Category: Internet

The Importance of Community Involvement and Giving Back

Engaging with one’s community and actively contributing to its well-being can lead to numerous positive outcomes, both for individuals and the community at large. Here we will discuss the importance of community involvement and giving back – shedding light on the benefits it can bring to ourselves and others!

Fostering a Strong Sense of Belonging

Community involvement creates a sense of belonging and connection. When individuals actively engage in local activities, volunteer work, or collaborative projects, they build bonds with neighbors and other community members. This sense of belonging fosters a supportive environment where people share common goals and values, leading to enhanced social connection and a stronger sense of community. 


Addressing Local Needs and Challenges

No one understands a community’s needs better than its own residents. By getting involved, individuals gain insight into the challenges their community faces, allowing them to identify ways they can make meaningful contributions. Whether it’s participating in food drives for local shelters, mentoring youth, or cleaning up parks, every effort counts toward improving the quality of lives of others in our community. 


Creating a Ripple Effect of Positivity

Acts of service often have a ripple effect – inspiring others to do the same. When one person volunteers or contributes to a cause, they inspire friends, family, and neighbors to join in as well. This creates a positive cycle that can transform an entire community and inspire similar actions in neighboring areas.


Personal Growth and Skill Development

Community involvement offers opportunities for personal growth and skill development. Whether it’s public speaking, leadership, project management, or problem-solving, engaging with a diverse range of activities expands one’s skill set. These experiences not only enrich personal lives but also contribute to building a well-rounded and adaptable community.


Enhancing Social Responsibility

A community that gives back is one that values social responsibility. Individuals who actively participate in community initiatives tend to be more aware of societal issues and are more likely to advocate for positive change on a larger scale. This collective commitment to social responsibility can drive policy changes, influence local government decisions, and create a positive and equitable society.


Diminishing Isolation and Loneliness

Isolation and loneliness are prevalent challenges in modern society. Community involvement provides an antidote by creating opportunities for meaningful social interactions. Engaging with others who share common interests and goals can alleviate feelings of isolation and contribute to improved mental and emotional well-being.


Community involvement and giving back are critical to building resilient, compassionate, and vibrant communities. By actively participating in local initiatives, individuals contribute to their own growth, forge meaningful connections, and help create a positive impact on the lives of others. Ultimately, the importance of community involvement lies in its potential to transform societies, foster unity, and shape a brighter future for everyone!


Getting involved in your local community doesn’t have to be difficult! Conduct a quick online search of opportunities to engage that might be most meaningful for you – youth serving organizations, soup kitchens, clothes closets, and homeless shelters can always use volunteers and would undoubtedly appreciate your interest in serving!

Financial Management: Online Banking and Budgeting

In today’s ever-changing digital world, financial management has become more convenient than ever before. With a few clicks, you can monitor your accounts, pay bills, and create a comprehensive budget to achieve your financial goals using various budgeting and banking tools. Here we will explore the benefits of online banking and dive into how to effectively utilize budgeting tools ro properly manage your finances.

The Advantages of Online Banking

  • Convenience: Online banking eliminates the need to visit a physical bank. You can access your accounts and conduct transactions from the comfort of your home, or while on the go using your computer or smartphone.
  • 24/7 Access: Unlike traditional banking hours, online banking provides round-the-clock access to your accounts. This is particularly useful for checking account balances, transferring funds, and paying bills. 
  • Efficient Account Management: Online banking platforms allow for monitoring multiple accounts in one place. You can easily track your savings, checking, credit card, and investment accounts, giving you a comprehensive overview of your financial situation. 
  • Quick Transactions: Transferring money between accounts, paying bills, and making investments can be done swiftly online. Automated bill payments can help avoid late fees and help establish and maintain a positive credit score.
  • Enhanced Security: Reputable online banking platforms offer advanced security features, including encryption and multi-factor authentication to protect your financial data from unauthorized access.

