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GeoLinks Comments on Competitive Bidding Procedures

COMMENTS OF CALIFORNIA INTERNET, L.P. DBA GEOLINKS

California Internet, L.P. DBA GeoLinks (“GeoLinks” or the “Company”) submits these Comments on the Public Notice, seeking input on proposed pre-auction and bidding processes proposed for Phase I of the upcoming Rural Digital Opportunity (“RDOF”) reverse auction.[1]

INTRODUCTION AND SUMMARY

GeoLinks is one of the fastest growing Internet and phone providers in America and the #1 fastest growing fixed wireless service provider in California.[2]  While the Company had previously focused on business and enterprise customers, in 2016, GeoLinks began expanding its customer base to include unserved and underserved areas throughout California and beyond.  GeoLinks was the largest construction grant winner for California K-12 schools and libraries in 2016 and 2017, providing highspeed broadband to rural school districts and surrounding communities throughout the state that previously had not had access to any high-speed broadband service.  In 2019, GeoLinks was awarded Connect America Fund Phase II (“CAF”) Auction funding to connect more than 11,000 unserved locations making it the largest CAF winner in California and the fifth largest overall.

GeoLinks largely supports the pre-auction and bidding procedures and processes for the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (“RDOF”) proposed in the Public Notice and believes they strike the right balance to ensure a fair and successful auction.  However, GeoLinks believes that some of the proposals set forth in the Public Notice risk allowing certain bidders to participate that should either be limited in what tiers they can bid or excluded from the auction all together.  GeoLinks provides these comments to provide input into the Commission’s proposed RDOF pre-auction and bidding processes.

DISCUSSION

The Commission Should Limit Satellite Providers and Those That Have Never Filed a Form 477 From Bidding Gigabit and Above Baseline Performance Tiers

In the Public Notice, the FCC proposes to limit “geostationary satellite providers from bidding in the Gigabit and Above Baseline performance tiers.”[3]  In doing so, the Commission explains that there is “no evidence that geostationary satellite providers already offer service that meets all the requirements for these performance tiers.”[4]  As the Commission notes, satellite technologies generally cannot achieve speeds of at least 100/20 (noting that the only satellite provider that has reported via its Form 477 that it can offer 100 Mbps of downstream service only bid at the 10/1 and 25/3 speed tiers in the CAF auction).[5]  For this reason, it makes sense to limit these service providers from bidding in the Gigabit and Above Baseline performance tiers because there is no reported basis for believing the technology could achieve Gigabit and Above Baseline speeds.   Therefore, GeoLinks supports this proposed limitation.   In addition, GeoLinks urges the Commission to extend this limitation to low-earth orbit satellite service, as well.  Similar to other satellite providers, to the best of GeoLinks knowledge, there are no Form 477 filings to show that any low-earth orbit satellite operators have successfully offered Gigabit or Above Baseline speeds.  For the same reasons the Commission seeks to limit geostationary satellite providers from bidding the higher speed tiers, GeoLinks asserts that low-earth orbit satellite service should be limited, as well.

Along this vein, GeoLinks urges the Commission to implement one additional limitation in the RDOF auction.  GeoLinks asserts that the Commission should exclude service providers that have never filed a Form 477 from bidding the Gigabit and Above Baseline speed tiers.[6]  Only service providers with a track record for providing broadband service (and for complying with regulatory reporting requirements) understand the rigors associated with designing, deploying, and supporting high-speed broadband networks.  Limiting participation at these tier levels to only providers who have previously filed Form 477s will protect RDOF funding and save Commission resources by weeding out companies that may not be able to meet the rigors of the long form application process before they take part in the auction.

DOF Rules Must Prohibit Service Providers from “Double Dipping”

In addition to the above, the Commission should also be asking whether certain providers should be prohibited for another very important reason – if they have already received some incentive from the Commission to deploy high-speed broadband facilities to serve the areas eligible for RDOF funding (i.e. double dipping).  Specifically, GeoLinks believes that service providers that have received spectrum rights, deployment rights, merger approval, etc. from the Commission contingent upon buildout obligations that overlap with RDOF funding areas should not be eligible for grant funding for those areas.

GeoLinks uses SpaceX as its prime example.  SpaceX has been an active participant in the RDOF proceeding, undoubtedly with the goal of being able to participate in the auction.  However, SpaceX has already received hefty spectrum rights and operating authority from the Commission for extensive satellite deployments that will purportedly result in global broadband deployment.  Because these would presumably be the same satellites that SpaceX would use for any RDOF-related services, allowing SpaceX to participate in RDOF for the same deployment would essentially allow it to “double dip” from the Commission, resulting in wasteful use of limited RDOF funding.

