Your Local Connection

  • Posted on: 19 January 2022
  • By: djoyce

Blacksburg, Virginia, 01/19/2022

People are always asking, "What makes WideOpen Blacksburg's fiber connection better?" We just talked to a Comcast customer who was trying to edit some photos over the weekend and upload them to their cloud storage. They said it literally took two days to upload the edited photos. They did a speed test, and while they had 300 Meg down, they were only getting 6 Meg uploads.

Our fiber network is fully symmetric, which means our upload and download speeds are equal. If you order our 250/250 service you have 250 Meg down and 250 Meg up. Ditto for our 500 Meg and Gig service: 500 down, 500 up; Gig down, Gig up.

And unlike those "other" companies, we are your local network provider. Our headquarters are right here in Blacksburg, and our staff are all local. Stop by and see us if you have questions.

Adding Some Fiber to Your Life

  • Posted on: 17 December 2021
  • By: djoyce

Blacksburg, Virginia, 12/17/2021

Many folks in Blacksburg have cable services in their home and wonder how life with fiber to their home might be.

Our Vice President of Sales, David Sobotta. moved in February 2021, from the North Carolina coast back to Piedmont where he grew up. He also went from copper-cable-modem service to a fiber to the home (FTTH) neighborhood.

Below is an excerpt from his blog on the changes he noticed. He has a long history in the technology industry including twenty years at Apple

"Like many people who have been on a cable modem for decades, my experience has been a roller-coaster with some very frustrating experiences. By the time we moved in February 2021, our speeds had increased to 488 Mbps down and 24 Mbps up. Because of bundling, our phone service also was delivered by cable modem. The numbers looked impressive on the surface.

However, with a job that involves clients in over twenty states and a home office over seven hours driving away from our corporate office, experience had taught me that I could still expect problems with video conferencing which had become critical to meeting the needs of our clients since the pandemic.

Video conferencing with a cable modem, even with the best speeds that my cable modem company could deliver, involved using both the phone and my computer to establish a video-conference link. Collaborative tools just did not have reliable connectivity and even worse, sharing large files was anything but instant.

Our move let us subscribe to a symmetric 500 Mbps fiber connection provided by our local telephone company. Now joining a video conference whether through Zoom, Teams, or GoToMeeting no longer ties up our home phone line for audio. A simple click of a link delivers both video and audio that are crystal clear.

As our move cut the cable cord, I initially worried about how my wife would take to streaming. While she cannot see all of her favorite shows live, she has not had to give up any shows and she has found a far broader choice of shows. We get local live television through Paramount+. We rotate through a number of streaming services, cancelling them sometimes for several months until their content has been refreshed. My wife who is somewhat reluctant with technology changes has learned how to stream the shows that she wants without any help from me.

We are saving close to $500 per year and every service that we have is far better than what we had."

David’s full post is available at Adding Fiber To Your Life.

Having Trouble Finding Those Last Minute Gifts?

  • Posted on: 9 December 2021
  • By: djoyce

Blacksburg, Virginia, 12/09/2021

Protected

Shopping for certain people can be stressful, but especially when Christmas is right around the corner. Whether it's members of your family, coworkers or friends, there are so many options. Luckily, we've found a great guide of gift giving from The Verge! They have a wide variety of tech, gaming, and even fitness & wellness options. You can even narrow down your search by choosing a specific price range. Check out the guide in the link below:

https://www.theverge.com/22759813/holiday-gift-guide-best-tech-gadget-un...

The Home Security Series: SimpliSafe

  • Posted on: 15 November 2021
  • By: djoyce

In this 3-part series, we'll be checking out the best home security systems on sale today.

Blacksburg, Virginia, 11/15/2021

Protected

The final home security brand we're covering in this series is SimpliSafe. SimpliSafe is great for people who want a system that's the easiest and most straightforward to set-up and use.

SimpliSafe has a wide range of products, including indoor and outdoor cameras, motion sensors, smoke & carbon monoxide detectors, and temperature & water sensors. You can choose to build your own security system, or pick from one of their tailored bundles. SimpliSafe has multiple packages to choose from, depending on how secure you want your home to be.