Budgeting Tools for Financial Success

  • Setting Financial Goals: Start by defining your short-term and long-term financial goals, such as saving for a vacation, buying a house, or building an emergency fund. Having clear objectives will guide your budgeting efforts.
  • Tracking Expenses: Use budgeting apps or spreadsheets to track your monthly expenses. Categorize your spending, including fixed costs (rent/mortgage, utilities) and variable expenses (groceries, entertainment, etc.). This will help you identify areas where you can make appropriate adjustments.
  • Creating a Budget: Based on your income and expenses, create a budget that allocates funds to different categories and ensure that expenses do not exceed income. Prioritize essentials while leaving room for savings and leisure activities.
  • Automating Savings: Many online banking platforms allow you to set up automatic transfers from your checking to your savings account. This approach ensures that you save consistently.
  • Regular Reviews: Make sure to revisit your budget regularly, especially if your financial circumstances change. Adjust your budget as necessary to accommodate unexpected expenses, income changes, or adjustments to your financial goals.
  • Debt Management: If you have loans or credit card debt, make sure to establish a plan to pay them off in a reasonable amount of time. You could also alllocate extra funds to your highest-interest debts while making minimum payments on others.

Online banking and budgeting tools have completely changed the way we manage our finances. These tools offer convenience as well as increased accessibility and control over our money. By utilizing these tools,  we increase our understanding of our financial situation, set achievable goals, and work towards a stable financial future. It is important to remember that successful financial management requires discipline, regular monitoring, and necessary adjustment as our circumstances change. By taking proper control of our finances today, we can pave the way for a more secure tomorrow.

Creating a Safe Online Environment for Kids: A Guide to Setting Up Parental Controls

In today’s digital age, children are now growing up surrounded by technology. While the internet offers a world of knowledge and opportunities, it also presents potential risks. As responsible parents, it’s critical to create a safe online environment for kids. One way to do this is by establishing effective parental controls. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the process of creating and implementing these controls to ensure your children can explore the online world safely and securely.

Understanding the Need for Parental Controls:

Parental controls are tools that help you manage and monitor your child’s online activities. They allow you to establish boundaries, filter content, and monitor your child’s online interactions. These tools help ensure your child has a healthy, safe, and secure experience navigating the internet. 

Step 1: Communication is Key

Before you start implementing parental controls, it’s important to have an open and honest conversation with your child about the importance of internet safety. You should discuss the potential dangers of being online –  such as cyberbullying, inappropriate content, and interactions with strangers. Ensure your child understands the rules and reasons behind using parental controls.

Step 2: Select the Appropriate Devices and Platforms

Parental controls can be applied to a wide range of devices –  from smartphones and tablets to computers and gaming consoles. Identify the devices your child uses most frequently and research the parental control options available for each platform. Operating systems such as iOS, Android, Windows, and gaming platforms often offer built-in parental control features.

Step 3: Utilize Built-in Parental Controls

Most devices and platforms come equipped with parental control settings. These settings typically allow you to restrict access to specific apps, websites, and content, as well as set time limits for usage. Familiarize yourself with the options available on each device and adjust them to your child’s age and your comfort level.

Step 4: Explore Third-Party Parental Control Software

In addition to built-in controls, third-party parental control software is available and helps to provide more advanced features and comprehensive monitoring. These software options often include content filtering, social media tracking, location monitoring, and detailed usage reports. Some well-known parental control software includes Qustodio, Net Nanny, and Norton Family.

Step 5: Establish Clear Guidelines

Set clear rules and guidelines for device usage and online activities with your child. Communicate appropriate screen time limits, establish designated online spaces (such as common areas in the house), and explain potential consequences for violating the rules. Parents should regularly review and adjust these guidelines as your child grows and their online needs and activities change. 

Step 6: Monitor Actively and Respect Privacy

While it’s critical to monitor your child’s online activities, it is also important to respect their privacy. Ensure an open line of communication and let your child know that your monitoring is meant to ensure their safety and not invade their privacy. Encourage your child to be open with you about anything that makes them uncomfortable online and assure them that you will be there to help them navigate any alarming or negative experiences. 

Step 7: Stay Educated and Actively Engaged

The digital landscape is constantly evolving with new apps, websites, and trends emerging regularly. Stay informed about the latest online platforms and any potential challenges facing children. Regularly engage your child in conversations around their online experiences, friends, and interests.

Setting up parental controls is a proactive step toward creating a safe online environment for your kids. By combining effective communication, appropriate and respectful monitoring, and your own continued education of the digital world, you can strike a balance between allowing your child to explore the digital world while keeping them protected from potential risks. It is critical to remember that technology is a tool, and with proper guidance and support, your child can navigate the internet safely.\

For Alyrica customers, we are able to provide world-class online security features from eero Secure.  Our customers get access to value-added services like parental controls, content filtering, threat protection, and ad blocking.  Learn more about Alyrica Wi-Fi.