In 2018, the Commission granted SpaceX authorization to “construct, deploy, and operate” its proposed satellite system, “comprising 4,425 satellites for the provision of fixed-satellite service (FSS) around the world” and the rights to do so over certain spectrum within the Ku- and Ka-band frequencies.[7]  In exchange for these rights and authorizations, the Commission mandated that SpaceX meet certain conditions related to, among other things, deployment milestone and geographic coverage requirements.[8]   Specifically, the Commission’s rules require SpaceX to launch and operate “50 percent of the total number of satellites in the constellation” no later than 6 years after grant of the authorization” and “to provide service coverage to (i) all locations as far north as 70 degrees latitude and as far south at 55 degrees latitude for at least 75% of ever 24-hour period and (ii) on a continuous basis through the fifty states, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.”[9]

SpaceX has made clear that by utilizing the authorizations and rights already granted by the Commission, it will launch thousands of satellites and “once fully deployed,” will “provide full time coverage to virtually the entire planet.”[10]  Moreover, SpaceX has repeatedly explained to the Commission that it is already actively deploying its satellites.[11]  SpaceX’s commitments were all made without the promise of RDOF funding.  In fact, these commitments were all made before the RDOF auction was even contemplated.[12]  SpaceX should not now be permitted to seek RDOF funding to complete commitments it has already made to the Commission.

GeoLinks urges the Commission to craft its rules in a way that protects RDOF funding from would-be bidders that seek to subsidize broadband infrastructure that they have already made commitments to the Commission to deploy in exchange for something of value (i.e.  operating authority, merger approval, usage rights, etc.).  While GeoLinks does not oppose making RDOF funding available for service providers proposing new projects in RDOF-eligible areas (separate and apart from any previously made commitments), GeoLinks believes that allowing service providers to apply for RDOF funds to complete commitments already made would result in wasteful use of finite universal service support and promote “double dipping.”

CONCLUSION

GeoLinks largely supports the pre-auction and bidding procedures and processes proposed in the Public Notice.  However, GeoLinks urges the Commission to take steps to protect RDOF funds by limiting satellite providers and those that have never filed a Form 477 from bidding Gigabit and Above Baseline performance tiers and precluding service providers from participating in the auction if they have already received some incentive from the Commission to deploy high-speed broadband facilities to areas eligible for RDOF funding.

 

Respectfully submitted,

California Internet, L.P. DBA GeoLinks                                                  

/s/ Skyler Ditchfield, Chief Executive Officer

/s/ Melissa Slawson, General Counsel/ V.P of Government Affairs and Education

 

March 27, 2020

 

[1] See Public Notice, “Comment Sought on Competitive Bidding Procedures and Certain Program Requirements for the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Auction (Auction 904),” AU Docket No. 20-34 and WC Docket Nos. 19-126 & 10-90 (rel. Mar. 2, 2020) (“Public Notice”).

[2] Inc. Magazine’s 37th Annual List of America’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies—the Inc. 5000 (https://www.inc.com/inc5000/2019/top-private-companies-2019-inc5000.html).

[3] Public Notice at paras. 49 and 50.

[4] Id. at para 50.

[5] Id.

[6] This includes low-earth orbit satellite providers such as SpaceX, who seek to participate in the RDOF auction.

[7] Memorandum Opinion, Order and Authorization, In the Matter of Space Exploration Holdings, LLC Application for Approval for Orbital Deployment and Operating Authority for the SpaceX NGSO Satellite System; Application for Approval for Orbital Deployment And Operating Authority for Orbital Deployment and Operating Authority for the SpaceX NGSO Satellite System Supplement, IBFS File Nos. SAT-LOA-20161115-0018, Call Sign S2983, and SAT-LOA-20170726-00110, Call Sign S3018 (released March 29, 2018) (“SpaceX Order”), at para. 1.

[8] SpaceX Order at paras. 31-33.

[9] Id. at paras. 31 and 33.

[10] SpaceX Order at para. 33.

[11] See SpaceX Notice of Ex Parte Communications, WC Docket No. 19-126, WC Docket No. 10-90 (filed January 20, 2020) stating that “SpaceX is targeting service in the Northern U.S. and Canada in 2020, rapidly expanding to near global coverage of the populated world by 2021.”  See also SpaceX Notice of Ex Parte Communications, WC Docket No. 19-126, WC Docket No. 10-90 (filed February 20, 2020) stating that “SpaceX has already launched over 300 satellites…and has an aggressive launch rate that will ensure full coverage to the entire United States.”

[12] The SpaceX Order was released on March 29, 2018 – 16 months before the Commission released its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for RDOF.  See generally RDOF Order.