Another perk of SimpliSafe's system is their 24/7 monitoring center. SimpliSafe's monitoring specialists use video footage to give authorities eyewitness evidence. That means if you're busy and can't get to your phone, SimpliSafe's team will review data and video evidence from the devices around your home to confirm that something actually happened, and can alert local authorities.

With WideOpen's quick and reliable fiber network, you can be sure your security system will never miss a thing.

To learn more about SimpliSafe and their products, visit https://simplisafe.com

- The WideOpen Team

A Local Airbnb Host Shares How WideOpen Blacksburg's Network Was a Game Changer for Their Home & Business

  • Posted on: 8 November 2021
  • By: djoyce

We asked Warren Neily how things were going after his first year on WideOpen Blacksburg's fiber network. Warren’s property is the last house at the far end of our rural fiber network:

"Wide Open Blacksburg was a game-changer for us in Ellett Valley! We struggled forever with slow speeds from Verizon, including paying extra for “band-width boosters” that throttled down mid-month after the allotted megs were consumed. Forget Netflix—we couldn’t stream anything.

BUT Adding Wide Open Blacksburg changed things for us overnight.

Overall better EASE OF LIVING. Finally, we have speeds to allow today’s family to function. Now we ARE able to work remotely--which was not possible before due to speeds / buffering. Plus, the kids stream content all they wish—no fear of throttling or monitoring controls to “save it” for work hours.

VALUE – cost-effective AND better. We could see value immediately in what we paid, vs what we got/ or didn’t get before. The math was simple.

BONUS to Business… adding new Wide Open Blacksburg service helped increase our AirBnB revenues. WIFI, if listed as an amenity, requires a documented speed making mid-week bookings harder. We regularly received critical reviews about slow internet—but no more! Now it’s mostly 5-Star reviews mentioning “great farm-experience paired with a week of Zoom Calls”—that’s what it takes to support today’s working professional traveler!

Kudos to Wide Open Blacksburg—we are getting great service for a price we never thought possible on our rural, remote hillside."

You can check out Warren's beautiful Airbnb by visiting the link here: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/24334209?source_impression_id=p3_1636385601...

Charles K. Kao's 88th Birthday

  • Posted on: 4 November 2021
  • By: djoyce

Google honored Mr. Kao on their homepage today.

Fiber

“Kao founded the department of electrical engineering at the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 1970 before moving to Roanoke, Virginia, in 1974. In the U.S. he worked as chief scientist and later as director of engineering at ITT Corporation, the parent company of Standard Telephones & Cables. During this period, several important patents related to fiber-optic technology were filed.”

Read more on Newsweek about how the ‘father of fiber optics’ revolutionized the way data is shared around the world: https://www.newsweek.com/google-doodle-charles-k-kao-physicist-nobel-pri...

The Home Security Series: Vivint Smart Home

  • Posted on: 27 October 2021
  • By: djoyce

In this 3-part series, we'll be checking out the best home security systems on sale today.

Blacksburg, Virginia, 10/27/2021

Protected

The second brand in our Home Security Series is Vivint. It’s a bit more professional than our last feature, and with that comes a higher price. However, if you’re looking for a great professionally installed system, this may be the one for you.

Vivint offers many standalone products; including their indoor and outdoor cameras, smart locks, and garage door opener to name a few. Those all work great on their own, but Vivint’s greatest strength is when all the products work together and can all be controlled from one system. Vivint makes home automation a breeze, especially considering that the entire system is installed by a team of professionals. That means you won’t have to worry about the best placement of the devices on your property. Included in the home security package is outdoor cameras, interior flood alarms, locks, thermostats, and lighting.

Vivint not only specializes in home security, but they also have a medical alert system for seniors. Included in the medical system is an emergency pendant that can be fitted on a necklace, safety alarms, 24/7 monitoring, and indoor cameras to keep check on loved ones when you’re away. And if you have a doctor or therapist coming by for a visit, you can provide them with a unique code that they can enter into the smart locking system for easy access to your home. To learn more about their medical system, visit the link here: https://www.vivint.com/medical-alert-systems

When you have this many devices working together to keep your home and loved ones protected, you need a network that you can always rely on. When you’re connected to WideOpen’s fiber network, you’ll always have peace of mind.