Back to School: A Humorous Guide for Kids Who’d Rather Be Anywhere Else

Hey, kids! So, you’re back to school, huh? I can practically feel your enthusiasm radiating through the screen. Nothing says “good times” like trading in your beach towel for a backpack, am I right? But fear not, because Alyrica is here to sprinkle a little pixie dust on your academic adventures. Here are some tried-and-true, scientifically untested tips to help you navigate the treacherous waters of another school year.

1. Deep Sighs: The New Communication Norm

Ah, the sigh – humanity’s most versatile tool since the invention of the spork. When your teacher assigns yet another riveting essay, unleash a sigh so dramatic it makes Shakespeare roll over in his grave, and he’s been dead a really long time. Toss in an eye roll that could power a small wind turbine and voilà, instant sympathy points.

2. Desk: The Ultimate Storage Unit of Dreams

Sure, a desk is technically meant for studying, but let’s be real, it’s the perfect nook for your snacks, secret doodles, and the remains of a cafeteria pizza from last year. Remember, the true artistry lies in camouflaging your workspace under a colorful tapestry of Post-it notes.

3. Navigating Hallways: A Contact Sport

Walking down the hallway is like participating in the Olympics of dodging. Locker doors slamming open, chatty cliques forming human barricades, and those folks who decide to re-tie their shoelaces mid-stride – these are the obstacles that build character and calf muscles.

4. Lost-and-Found: Your Boutique of Surprise Fashion

Why waste your parents’ hard-earned money on trendy clothes when the lost-and-found section is a treasure trove of sartorial wonders? Rock that unmatched sock and oversized jacket like it’s the latest Paris Fashion Week trend. The name’s Steve now, by the way.

5. Pen: Your New Social Currency

Pens are like that one elusive sock in the laundry – you start with plenty, but by some mystical force, they vanish into thin air. Elevate your status by being the pen provider, the Shakespeare of sharing stationery. Make friends faster than a dog chasing its own tail.

6. The Epic Summer: A Work of Fiction

“Oh, what did you do over the summer?” they ask innocently. Little do they know you’ve spun a yarn so elaborate it rivals the Iliad. Tales of squirrel whispering and deep-sea basket weaving should suffice, sprinkled with a touch of Homeworkisland mythology.

7. The Art of Stealth Napping

Sure, school’s all about learning, but sometimes your eyelids are in on a secret mission: Operation Shut-Down. Master the skill of catching a nap during class without getting caught – it’s like covert ops for the sleepy-eyed.

8. The Library: Hogwarts for Muggles

Tired of the mundane? Escape to the library – a sanctuary of silence and adventure, complete with a smell that’s 50% ancient wisdom and 50% musty paper. Your escape pod for that classic “get lost in a book” scenario.

9. Bathroom Stall Wisdom: Life’s Unexpected Counselor

When life leaves you perplexed, find solace in bathroom stall philosophy. Inspirational quotes, doodles of unidentifiable creatures, and profound life advice – all written by someone whose penmanship is as enigmatic as the mysteries of the universe.

10. Laughing Through the Homework Trenches

Between assignments and pop quizzes, remember that laughter is your secret weapon. A goofy meme shared with pals or turning algebra into a stand-up gig (watch your audience) can turn the drudgery into a giggle-worthy spectacle.

So, my young compatriots in academia, armed with these nuggets of wisdom, you’re set to tackle the year like a seasoned pro (or at least a slightly jaded amateur). Brace yourself for a journey filled with chuckles, challenges, and a heap of perfectly executed sighs.

Internet Safety – It takes all of us!

Here at Alyrica Networks, we’re always thinking about how we can continue to support our local communities in meaningful ways – because we live here too! Internet safety is important to us.  As a local internet service provider, we believe that we are in a unique position to not only help folks be able to access quality, high-speed internet but also understand how to navigate the internet safely.  