GeoLinks Joins Pledge to Keep Americans Connected

California-based telecommunications provider GeoLinks, has joined the Federal Communications Commission’s pledge to “Keep Americans Connected” during the coronavirus outbreak. The formal joining of the pledge is a vow from the company to ensure that its customers remain connected to vital information infrastructure during these uncertain times.

The Keep Americans Connected Pledge reads as follows:

Given the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on American society, GeoLinks pledges for the next 60 days to:

(1) not terminate service to any residential or small business customers because of their inability to pay their bills due to the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic;

(2) waive any late fees that any residential or small business customers incur because of their economic circumstances related to the coronavirus pandemic; and

(3) open its Wi-Fi hotspots to any American who needs them.

“When my cousin (Chief Technical Officer, Ryan Hauf) and I founded GeoLinks in 2011, it was our mission to improve people’s lives by connecting them to information,” said CEO, Skyler Ditchfield. “We continue to stand behind that mission today and we are dedicated to making sure that our customers remain connected during this challenge.”

GeoLinks is also taking additional steps to ensure that its residential customers have access to enhanced levels of service by increasing speeds for customers who are working remotely due to social distancing guidelines, when possible.

In a news release, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai commended businesses such as GeoLinks for taking these additional steps. “I applaud those companies that have already taken the Keep Americans Connected Pledge” said Chairman Pai. “They are stepping up to the plate and taking critical steps that will make it easier for Americans to stay connected during this pandemic and maintain much-needed social distancing. I urge other companies to join them. This may be a difficult time for our nation, but if we all work together, I am confident that we can rise to the challenge.”

“As leaders in the business community, it is our duty to set the right tone,” concluded Ditchfield. “By showing that we are committed to helping our community, we can show the world how to make it through this difficult time, by working together.”

The Importance of Creating Digital Business Certainty

By: Skyler Ditchfield, GeoLinks CEO

As businesses across the country establish and put in place procedures to ensure business continuity in the face of uncertainties surrounding the spread of coronavirus, including a surge in remote-optional work, limited connectivity looms large over the best-intentioned plans. While your place of business may have its network firing on all cylinders, the likelihood that all of your employees have a similar setup at home is low.

Take for instance the fact that on average, business internet speeds tend to be anywhere from two to five times faster than those of residential connections. Add in the probability that most home connections are sharing access with the rest of their neighborhood and have restricted upload speeds. In the unfortunate circumstances we’re witnessing today, many of those homes are going to have business professionals conducting high-volume work on a network that is not prepared for it. You can now start to sense the feelings of frustration cropping up in home offices across the nation.

The issues presented by the sudden surge in remote work don’t stop at intermittent or inconsistent speeds though. Logistical issues such as accessing desk phone lines and voicemail present real-world problems that are difficult to solve without the proper business solutions in place. When customers and clients are conditioned to reaching your employees one way, it can create delays and missed opportunity when those employees don’t have access to these preferred methods of communication.

With so many businesses choosing to offer remote-optional work, we’re also seeing a significant uptick in the amount of video conferencing taking the place of in-person meetings. With the aforementioned circuit overloads, expect many of these video meetings to be interrupted due to sub-enterprise quality bandwidth.

All of this is not to say that solutions do not exist. Fixed wireless internet alone eliminates much of the uncertainty presented by these issues. With a dedicated signal provided to a single location, concerns of reduced speed, network downtime and service interruption are completely dissipated. With a hosted voice solution, employees have the same access to their desk lines of communications that they would have in the office. An SD-WAN solution provides your network with two traffic routes, allowing for optimized and seamless delivery of unlimited data, including video conferencing.

Even in the face of the existential threat that our world is facing, business owners cannot afford to halt their operations. It is often in times of great change and upheaval that we learn what is necessary to survive. In the case of protecting the health of your business, it might just be time to put solutions in place that create certainty in uncertain times.

 

 

Closing An Invisible Barrier

By: Skyler Ditchfield, GeoLinks CEO

As schools across the country are forced to close due to the threat of coronavirus infections, a familiar theme, and one that my company is dedicated to solving comes to mind. I’m referring to the Digital Divide that is ever-present, not always seen by those with high-speed connection, but all-too familiar to those without.

Across the country, mostly in rural markets that do not have the fiber infrastructure often utilized for high-speed broadband, homes, schools, libraries and even hospitals operate with a lower degree of connectivity than their urban neighbors. With the recent outbreak of coronavirus affecting the globe, many schools have had to make the difficult decision to close their doors for indeterminate timeframes.