To get in contact with Vivint for a free quote, visit the link here: https://www.vivint.com/

Stay tuned for our next post.

- The WideOpen Team

The Home Security Series: Ring

  • Posted on: 22 October 2021
  • By: djoyce

In this 3-part series, we'll be checking out the best home security systems on sale today.

Blacksburg, Virginia, 10/22/2021

Ring Doorbell Camera

Home security products on WideOpen's symmetrical fiber service have never worked more reliably and quickly. From cameras and locks, to fire alarms and smart lights, you can be sure these devices operate at their maximum potential. And because WideOpen's network doesn't experience slowdowns in peak usage hours, you can be sure your residence is protected - whether you're at home or away.

The first brand we’ll go over in this series is Ring. You most likely know this brand from seeing their small doorbell cameras on houses around your neighborhood - or maybe you even have one yourself. But did you know they offer a full suite of security products? They’ve even got their own security subscription with 24/7 protection for your home, and an app called Neighbors by Ring, which enables you and those in your area to keep up to date on important information, like missing pets and package thieves. Find out more about the app here.

Ring has a multitude of security devices including smart lighting to make it look like you’re home when you aren’t, and motion detected flood lights with built-in cameras. Their most popular product is, of course, their doorbell security camera. They currently have 7 separate doorbell cameras to choose from all with different features, wireless or wired, motion detecting enabled or not, and unique designs to match the look of your home. You can see all the doorbells available by visiting their site here.

Ring has recently announced a new security system called Alarm Pro, which features a built-in eero Wi-Fi 6 router to protect your whole home and your network – which of course will work flawlessly on WideOpen’s network. The new Alarm Pro features 24/7 monitoring, whole home motion detection, and a DIY set-up. You can pre-order this system now at this link.

Stay tuned for our next post.

- The WideOpen Team

A New Contender Joins the Streaming Game: Paramount+

  • Posted on: 19 October 2021
  • By: djoyce

Paramount+ combines shows, movies, and live TV programs on their new app.

Blacksburg, Virginia, 10/19/2021

Copyright 2021 ViacomCBS

Are you wondering where your Star Trek Series disappeared to? ViacomCBS is calling many of their popular series home to their new Paramount+ Streaming network. Paramount+ is the home service for Nickelodeon, CBS, CBS Sports, Comedy Central, Paramount Network, MTV, VHI Showtime, and BET.

Originally launched as CBS All Access in October of 2014, the service added a more diverse selection of content and rebranded as Paramount+ in March of this year. Their rebranding efforts included adding much more content; sports channels including CBS Sports, original series like 60 Minutes, and additional content for kids.

Last month they announced that they would be launching a new streaming bundle for both the ad-supported and premium tiers that include Showtime. They are competing head to head now with the mainline HDTV streaming service by adding the extended content from Showtime, on top of what’s already available on Paramount+.

Are you enrolled in an accredited university? Current students get 25% off their monthly subscription by filling out the form at this link. www.paramountplus.com/account/edu

To view everything available on the new service, visit their site.
If you like what you see, click here to try it out free for a week.

Enjoy the Fall season!

- The WideOpen Team

October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month

  • Posted on: 12 October 2021
  • By: djoyce

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) shares it's most important tips for staying secure online.

Blacksburg, Virginia, 10/12/2021

Keep your internet secure

It's 2021, and our online presence and personal devices have never been more important to us. From banking to social networking, working remotely, and even using cell phones as car keys and credit cards, there's no doubt that we rely on these tools more than we think. That is why it's so important that we keep them safe and secure, and what better time to update and review your preventative measures than Cybersecurity Awareness Month?

According to CISA.gov here are a few tips you can implement today:

Let’s start with the basics of “cyber hygiene,” easy and common-sense ways to protect yourself online.

  • Implement multi-factor authentication on your accounts and make it 99% less likely you’ll get hacked.
  • Update your software. In fact, turn on automatic updates.
  • Think before you click. More than 90% of successful cyber-attacks start with a phishing email.
  • Use strong passwords, and ideally a password manager to generate and store unique passwords.

    If you would like more information regarding staying safe online, check out the links below:

    National Cybersecurity Alliance

    Center for Internet Security

    Stay safe and have a great Holiday season!


    - The WideOpen Team

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