A recent research study conducted by Common Sense Media discovered that out of 1,300 youth between the ages of 11 to 15, nearly 60% had been made to feel uncomfortable through unwanted contact by strangers through social media applications. Read more about the study HERE  

What are we going to do about it? Alyrica is partnering with ABC House, the Children’s Advocacy Center for Linn and Benton Counties, to deliver SafetyNet: Smart Cyber Choices – a FREE Digital Safety Training. This training is 1.5 – 2 hours in length and covers everything you need to know on how to keep your loved ones safe online. Topic covered include:  

  • Cyberbullying 
  • Privacy 
  • Predators 
  • Sexting 
  • Plagiarism 
  • Computer security 
  • Identity theft 
  • Gaming 
  • Social networking 
  • Sex trafficking

You can attend this FREE training live and in-person at Alyrica Networks located at 526 N 19th St, Philomath OR on Thursday, September 14th at 6:00 pm. Please register online by clicking HERE

Fiber Optic Internet to Increase Your Home Value

Fiber Optic Internet to Increase Your Home Value

Do you own your home? How much value do you have? There are endless improvements that could help to add value, but what about your internet connection? Studies have shown that a fiber optic internet connection can help to increase the value of your home. Whether you have renters or are the ones residing in your home access to a fiber optic internet connection can help to increase your homes overall value.

So, What is Fiber Optic Internet?

Fiber optics is the technology that is used to transmit information as pulses of light through strands of fiber made of glass or plastic over long distances. Each optical fiber size is the diameter of a strand of human hair and when bundled all together they create a fiber-optic cable that is capable of transmitting more data over longer distances and faster than other mediums.

So, What is Fiber Optic Internet?

In 2015, a Study conducted by the Fiber to the Home Council Americas (FTTH), an advocacy group made up of fiber equipment vendors and broadband providers, show that fiber may increase a home’s value by up to 3.1 percent.

Fiber to the Home Council Americas (FTTH) Study

Other Added Benefits to a Home Fiber Connection

Speed, Speed, Speed! There is nothing more annoying than having to wait for a website to load or a show on Netflix. With fiber optics you can get a better connection that improves efficiency and provides faster upload/download speeds.

In addition to higher speeds, fiber optics provides resistance to electromagnetic Interference. Electromagnetic interference can occur when there is any device that emits a signal. In many typical households this could include microwaves, radios, wireless telephones, Bluetooth speakers, etc. While repositioning your route can help to fix these interferences, a fiber connection would mean you do not have to go through that hassle; Because fiber optics are made from glass or plastic, those materials are not affected by electromagnetics. Also, since fiber optic cables do not contain metals, they are often non-conductive in nature and this helps to eliminate any potential spark hazards.

Furthermore, fiber optic connects can help to lower your security risk online. This benefit is due to the way communication/data is transmitted. As the speeds for fiber approach the speed of light, it makes data signals much harder for hackers or malicious individuals to intercept the information being transmitted.

Adapt: From the Old Routine to the New Frontier

Adapt: From the Old Routine to the New Frontier

I heard someone say recently that Humpty Dumpty isn’t going to go back together the same way. COVID continues to change the field of play. We can’t live on autopilot like we used to.

I had my routines for Monday going to the coffee shop to work on marketing; the Tuesday meetings, going in and seeing how the team was doing, having quick conversations with people, etc.

I prefer to be proactive rather than reactive; but the rules of the game all changed and we all are continually having to react to the situation as it unfolds. First we react to the uncertainty, then react to the shutdown, then react to the new norms, then react to a re-opening for phase 1, then we will react to phase 2, 3, etc.

This is a big part of why we wanted to do this webinar series; to help people however we can as we move forward together.

Adapting is a mindset, then a skill set

Creating the Personal Growth Plan

I was first introduced to the idea of a personal growth plan several years ago; and it made complete sense to me. If you want to get better, you have to be intentional and the best way to be intentional is to have a plan!

When this idea was really first introduced to me several years ago, one of the areas I wanted to work on is not being so shy and introverted. I was the guy who would keep his headphones in, go to the counter at the coffee shop, try not to make eye contact and get the coffee and sit down. Human interaction was an unfortunate necessity → I wish Starbucks had online ordering back then!

I was challenged to go and make 1 new friend a day, regardless of who they were. The goal was to introduce myself and get to know their name (even if it was a name tag they were wearing). I can’t tell you how many times I would shake. I was so nervous going and saying “hi to someone… And for those that don’t believe all of this, you can ask my wife sometime!

Adapting is a mindset, then a skill set → let’s start there!

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.

There is a book called ‘Mindset’ by Dr Carol Dweck. The thesis of the book is about having a growth vs a fixed mindset. A fixed mindset says nothing changes (IQ test says how smart you are and it doesn’t change). A growth mindset says that we can all learn and grow and change… yes, you can teach old dogs new tricks!