In some fortunate cases, students are still able to access their learning environments through online class portals. In many other cases, including quite often in rural markets with low connectivity, students are losing out on similar opportunities to learn while their schools remain closed. If a school does offer online learning modules, many of its students do not have the home internet access necessary to interact in these portals, highlighting an aspect of the unfortunate phenomenon known as the “homework gap.”

I have firsthand knowledge of what it’s like living in a rural market with severely limited connectivity. Growing up in rural Ojai, Calif., my family and many like us had limited options when it came to internet connectivity. Situations like this create a very real disadvantage for children. When youths grow up with instant access to a world of information at their fingertips, they understandably don’t fully grasp the advantage that it gives them. When children grow up without that connection, they are very well aware of the roadblocks that the lack of connectivity creates.

My cousin, Ryan Hauf and I started GeoLinks in 2011 with a very simple but profound mission; to connect people to information. As we’ve continued to grow and be recognized as one of the Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Companies in America, our mission has evolved, but the core premise remains. As a company we are dedicated to closing the digital divide that so many people, especially children, are living with every day.

This is why GeoLinks is a proud member of the Schools, Health and Libraries Broadband Coalition (SHLB), promoting government policies and programs that enable these institutions to obtain open, affordable, high-speed broadband connections to the internet. It’s why we partner with the Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California (CENIC) to provide schools, libraries and research sites in underserved communities with broadband at 50 to 100 times greater speeds than they previously had access to.

Our commitment to closing the digital divide was a key factor in the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) decision to entrust GeoLinks with approximately $88 million to deploy high-speed broadband network facilities to rural areas in California and Nevada over the next ten years. These areas are not unlike the rural Ojai of my childhood, or the underserved communities of today that are forced to endure limited to no connectivity, creating greater disadvantage across the digital divide.

It is our mission to connect these areas to a world of information with fiber-fast connection. It is our hope that even when schools are forced to keep students away from their physical learning environment, they will have the option to connect with them in a digital classroom.

GeoLinks Recognized as One of the Best Internet Providers in Los Angeles

CAMARILLO, Calif. GeoLinks was recently recognized as one of the Best Internet Providers in Los Angeles by Expertise.com. A leading telecommunications company and competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC) public utility, GeoLinks is nationally recognized for its innovative Internet and Digital Voice solutions.

“At GeoLinks, we pride ourselves not only on the quality of our products and services but on the fact that we deliver them utilizing a 100-percent in-house approach,” said CEO, Skyler Ditchfield. “The fact that our engineering, design, construction, connectivity and delivery processes are all completed in-house has allowed us to innovate and grow while ensuring that our high-quality standards remain in place.”

Ranked on Inc. Magazine’s Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Companies in America three-years running, GeoLinks delivers Enterprise-Grade Internet, Digital Voice, SD-WAN, Cloud On-ramping, Layer 2 Transport and both Public and Private Turnkey Network Construction expertly tailored for business and Anchor Institutions nationwide. The company’s accelerated success is largely due to its flagship product, ClearFiber, which offers dedicated business-class Internet with unlimited bandwidth, true network redundancy and guaranteed speeds reaching up to 10 Gbps. GeoLinks has also partnered with ALERTWildfire to deploy Wildfire Detection, Prevention and Situational Awareness Systems across the state of California.

Expertise.com uses in-depth proprietary research and detailed comparisons to create objectively quantified and qualified lists of top companies across a variety of industry verticals. With more than 10 million companies analyzed, the company is a valued resource when searching for experienced professionals.

About GeoLinks

Headquartered in Southern California, GeoLinks is a leading telecommunications company and competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC) public utility, nationally recognized for its innovative Internet and Digital Voice solutions. Ranked three-years running on Inc. Magazine’s Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Companies in America, GeoLinks delivers Enterprise-Grade InternetDigital VoiceSD-WAN, Cloud On-ramping, Layer 2 Transport, and both Public and Private Turnkey Network Construction expertly tailored for businesses and Anchor Institutions nationwide.

GeoLinks’ accelerated success is largely due to its flagship product, ClearFiber™, which offers dedicated business-class Internet with unlimited bandwidth, true network redundancy, and guaranteed speeds reaching up to 10 Gbps. Named “Most Disruptive Technology” in the Central Coast Innovation Awards, GeoLinks’ ClearFiber™ network is backed by a carrier-grade Service Level Agreement boasting 99.999% uptime and 24/7 in-house customer support. With an average installation period of 4 to 7 days, GeoLinks is proud to offer the most resilient and scalable fixed wireless network on the market.

