Happy New Year!
The year 2011 starts with great anticipation for PEAK Internet. We had a positive 2010, made brighter by the goals we reached and by our ongoing involvement in the community. This year we look forward to even greater success, overcoming new obstacles and providing increasingly better service to customers. Like many other small businesses we have noticed the continuing effect of the current economic downturn, which makes it more important than ever to focus on the quality services that retain and expand our local customer base. In order to continue our success in this area, we will continue to invest in local infrastructure and add workforce to deliver the service our customers want.
Your feedback counts, take the 2011 Satisfaction Survey
Feedback is a crucial component in this effort to continually improve service. At PEAK, we actively solicit constructive comments from customers and apply changes when presented. We stand by this notion of openness and I include my email address on each of the newsletters as proof. Our largest formal effort to gather this input starts this month with the Annual Customer Satisfaction Survey. You can find the survey located at http://peakinternet.com/2011survey, if you get a chance, please fill it out.
This is your chance to sound off and tell us where we can focus our attention to provide the best service available. The internet industry is constantly evolving and information from the annual satisfaction survey is a basis for consideration as we make decisions about the direction of PEAK’s various service offerings. The insights derived from this survey will be particularly helpful, as 2011 marks the continuation of important broadband trends, a fundamental shift in internet regulation and the introduction of new technologies.
Internet and telecommunications trends in 2011
The trend of broadband consumption continues to grow into 2011 and keeping up with this demand requires investment in equipment and personnel. Like 2010 we plan extensive investments in PEAK’s network with the addition of bandwidth capacity and increased redundancy through multiple upstream providers. In the data center, new servers will augment PEAK back-up services and also improve the availability of hosted applications. As a result of these upgrades, PEAK’s internet traffic will flow with greater reliability and capacity for growth.
On the regulatory front, 2011 will be a significant year for Net Neutrality governance as announced by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). As a service provider, PEAK supports an open Internet free of prioritization and regulation. With that stance in mind, we also require the right to maintain the health of our network, protecting against abusive users and applications. This is a topic to watch and it will continue to develop throughout the year, shaping the broadband industry.
In the technology realm, the next version of the Internet’s addressing and routing protocol (IPv6) is set to be introduced worldwide in 2011. This is a major transition in the world of networking, though many typical end-users may not notice much of a change. We’ll have more detailed information regarding this transition in the blog, but it is important to know that the Internet industry has been anticipating this for several years and PEAK joins this group in preparedness.
Over the past year, streaming video content through internet service has become increasingly popular. Services like Netflix, iTunes and Amazon provide an excellent compliment, or competent replacement for your TV service. We encourage you to use these services, but please exercise caution in your choice of provider. Beware of scams and illegitimate companies that allow you to view content illegally. Downloading content from illegal sources exposes you to legal liability. We’re here to help, if you ever have questions or concerns please don’t hesitate to let us know.
As we kick-off a new year, I would like to take the opportunity to say thank you to all of our customers for choosing PEAK as your internet provider. We appreciate your subscription to PEAK’s services and your dedication to living and buying locally. It is truly a compliment to know that we have so many customers who stay with PEAK and who share our passion for quality.
Public Electronic Access to Knowledge (PEAK)
Innovation and entrepreneurship have been crucial to PEAK’s success since being founded. Examples of this date back to PEAK’s founding, where the partnership between Pioneer Telephone Cooperative and Consumers Power combined with the collaboration of the Oregon State University start-up company, “PEAK” (Public Electronic Access to Knowledge) created a framework for a leading Internet Service Provider. From that beginning, it has been a key focus for PEAK to remain innovative within the community and foster an ecosystem where this type of activity can occur.
I bring this up because at PEAK we continue to be both innovative and entrepreneurial, now with the aim of building in the community. In November, our attention is focused on the Willamette Innovators Network (http://willametteinnovators.com) and its annual business event the Willamette Innovators Night on November 11th. This event brings together researchers, businesses people, collaborators, academics, and investors in one evening of networking and creativity. PEAK is a Grand Sponsor of this year’s event and was a key contributor early on, since the group’s inception. If this event sounds interesting, bring your ideas and show up! The goal is to get many of the most creative minds in one room for an evening, to spur connections for further development. It’s a free event; log on to the site and join the network for more information.
In the spirit of this activity, I always like to mention PEAK’s start-up friendly demeanor towards small business. Over the past several years, PEAK has played host to numerous technology start-up companies, offering deferred payments or discounts until the company gets going. With PEAK’s help, many of these businesses succeed and sustain an ongoing business. Through this activity we honor the effort of entrepreneurs and look forward to helping grow the business ecosystem in the mid-Willamette Valley. If you are part of a sincere business start-up with a boot-strapped budged, a business plan, and need some web hosting or IT consulting, maybe we can help.
Major projects and upgrades completed
October proved to be big month for PEAK. We reached some major milestones and had several big projects completed. Most of you may have noticed the email interface upgrade and I hope you are enjoying the features of Zimbra. In perhaps the largest project of the year, we were able to upgrade our data center UPS battery back-up. Some of you likely noticed the unintentional downtime that upgrade caused. We sincerely apologize for this occurrence, however we are glad to have the project complete. This upgrade not only improves the fault tolerance of our data center, but provides us with a more efficient unit that requires less energy to maintain. You can read a post-mortem account of this effort in the blog, as PEAK Chief Technology Officer, David Placko recounts the upgrade in his message: http://blog.peakinternet.com/technical-support/data-center-ups-upgrade/.
Ingredients for success: great employees
Employee culture has always been a core component of PEAK’s overall business. From setting quality standards to reinforcing work ethic and fostering innovation, company culture is indeed a key ingredient in PEAK’s recipe for superior internet service and support. We realized this several years ago and made it a priority to develop concepts for how we wanted PEAK to operate. Today we have defined principles and guidelines for our staff, but this process is largely driven by the pride and ownership PEAK’s employees take in their roles.