I think the growth mindset is essential; we are able to get better and better. Knowledge about a growth mindset is different from a focus on it. Just because I know ‘about’ dolphins doesn’t mean I know dolphins… I’m not focused on it!

I would encourage us to have a growth focus over a goal focus. I’ll explain. Yes, we need to have goals, I think they are very important! I like setting goals and being strategic about it → I’m kind of a nerd that way. BUT I think that if we are growth focused over goal focused, the goal is going to happen. If we are goal focused over growth focused, we may hit the goal, but we probably didn’t get better in the process!

You have to know yourself to grow yourself


  • What are your growth goals?
  • What training would you like to attend (virtually, in person)?
  • What training could you teach to others?
  • What new skill(s) would you like to acquire?

Resource: 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth – John C Maxwell

Creating the Inner Circle

Probably the most profound idea that I have now heard repeated in many different ways and from different people is this: The person we will be 5 years from now will largely be due to the books we read and the people we listen to.

This is why I believe creating an Inner Circle is so important.

Mentors have gone before you in some capacity

Coaches are pushing you in a specific area of life

Teammates are on the journey with you

Cheerleaders love and care about you

How then do we select people for our inner circle?

I would start with making a list of people that you admire. Who you would like to emulate in one area of life or another? Put them on a list of potential mentors or coaches. The next list would be of people that you are on your team or you want them to be on your team who will help encourage and/or go on a growth journey with you.

My friend Anthony a few weeks ago was one of those friends for me. We were talking about life, goals, etc and he was the catalyst for making this webinar happen today. By pushing me like a coach, mentoring me in some areas he has expertise and cheering me on to make it happen; I’m glad he is in my corner!

Find people who GET IT

  • Growing – Are they getting better?
  • Encouraging – Are they helpful and want to see you win?
  • Truthful – Are they honest with me about areas I need to work on?
  • Intentional – Do they lead their life or just accept their life?
  • Teachable – Do they have humility and are able to learn from others?


  • Who am I learning from?
  • Who am I coaching/mentoring?
  • What friends do I have that GET IT?

Resource: The Mentor Leader – Tony Dungy

Setting yourself apart from the crowd

First; I think that the fact that you are reading this shows that you want to grow and change and adapt.

Adapting is a mindset, then a skill set.

I read in a book several years ago a profound statement/idea: ‘It’s not about me.’

Set yourself apart by being FAST:

  • Flexible – Be willing to do things that are uncomfortable or scary
  • Attitude – Have a great attitude; a positive life stance
  • Serving – People don’t care how much you know ’til they know how much you care
  • Teachable – Learning from everyone; even if it is a 7 year old

The only job security we have is our individual commitment to personal development.


  • Where can I serve that I won’t get anything back in return?

Resource: The Slight Edge – Jeff Olson

Change the method, not the message

First we probably need to define the message! This could be a personal mission statement, or working at a company it can be that mission statement.

Provide the best customer experience in telecommunications.

If that’s the message, it is constant. HOW we go about doing that can change.

I love music, I grew up in a very musical family. The way that people have changed HOW they listen to music has changed over the years.

Phonograph, Vinyl Record, 8 Track Tape, Cassette Tape, CD, MiniDisk, MP3, Streaming service.

And there are communication mediums:

Morse Code, Telephone, Radio, Television, Internet, WiFi

The way the message gets relayed changes, but ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb’ is going to be around for a long time to come!

Experimentation is our friend right now more than ever. People are stepping out and trying new things, companies are changing how they do business and life has kind of been standing on its head the last couple months.

Experiment, fail, reflect, learn, change, repeat.

Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.

A lot of what we have talked about today has been person-centric, but it can also be company-centric as well. Setting yourself apart is as important for a company as it is for an individual.


  • What is my/our core message?

Resource: Start with Why – Simon Sinek

Location, Location, Location: From Main Street to Main Stream

New week’s webinar topics we will be covering:

  • Location: Online presence
  • Location: Product/Service easily delivered to the customer’s home (digitally or physically)
  • Location: Could you physically move your operation in the future?

May 21 @ 1PM PST.
Feel free to reach out to me via email:

How to prepare your home for an easy Alyrica install during COVID-19

How to prepare your home for an easy Alyrica install during COVID-19

We wanted to give some practical notes for those that are wanting service at their home or business on what they can expect from us while on site for their Alyrica install.

Who are the people Alyrica serves best?