How to Create an IT Disaster Plan to Prepare for California Wildfires

How To Create Your IT Disaster Plan to Prepare for California Wildfires - GeoLinks.com

How to Prepare Your IT for Wildfires in California

Wildfires in California are a serious concern for any business. They present both a danger to the people working at your organization and to your operations as a whole. Many businesses create plans for the former concern, which is, of course, the most important. However, the latter, continuing operations during and after a wildfire, can be overlooked, especially concerning IT. Below are some tips on creating an IT disaster plan for California wildfires.

1) Analyze Your Vulnerabilities

Consider how your information technology would be affected by a natural disaster. For example, do you have server hardware on-site in your main office? Do you rely on Internet connectivity to work? If you have IT resources outside of your headquarters, where are they located?

Understanding your vulnerabilities is essential to creating an IT disaster management plan. By thinking through what would happen if your physical location(s) were shut down, you can prepare your business for lasting operations during and after a wildfire.

Keep in mind that IT disaster planning doesn’t just revolve around safeguarding computers and data. More important are the essential personnel who help keep your IT infrastructure running. Hopefully, you already have a plan in place to ensure the safety of your staff. If you don’t, that should be your number one priority.

Once you have planned for your team’s safety, consider how they will resume work during and after the disaster. Will they need to connect remotely? If so, how will you enable them to do so?

2) Set Priorities

In the event of a disaster, there are scenarios that may prohibit your company from immediately resuming full operations. To determine what business elements are most important to get up and running again quickly, set and communicate priorities beforehand.

For example, perhaps the top priority is to get everyone connected to your network and each other again. Or it may be to ensure your proprietary data is both secured and accessible.

Understanding these priorities will help you to create your IT disaster prevention and disaster recovery plan. It will also help your team members to maintain clarity in the event that things don’t go exactly as planned. They can make decisions on the fly more easily when they have pre-determined goals.

3) Plan Redundancy

One of the most important elements of any IT disaster management plan is redundancy. IT resources can become unavailable in the event of a disaster. This can include hardware hosted at your place of business, overall network infrastructure, off-site resources, and more.

For example, if your business currently uses a terrestrial-based Internet connection, you may find yourself disconnected in the event an earthquake or wildfire damages nearby network infrastructure. Unfortunately, repairing damage can take a long time depending on the extent of the destruction. A great solution to avoid this vulnerability is to have two Internet circuits, a fiber optic connection (terrestrial) and a fixed wireless circuit (air), that issues automatic failover via a SD-WAN device in the event one experiences an outage. Having duel Internet circuits also ensures a business’s hosted VoIP connections remain active during a wildfire.

All in all, establishing IT redundancy ensures business continuity in the case of a wildfire or other natural disaster.

4) Plan for Data Continuity

No matter what business you are in, data is important. Perhaps your business is quite literally based on collecting and analyzing data. Perhaps you use customer information to make critical marketing decisions. Regardless of how you use the data, having access to critical business information is vital.

If you let it be a vulnerability, you may find your bottom line significantly impacted when a wildfire hits California.

Thus, cloud-based data back-ups are an absolute must for any business. If your business isn’t currently leveraging the cloud, it is time to get started. Additionally, you should have at least one back up drive located off-site. Issuing nightly backups of your key data is also strongly encouraged.

5) Evaluate Your Insurance

For many businesses, IT resources represent a significant investment. You need the proper insurance coverage to ensure that you can reestablish your operations promptly without risking your cash flow. This is especially true for California businesses given the state’s frequency of catastrophic events including wildfires and earthquakes.

Policies such as business interruption, loss of use, and extended coverage are worth significant considerations for any CA-based business. Insurance should be a component of every business’s IT disaster plan.

Getting Ready for the Next Wildfire

Whether you are ready or not, you may be affected by a wildfire in the very near future. It is best to have a plan in place so you’re prepared to handle the situation. Having a strong IT disaster management plan can make all the difference in the world.

Finding the right resources, such as GeoLinks’ GeoLit Bundle, will help you ensure your business continues operations even after a disaster.

How SD-WAN Can Benefit Your Multi-Location Business

How SD-WAN Can Benefit Your Multi-Location Business - GeoLinks.com

Software-defined wide area network technology (SD-WAN) is a powerful tool for businesses that rely on the Internet to operate. It is especially beneficial for multi-location businesses. Of course, every company’s needs are a little different. So, is SD-WAN right for your business?

Read on to learn more about its benefits and uses for multi-location businesses.

What Is SD-WAN?

A wide area network (WAN) is a telecommunications network that covers a large geographical area. Unlike a local area network (LAN), a WAN can connect devices and networks to the Internet and cloud-based service providers. Its primary purpose in the business world is to connect an organization’s locations together so that they can work securely and efficiently.