This is timely to mention because last month a few PEAK employees had the opportunity to participate in the Disney Institute hosted by Linn Benton Community College (and sponsored by PEAK). This is a one-day intensive class that teaches different principles by which Disney operates to make fantasy become reality at their various parks and events. This is a renowned seminar series and there is no doubt that Disney’s culture is crucial to their success.
After debriefing and understanding the class, I noticed many parallels between what Disney has achieved and what PEAK is working to build with its culture. The most notable attributes would be the emphasis on employee empowerment, quality service, and building from creativity. At PEAK, we believe reinforcing these attributes will keep our culture strong and yield better service to customers. So we continue to work towards this goal, knowing that at the core, improving PEAK’s company culture will be fundamental to improving our service.
PEAK Tech Tip video tutorial series is back
October marks the return of the PEAK Tech Tip video tutorial series. Each week PEAK’s staff will produce a quick video that answers your technology questions, ranging from gadget evaluations to software recommendations and technical support for your home PC. We will debut this series from the PEAK Internet Youtube Channel and post from the PEAK Blog and Facebook page. Be sure to follow PEAK on these sites to get the latest Tech Tip and other updates.
We are re-launching this video series to engage users with social and multimedia channels, but we need your input to keep the show going. What tips and tutorials do you need with technology and how can we help? Send a note to the marketing team at firstname.lastname@example.org with your question. In the spirit of PEAK’s new email system being released this month, the first topic will be covering the interface of the Zimbra email application.
Try it before you buy it!
Also a reminder, PEAK and Pioneer Telephone are teaming up to offer the Try Before you Buy and One Price Fits All promotions again this Fall. For a limited time, upgrade your broadband service to any package for no additional charge or upgrade from dial-up to any broadband service for one low entry price. These are great ways to experience all the great advantages of faster broadband. Call PEAK for more details.
Thanks! It is a pleasure to serve you.
New Connectivity Benefits Lebanon Schools
The scenic and serene landscape of the mid-Willamette Valley comes sometimes with the compromise of certain institutional services. In the case of the Lebanon School District’s two most rural schools, that service is high-capacity bandwidth and access to information services. However, through an intergovernmental agreement and partnership with the city of Lebanon, PEAK Internet is reaching out to provide a connectivity upgrade to these schools and its eager pupils.
This partnership will serve the remote Berlin and Lacomb schools that currently lack high-speed interconnectivity with the rest of the district and thus some essential services. By allowing PEAK to deploy licensed spectrum, wireless connectivity, the project will provide this connectivity at a fraction of the cost other alternatives could provide. It will also PEAK with an important connection to provide broadband connectivity other underserved residents within the area.
The locations will be connected via the Petersen’s Butte tower site and be interconnected to the district office and the high school. PEAK maintains the Petersen’s Butte tower site as a primary wireless transmission site to provide hundreds of rural residents with high-speed internet service throughout the Willamette Vallley.
For more coverage of this partnership, you can view the Lebanon Express story at: http://www.lebanon-express.com/news/local/article_f79e4da2-afc5-11df-af94-001cc4c002e0.html
Great turnout for PEAK Barbecue
August marked yet another successful customer barbecue for PEAK. We had several hundred people in attendance and numerous meaningful interactions in an afternoon dedicated to customers. All this dialogue is very valuable and I want to thank everyone that turned out to share the time. I personally received great feedback from the folks I was able to engage and I’m looking forward to sharing some insights with our staff to further improve PEAK’s offering of services. As always, I believe this event embodies the essence of our mission — to provide quality, locally-grown, personable service. It’s also an example of the commitment, energy, and innovative spirit that is synonymous with the PEAK name — so thanks again for coming!
What made the event so great? Sure, it was a venue for PEAK to offer gratitude to customers by preparing a meal and providing giveaways. However more importantly, the event served to create an illustration of the many projects and objectives I speak about in this letter every month. This year we had onsite resources for PEAK’s new modems and tutorials for their unique functionality like, time blocking and parental filtering. We also had a live demo of PEAK’s new email platform, set to debut in the fall. Lastly, if you took the tour of our facilities, you might have seen the new HVAC infrastructure in place within the data center, a recent a data center upgrade. These are great resources for you as a customer, so I hope you had the opportunity to meet our staff and see the facilities where we work hard to make your internet service great.
“Try Before You Buy” promotion is back!
As September rolls around, school is set to begin and that means it’s time to send your children back to the classroom. I know many of you are striving to equip your student with the tools for academic success, so be sure to include your home internet connection in this evaluation. As more educational curriculum integrates online resources and applications, it is important to have an internet connection capable of accessing these resources (this includes video and other multimedia content). For the next few months, PEAK will be running upgrade promotions aimed at giving you the opportunity to try faster speed connections for 90 days at your current service rate. If you don’t like the difference, switch back at no additional charge from PEAK. Admittedly, the logistics of providing this promotion are different with each service, so stay tuned for specific details on this “Try Before you Buy” promotion.
Willamette Valley Internet customers join PEAK
This month I also have the honor of welcoming a new group of customers to PEAK Internet. In August, PEAK Internet and Willamette Valley Internet reached an agreement to transition customers in the Salem area to PEAK Internet. I would like to reach out and welcome those specific customers and would also like to reiterate PEAK’s commitment to quality service and personable support. I am confident that in a short time we will earn the same trust and loyalty you gave Willamette Valley Internet. We look forward to the opportunity to continue offering you internet services, from a local provider you can trust.
Have a great September and thanks again for choosing PEAK!