. However, CTTC has invested greatly in the future of our region, digging hundreds of miles of fiber lines to prepare for the future. 

Fiber is the most reliable, and fastest option available today. The further you move from the source of the connection, the fiber signal barely degrades. It has a higher resistance to electromagnetic interference (EMI) and radio-frequency interference (RFI), so you can rely on the fact that your signal won’t be interrupted by things that carry an electrical signal. Likewise, the speeds are not affected by environmental factors either. It can reach speeds from 50Mbps to 100Gbps, which are unmatched by other technologies.

Fiber is also far superior when it comes to security since the only way to disrupt a fiber optic internet connection is to cut a cable. This compromise can be identified quickly, fixed rapidly, and there is no way that anyone can tap or listen in on your transmissions. Optical fibers are easy to install and simple to upgrade so it is a great solution for a growing business, especially in a rural area. 

Finally, the cost of using fiber internet is lower than other methods. The initial cost may be higher than wireless or other wired methods, but the cables require less maintenance since they are resistant to corrosion, and, because of this, they are far more reliable.

 

Speed and Reliability for Your Business

If you are looking for high-quality internet that is fast and reliable, contact CTTC to discuss all of your options for internet services. We are happy to break down all of the differences between our services and help you decide which is right for you. When your business or home needs the best possible internet service, only CTTC has the internet options that will keep you reliably connected. Don’t let internet connection be a challenge for your family, CTTC is here to connect you to the rest of the world quickly and reliably. 

 

 

The Christmas Countdown Has Begun

We are only a few days away from Christmas, and of course, we have last-minute shopping on our minds. At CTTC, we work with well over a dozen hill country communities and most of the people in our communities depend on small local businesses to provide what is needed for their families, especially when it is a last-minute need. So we wanted to highlight a couple of our favorite small businesses offering great last-minute gift ideas.

 

The Importance of Shopping Local

According to Sustainable Connections, 58% of every $100 spent at a locally owned business recirculates and remains in the local economy. Whereas only 14% of funds spent with national retailers make their way back to the local economy. This is a really important statistic for small towns because even the slightest shift away from local businesses can have a major impact on city economics. Not to mention that when it comes to service, you cannot beat being able to walk in and get expert advice first hand from someone who has been hired to get to know their products and build relationships within the community. Small businesses donate 250% more per employee to local charitable causes than large, national competitors. So now that you know why to shop local, here are a couple of our last-minute picks:

 

Photo: pecans.com

Pecans.com

Pecans.com is located in Goldthwaite, Texas and provides gourmet pecans, pies, honey butter, preservatives, and lots of great gift baskets. Pecans.com does a great deal of business online, thanks to having lightning-fast internet from CTTC, but also has a retail storefront, as well as some products being available at Schwartz Food Store and McMahan Pharmacy in Goldthwaite.

Pecans.com is a CCOF, USDA and Kosher certified organic pecan shelling facility and is one of the few organic pecan shelling facilities in Texas.

Although the Pecans.com namesake itself was unrealized until the 1990s, the history of the company dates back to around 1971. It all began when owner DeWayne McCasland and his father, Homer McCasland, decided to purchase a ranch in Mills County to raise cattle.

“We were cowboys who raised chickens, turkeys, goats, sheep and cattle,” DeWayne recalls.  “We didn’t know anything about growing pecans. We bought this place, and it had lots of trees on it. It looked pretty and we thought we’d take care of it.” The next year they gathered the nuts and realized they were more profitable to sell than cattle.

Here are a few pecan-themed gift suggestions from pecans.com:

So check out the pecans.com website, they ship all over the USA, for last-minute ideas, or if you are in Goldthwaite, visit their retail store for pecans, gift baskets, and much more.

 

Photo: Fiesta Winery

FIESTA VINEYARD AND WINERY

Over the last decade, there has been a boom in the Texas wine industry. While California is still the king of wine consumption in the United States, Texas is now 4th in overall wine consumption. With Texans consuming over 60,000 gallons of wine in 2018 according to statista.com, it is no wonder wineries and vineyards are popping up all over the hill country.

One of our favorites is Fiesta Vineyard and Winery in Bend, Texas. Fiesta Winery has multiple locations, but Bend is the heart of the Fiesta Winery brand; it is the homestead of the Baxter Ranch (which has been in the family for six generations). It is located near the Colorado Bend River and is where all of their great-tasting, award-winning wines are bottled.

The Fiesta Estate Vineyard was planted in 2010, with grapes that were selected for the Texas climate and soils. Over time, the vineyard has produced a wide variety of wines and countless award-winners. Visit any of the locations for a guided wine tasting or attend one of the many events; you quickly will become a Fiesta fan! Fiesta also has a quarterly Wine Club (a great gift idea) with three different tiers that suit all levels of wine drinkers.

Here are a few fun recommendations by Fiesta for the holiday season:

  • Sweet Dreams (Seasonal – This sweet red wine is silky and smooth with a full finish. Full of the aroma of sweet, ripe raspberry.)
  • Christmas Cheer (This rich red wine offers delightful notes of cinnamon, cloves, allspice, and nutmeg.)
  • Heart of Texas Red (Full-bodied blend of Tannat and Primitivo gives this wine an Old World feel with luxurious tannins and soft black raspberry.)

For last-minute gifts, you can shop their online store, or visit any of their locations in Bend, Fredericksburg, or Marble Falls.

Fiber Internet Makes Small Business More Powerful

Pecans.com and Fiesta Vineyard and Winery depend on their CTTC fiber internet connection to reliably support their online businesses. Whether it is the shipping of shelled pecans all over the USA, or online events and wine club sales, our CTTC small business customers have an advantage thanks to our reliable fiber internet connection that is over twice as fast as the competition. It makes online selling easy and helps small businesses compete in the global marketplace and our small businesses help put our small Texas towns on the map!

 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from CTTC!

At CTTC, we are proud to serve local businesses in our community and we hope that you will give them your support for holiday gift-giving. Merry Christmas from all of us at CTTC and have a Happy New Year!