Software-defined wide area networks use software to simplify the delivery of the WAN. It is an answer to the problems of two prior technologies: traditional WANs and multiprotocol label switching (MPLS). WANs spread over large areas tend to suffer from connection quality issues. MPLS addresses this but is expensive and slow to deploy.

SD-WAN offers many technical advantages over traditional WANs without all the logistical drawbacks of MPLS. Unlike a conventional WAN which relies on a hardware network, SD-WAN, such as the service offered by GeoLinks, can be managed virtually.

What Are the Benefits of SD-WAN for a Multi-Location Business?

Multi-location businesses can utilize SD-WAN to connect their headquarters with outside branches. This may be an organization with people working in offices all over the globe or it may be a retailer with a few locations around a city. Unlike MPLS which requires the use of a singular telecom across every location, SD-WAN is carrier agnostic allowing you to customize your bandwidth per location.

A business in Los Angeles with satellite locations in San Bernardino and San Diego, for example, may need to run applications that work efficiently between all three sites. SD-WAN would enable them to do so, simply and cost-effectively. If the team wanted to open another location in Riverside, SD-WAN would make connecting the new office seamless.

These are some of the reasons to choose SD-WAN to connect your business locations:

  • Cost Savings: Relative to other modern WAN options such as MPLS, SD-WAN is less costly to deploy and to maintain.
  • Efficient Routing: More traditional technologies such as MPLS are not routed based on application demand. SD-WAN, conversely, uses optimized path routing to ensure prioritized applications have the best possible performance.
  • Fast Deployment: SD-WAN is software-based and delivered through the cloud. Requiring just an edge device installed on site, setting it up is both fast and cost-effective. This makes it very simple to quickly connect another branch or remote office.
  • More Stable Internet: Businesses that rely on the Internet to operate can benefit from SD-WAN as it can seamlessly combine multiple Internet connections. Capable of jitter buffering, forward error packet correction, dynamic link steering, and issuing automatic failover to a backup connection in the event one connection fails, SD-WAN ensures an organization has true business continuity. For certain businesses, this can make a critical difference.
  • Centralized Monitoring: SD-WAN offers multi-location businesses functionality to monitor the network in real-time from anywhere. So, your headquarters can keep an eye on all network activity and remotely address any issues. This significantly simplifies network maintenance when compared to a hardware-based solution.

Which Multi-Location Businesses Benefit From SD-WAN?

Which Multi-Location Businesses Benefit From SD-WAN? - GeoLinks.com - Rodeo Drive

  • Multi-location car dealerships

  • Banks with multiple branches

  • Hotel and restaurant chains

  • Marketing and Ad Agencies with offices spread nationally

  • Schools, Hospitals, Libraries and other Municipalities

  • Multi-location retailers

Basically, any business with multiples branches or offices can benefit from SD-WAN. It is especially helpful for organizations that run cloud services or wish to house and mitigate all IT operations within a single hub.

Most businesses today rely heavily on the Internet. Having automatic failover to back-up connections safeguards your business from experiencing any perceived outages. Therefore, if lost productivity from a dropped Internet connection would substantially harm your business, SD-WAN may be for you.

Ultimately, SD-WAN is the best solution for fast-growing California-based businesses looking to establish a cost-effective, scalable, and efficient wide area network.

Interest in learning more about GeoLinks’ SD-WAN offering? Talk to a GeoLinks team member today!

Get to know GeoLinks’ Helpdesk Manager Michael Hurst

Get to know GeoLinks’ Helpdesk Manager, Michael Hurst

1. Let’s start with the basics, what’s your role at GeoLinks?

As Helpdesk Manager, I oversee the Helpdesk, which is responsible for responding to client support tickets, and assisting our FieldOps technicians on installations.

2. What’s your favorite part about working for GeoLinks?         

The company culture and environment. Everyone here takes great pride in the work that we do. We have created a friendly, family-like environment where we can share ideas with each other with ease. The game room and arcade are a plus as well!

3. What came before GeoLinks; did you always know you wanted to be an engineer? 

Not always! I’ve always had an interest in technology, primarily through playing video games. Prior to this job I was working for a video production company, at first assisting with inventory, later moving to the installation side. It was there where my interest in technology expanded and eventually led me to pursue a career in Networking.

Get to Know Michael Hurst4. What makes GeoLinks’ ClearFiber™ network different from other fixed wireless networks?

We’re always working to expand our already diverse network to cover areas other providers don’t service. In addition, we constantly work to improve our existing network.

5. Outside of work…what is your favorite past time or hobby?

It’s too hard to pick just one! I think most people in the office know I’m a big sports fan. Go Niners and Giants! Other than that I’m really passionate about playing music, and I’ve been training on Muay Thai kickboxing the last year or so.