Being that Alyrica is a Wireless Internet Service Provider (WISP), many people think that we serve rural areas, or those that are not served by cable, fiber optic or modern DSL exclusively.

We absolutely can deliver a better internet experience to rural customers than many are experiencing. We also have found that many of our customers live in areas that have several good internet options. The reason that customers come to us in these areas is simply because we strive to offer the best customer service experience in telecommunications.

Great Internet Service + Great Customer Service = Alyrica

There are several things that we do and don’t do that customers appreciate as well.

  • We DON’T have introductory pricing – introductory prices are there to hook you and then a few months down the road the price will go up 100% or more.
  • We DON’T have taxes and fees – They are factored into the price of the service.
  • We DON’T sell you on things you DON’T need – bandwidth, services, etc. We like being straightforward.
  • We DO have a great phone service – residential and business phone systems. We can save businesses hundreds of dollars a month in some cases.
  • We DO provide public static IP addresses – not everyone needs one, but it is complimentary for our business accounts and Gamer and above accounts.

What is involved in the Alyrica install process? What happens inside the home? How long will they be on site?

I completely understand people’s concerns with the COVID-19 situation, especially with people coming to your home, let alone inside your home! We have talked about in length about how we are ensuring everyone’s safety during this time in another post.

We have our 5 Step Process which outlines the customer’s relationship to Alyrica from start to finish, but we want to explain what the process looks like once they arrive. An average Alyrica install takes 2-3 hours.

The entire install process is written in an internal wiki page and isn’t as pretty, so here are some of the highlights:

Pre-Install Work

Outside the Home

  • Installer arrives on site and checks in with the customer, letting them know they are at the house and will perform the signal check
  • Installer checks for signal to our towers and locates the best possible installation location on the outside of the house
    • Radio mounting location
    • Cable path from outside to inside the house

Inside the Home

  • Fill out paperwork for the installer to start his work
    • Discuss best location for the router inside the house
    • Paperwork completed

Actual Install Work

Outside the Home

  • Install the radio mount and radio

Inside the Home

  • Install the router, power injector
  • Run the cable from router location to outside the house and up to the radio
    • Crawl Space
    • Attic
    • Direct Entry (through the side of the house)
  • Configure the connection to Alyrica’s network
  • Test the connection and verify with the customer

What a customer can do to assist in the process to make the install as clean and quick as possible

As I am not a medical professional, these are just some good ideas that can help.

  • Determine where you want the router to go inside your house and clean everything out of the way of where that will go so that the installer can work efficiently.
    • Good Placement: Where most of your computing or entertainment use of the internet will be; i.e. an office, family room by the TV, etc.
    • Bad Placement: In a closet in the basement on the far side of the house where no one goes. WiFi works best at closer range with as few walls to go through as possible.
  • Turn off HVAC during the install and for 30 minutes after the installer performs his work inside. Since COVID-19 is considered ‘airborne’ (which is why the 6′ distancing rule) you want to make sure that anything in the air is not circulated throughout the house.
  • After the install is completed, feel free to disinfect every new piece of equipment inside your house (a little isopropyl alcohol doesn’t hurt anything except viruses!)
  • The installers all wear mask and gloves while they are in the house to make help ensure their safety and your safety.

We want to make sure that people can get connected and will stay connected throughout this ordeal and we are glad to help!

If you haven’t checked your location to see if you can get service, check out our Coverage Area or give us a call today: 541-929-3330!

Solution oriented, friendly customer service; that’s Alyrica!

COVID-19 Internet Access for Students. An overview to help prepare for Distance Learning

COVID-19 Internet Access for Students. An overview to help prepare for Distance Learning

Understandably, I’ve received calls and email from colleges, schools and school districts in our coverage area asking about internet access for students as everyone is preparing to shift to an online model throughout the State of Oregon. Schools are closed throughout the state until at least April 28.

The way we work and learn has changed

I know people jokingly say something like ‘You can learn anything on YouTube!’ I have learned more from YouTube than I care to admit.

This isn’t an attempt to talk about HOW to do distance learning; that is up to the school districts and teachers. But I’d like to give some examples in my own life of what distance learning looked or looks like.

I did the bulk of my college courses via distance learning. What that looked like not too many years ago was that the college would send me the DVD or VHS of the lectures I needed to watch along with all the course work and the due dates for assignments. People thought it was crazy at the time, but I actually enjoyed it!

Completely online universities are common now and make a lot of sense for many people.