Michael Hurst GeoLinks6. What’s something most of your coworkers don’t know about you?

I spent part of my childhood in England, from the ages of 5 to 8, and my entire extended family still live there. I try to make it back as often as I can.

7. What does an average day as GeoLinks Helpdesk Manager look like?

I work closely with our engineering team to ensure our support tickets are handled with care and in a timely manner. I also work closely with our operations managers to ensure our new circuit installations go smoothly.

8. You are allowed to do anything you want, anywhere in the world, for one whole day…what do you do, and where do you go?

Either hang out on the beach and surf in Maui, or see the sights in New York. I’ve never been.

9. Do you have a favorite quote or mantra you live by? Please share!

It’s simple, treat others with the same kindness and respect in which you wish to be treated.

10. What’s next…what are you most excited for when you think of your future with GeoLinks?

I look forward to seeing our network continue to diversify and expand, and I look forward to helping our company grow however I can.

Get to know Michael Hurst GeoLinks

Want to join the GeoLinks’ team? Learn more about your current openings on our Careers Page.

Get to know GeoLinks’ Director of Network Operations Kevin Malone

Kevin Malone GeoLinks.com

1. Let’s start with the basics, what’s your role at GeoLinks?

My role is Director of Network Operations. I oversee Network Operations (Netops) which consists of the GeoLinks’ Customer Helpdesk, NOC department, as well as Systems/IT.

2. What’s your favorite part about working for GeoLinks?

Hard to pick just one. The friendly cultural atmosphere, constantly being challenged, and the fast-paced, never slow environment. Things are never boring.

3. You were one of the first GeoLinks employees to be hired (back when the company was California Internet); how has the company evolved since you first started? 

It has changed quite a bit, from having meetings in a single office room sitting on the floor to where we are now. I remember how big of a deal it was when we first got logo’d shirts and graphics on our only company vehicle.  At that point we were legit!

4. What makes GeoLinks’ different from other Internet Service Providers?

I would have to say the people. From the very start the company was born with a friendly culture of respect. All businesses are about making money but what really matters is how you go about it.  The founders and management of GeoLinks believe above all else that providing the best work environment for the employees fosters success. For this reason I would say it’s why GeoLinks is different than any other company, not just other fixed wireless providers.

5. Outside of work…what is your favorite past time or hobby?

kevin malone geolinks.com

I have many. From shooting pistols and rifles at the range, to enjoying my Remote Control vehicles (Cars/Trucks/Rock Crawlers, GAS and Electric), to working on my ‘68 Chevy pickup.

6. What’s something most of your coworkers don’t know about you?

From age 7 to age 14 I studied Taekwondo. I was a wild child, and it was my parents idea of instilling structure, or at least a way to get rid of my energy. I made it as far as 2nd degree Black belt. My mother at one point had an entire room of trophies from sparring tournaments I competed in throughout California.

7. GeoLinks’ sales team often states that the company “reverse engineers” every circuit. Coming from the technical side of things, can you expand upon what this means exactly?

I think what we mean is we try to look at the details. Many ISP’s simply have a blanket area they say can be served. They’ll tell a customer “yes we can serve you” without doing due diligence. This often causes delays down the road. It’s a matter of considering all the factors before saying yes. When we say yes we can do something, we have put the circuit design through the paces and made sure it’s both possible and that we can support it. It makes us as a company true to our word. When we say “Yes, we can serve you”, we mean it.

8. You are allowed to do anything you want, anywhere in the world, for one whole day…what do you do and where do you go? 

Funny you ask, I plan on doing this next year! Wherever I go, I would want my friends and family with me as that is the most important thing in life. I would want to go to a place I find beautiful and genuinely enjoy every second I’m there. While we’re there, why not have a big party! That being said, my fiancé and I visited Ireland this year for vacation. Being almost 50% Irish, seeing my roots has always been on my bucket list. We planned the trip ourselves, flew in, and rented a car. We then traveled the island visiting all of its wonders at our own pace. We loved it so much we decided we’re going to get married there next year. We’ve invited all our friends and family and plan to have an awesome day none of us will ever forget.

9. Do you have a favorite quote or mantra you live by? Please share!

I like to watch the MotorTrend channel on Youtube. It’s a series of car shows, and at the end of each show they display a quote saying “Get Busy Living”.  I interpret this as don’t get stuck in the routines of life, and do what makes you happy!

10. What’s next…what are you most excited for when you think of your future with GeoLinks? 

Growing companies, especially fast-growing technical ones, always have unique and difficult challenges. If I’m not being challenged, I don’t feel like I’m growing. From my experience, that will never be an issue working here. From the beginning to now it’s insane how the company has developed; I can’t wait to see where it goes from here.

kevin malone geolinks

5 Disaster Prevention Tips for California Businesses

5 Disaster Prevention Tips for California Businesses - GeoLinks.com

5 Disaster Prevention Tips to Help California Businesses Better Prepare for Natural Disasters

Natural disasters can be both unpredictable and unavoidable. From loss of structure, habitat, property, and life, the associated damage can be unthinkable.

For businesses, natural disasters can prove detrimental in many different ways. From preventing staff from making it into work, to facility power loss halting operations, to IT crashes causing critical data loss, and much more, there really is only one all-encompassing way a business can endure a natural disaster – plan ahead.

With the state of California now experiencing a new year-round fire season, in addition to recently braving the two largest earthquakes to hit the state in twenty years, it’s more important than ever for companies to have a concrete disaster prevention plan.

Here are 5 disaster prevention tips that can help California businesses better prepare for natural disasters.

5 Disaster Prevention Tips for California Businesses - GeoLinks.com - safety first

1. Plan Safety First

To protect your business, first protect your employees and clients. For any brick and mortar business, it’s essential that staff know how to physically respond during a disaster. From practicing evacuation routes, to knowing who to call for what emergency, to having life-saving supplies available on site, to knowing where backup generators or susceptible gas lines are located – the number one rule in disaster prevention planning should always be safety first.

While business owners may have these items personally available, it’s critical this information is both shared and available to any and all staff on site.

5 Disaster Prevention Tips for California Businesses - GeoLinks.com - get insured

2. Get and Understand Your Insurance

When was the last time you looked thoroughly into your company’s insurance policy? Do you know what aspects of your business are covered in lieu of a natural disaster? Have you calculated if this coverage is even close to enough to keep your company afloat in the aftermath?

Investing in adequate insurance coverage is imperative in preparing for natural disasters. Aside from insuring your physical business property, with California’s frequency of catastrophic events, further researching business interruption, loss of use, and extended coverage packages are worth serious consideration.

Do you know how much downtime can cost your business? Learn more by checking out our “The Cost of Internet Downtime” Infographic.

5 Disaster Prevention Tips for California Businesses - GeoLinks.com - communicate priorities

3. Communicate Business Critical Priorities

In the event of a disaster, does your team fully understand what your business-critical priorities are? Do you? For example, is your first priority to communicate with your customers? If you’re a liquor store, is it to save all your unbroken inventory? Perhaps a hotel places top priority on evacuating all staff and guests rather than securing cash drawers; do new employees know this?

Whatever a company’s priorities are, it’s crucial to have them not only documented but also communicated company-wide. Once priorities are established and well-known, businesses should create an associated action plan of how to clearly execute in a variety of natural disasters and emergency situations.

5 Disaster Prevention Tips for California Businesses - GeoLinks.com - get redundant

4. Get Redundant

Most all businesses these days require some sort of access to both a power source and the Internet. Thus, what happens if a fire knocks out your building’s power and literally destroys your terrestrial fiber line? Can you still conduct business as usual? Well, if not prepared, the answer is likely no. In fact, it might take a while – even months – to get reconnected and operational depending on the damage. This unfavorable situation, however, is avoidable.

How? Get redundant – or in other words – have “backups on deck”. Get a power generator (or 2), and upgrade your internal network. A truly redundant Business network should integrate both air and ground technologies, such as a fixed wireless and fiber circuit. This prevents a single point of failure from potentially wiping out both circuits running through the same conduit. In the event of a full network outage, if you bundle in an SD-WAN (Software-Defined Wide-Area Network) device, it can trigger backup failover automatically.

5 Disaster Prevention Tips for California Businesses - GeoLinks.com - protect your data

5. Protect Your Data

Natural disasters have the power to destroy office networks, online systems, hard drives, and really any physical source responsible for storing critical business information. Thus, tip number five – protect your data.

If able, back up data nightly to both dependable hard drives (at least one housed off site) and to the cloud. If your company hasn’t already began to migrate business records to the cloud, it’s time to get up – literally – and onramp. Learn more about Cloud On-ramping here.

Ultimately, it’s time for California business owners to shift from a disaster recovery to a disaster prevention mindset. Natural disasters will continue to be inevitable – whether your business survives and thrives, however, depends entirely on what you strategically plan and prepare for.

For further disaster prevention tips read: “Disaster Recovery Plan – The Only Way to Ensure Business Continuity”.

To learn more about GeoLinks GeoLit Disaster Prevention Bundle, call and talk to one of the GeoLinks’ team members today!