Current K-12 online school in Oregon

My kiddo who is in first grade attends a charter school through the State of Oregon which is done completely online. They use video conferencing for the teacher and students to connect in class everyday. His classmates live all over the state. Assignments and tools are all available online. He has discussions and submits assignments online. Needless to say, when all the schools were shut down, his school was not since they already are completely online (and he was a little disappointed…)

These types of online schools weren’t an option when I was a kid. I think it’s so cool that my son uses is the same technology I use every day (and he teaches me some tricks too!)

The COVID-19 ordeal has highlighted some weakness in internet connectivity for everyone; some due to financial reasons, others due to physical limitations based on where they live. Not everyone can participate in online learning, that’s a fact.

The ‘Digital Divide’ for people/students in rural areas is a real concern that is highlighted now more than ever

Internet Access to rural areas is essential to put students on a level playing field. There is a concept in the industry of an area being ‘over built.’ This means there are usually more than 2 good options for high speed internet. This would be places like downtown Corvallis, Albany or Lebanon where there are generally several options for Internet Access.

While we do compete directly in these areas due to how our network is built, we have the ability to serve people who do not have high speed internet options to help get them over the ‘Digital Divide.’

What Alyrica has been doing to bridge the ‘Digital Divide.’

Alyrica is the best option in the Mid-Willamette Valley for rural internet access. Yes, I am biased, but based on the service we deliver at the price we deliver it for, with the customer ratings that we have, we are the best value proposition out there!

Outside of providing service, we have been working closely with local city and county leaders as well federal leadership to address this issue in a much broader sense.

Being an Internet Service Provider ourselves, we are in a good position to speak to leaders about what hurdles there are and how working together we can help bridge this gap.

While the current COVID-19 pandemic has brought this issue to the front of people’s minds, it has been part of Alyrica’s core business for years!

What is the world going to look like after everyone goes back to ‘life as usual?’

No one can really answer that question, but I’ll give some thoughts on what the world of the internet and distance learning will look like.

With the current situation around the world; we are currently more digitally connected than physically connected. I personally think there is no substitute to sitting across the table from someone physically, but I am super grateful for where technology has come so far!

Jason’s Predictions

I think the world is being forced to adapt to the digital age in a faster pace than would have happened organically. We could be ‘fast-forwarding’ 10 or 20 years due to the necessity of moving learning and business online. Even though most people don’t like to change; it is amazing how we are able to adapt to what life throws at us!

I know there are many people that are struggling with this change. This is not just about connectivity. We all have to change routines, adapt to new technology, adjust our schedules. This is a HUGE transition to ‘business as usual,’ regardless of what ‘business’ it is!

Here are a few areas that have/are changing due to this ordeal that I think will continue to expand:

Online School
Not everyone will move to online only school; but I think there will start to be more hybrid learning opportunities, such as students being able to take classes or electives all online; even grade school kids being able to do class from home one day a week.

The VA hospital system already has a great program for Tele-Medicine and with more platforms being used to connect with doctors that were not allowed to be used in the past (such as FaceTime, Skype, etc.) there will be more demand for Tele-Medicine.

Remote Work / Remote Office Time
This is already a growing trend, but I see more companies that were nervous about ‘taking the plunge’ to remote work being forced to. Many are realizing that it isn’t as bad as they originally thought. For many Millennials and Gen Zs, this move is what they have been craving for a long time and I expect this to continue to grow.

Final Thoughts
I do think that things are going to calm down after this virus is brought into check; but I don’t think that everything is going to go back to ‘normal’ in terms of connectivity and the real need.

I believe that this ‘forcing’ into the digital age highlighted, enlarged, confirmed, (add your own adjective here…) that the ‘Digital Divide’ is real and that we need to do everything we can to connect everyone we can. Even after schools are reopened, the need for rural broadband is still going to be there for students to be able to do homework, connect with family and friends, work remotely, connect to a doctor, etc.

Alyrica may be able to close the ‘Digital Divide’ for YOU

Shameless plug for Alyrica here. The best way I know to help people cross the ‘Digital Divide’ is to see if there are options at your location! We are happy to get people online, especially those who do not have good options.

If that means Alyrica, of course we are excited to have you as a customer, but sometimes that means referring you to one of the ISPs we know that are outside of our coverage area but could cover their location. It never hurts to check!

Solution oriented, friendly customer service; that’s Alyrica!

Is Internet access an Essential Service during a time of disaster?

Is Internet access an Essential Service during a time of disaster?

Monday this last week I was on a phone call with several other Internet Service Providers (ISP) and leaders in the telecommunications sector. The discussion was around where ISPs stand in the big picture, and if we are an essential service.

Last week, the State of Pennsylvania was the first to announce businesses that are not considered ‘life-sustaining’ are ordered to close.

California, New York State, along with many others followed suite with an order to keep all workers home for nonessential businesses.

Oregon also created the ‘Stay Home, Save Lives’ order which has closed all non-essential businesses effective 3/25.

In all the uncertainty around us right now, we all need communication with one another to ensure that we are getting the information we need, the work done we need to, or just to have a distraction from the cabin fever we may be experiencing!

Alyrica is considered an essential service by the Department of Homeland Security, the World Health Organization and others

That conference call on Monday was an eye opener for me. I knew that the work we do everyday matters and we provide a great service to our community. I realized that what we are doing now, more than ever, is crucial for our customers and our community.

Many people can’t work from home due to the nature of their work and I understand that. With schools all moving online for the foreseeable future, it brought an even greater need than thought originally.

Here is a great explanation on “What are Essential Services?” as well as an outline of the Department of Homeland Security’s Critical Infrastructure Sectors.

For our customers and our businesses; Alyrica is here for you through this ordeal.

I have heard in other parts of the world that the Internet is getting saturated; what is Alyrica doing to mitigate that?

Every part of the world is seeing an increase in internet traffic. Some are even wondering if the internet as a whole can handle such an increase in demand. To calm those fears; the internet is not going to implode on itself.

Alyrica builds and maintains its own network. This means that we do not go over third-party ‘subscriber lines’ to people’s houses like other providers might do. What that means for our customers is that we have control over the end user experience.

Since we are continually upgrading and making our network more robust with more headroom and multiple paths to ‘the internet’ we are in the best possible position as traffic increases.

We certainly have seen an increase in traffic over the last couple weeks, but we are in a great position in terms of overall bandwidth. We are sure to see even more drastic increases on our network and we have the capacity to handle it.

As demand continues to increase, what are the bottlenecks and what can people expect in the months and years to come?

The bottleneck for most internet users is in the ‘last-mile’ which I talk about at length here: Internet Delivery Methods.

The last mile to each individual customer is where the pain point is for people. For example if Alyrica has 4 upstream or ‘middle-mile’ 10 Gbps fiber optic paths to ‘The Internet’ that is not the bottleneck since total traffic demand during peak hours is less than 20% of those upstream paths. This is true for most networks, hence, the issue being the ‘last-mile.’

Alyrica’s last mile is either fiber-optic or fixed wireless. For our fiber optic customers they will not have any issues at all in term of capacity or transport to their residence or business and the most common issue they will experience is the WiFi inside.

Our fixed wireless towers have the limitation of frequency allocation and access point (AP) capacity. We continually monitor each AP’s capacity to ensure that our customers do not see their connection slow down. We are not perfect by any means, but we are committed to staying ahead of this curve.

What do I need to do if I am on a limited connection or I am not getting the speed I need to work or do school?

First off, I encourage our customers to give us a call! There are many times we hear from customers that have been suffering with slow speeds for weeks before they give us a call. We do our best to monitor the health of the network, but for the individual user, we don’t monitor individual connections and don’t know if people are having a hard time until they call us!

Common issues break down into a few buckets:

  • WiFi Issues: This is the most common support call we receive; one device is not working like it should. We can help troubleshoot to find the device and see if the WiFi is strong enough throughout the house. We have a service called Whole Home WiFi that can help here.
  • Maxing out the plan: We see this fairly frequently as well. Right now we are seeing this frequently as families are all working/doing school from home simultaneously. These multiple streams (if they are video conferencing) will use more bandwidth. We don’t sell people more than they need, but in some cases it is the right call to upgrade the plan to the next tier. Check out How Much Speed Do I Need?
  • The AP a customer is on is reaching capacity: We do monitor for this and know about these issues before customers do, and have plans for upgrading. Sometimes customers do notice this, but we already have a plan in place that we may not have completed yet. In these situations we help people understand peak hours, optimizing the connection, etc. These are usually temporary until we complete the upgrade to their area.

Bottom line, CALL US! We are here to help and have the best people to answer questions, fix issues, etc.

Solution oriented, friendly customer service; that’s Alyrica!