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Personal Field Account from GeoLinks CTO, Ryan Hauf

Neither Snow nor Rain nor Heat nor Gloom of Night

GeoLinks CTO Ryan Hauf

As we delve into winter, field operations as a service provider can be tough, even grueling in some cases. Long hours, the cold, and sporadic weather can often present challenges in maintaining a state-wide network. Nonetheless, GeoLinks takes great pride and goes above and beyond in upholding its service uptime commitment to each and every one of its clients.

The following account is told by GeoLinks Co-Founder and CTO, Ryan Hauf.

After receiving word that a rural school in Redding that we had connected through GeoLinks’ partner CENIC had lost connection, the GeoLinks team, lead by Co-Founder and CTO Ryan Hauf, immediately set off to restore connectivity.

Matt Murphy [GeoLinks’ Lead Infrastructure Technician] and I left immediately Friday afternoon [in my personal work truck]. We arrived in Redding, California about 1:30am. Just before we pulled into the hotel, I found that I couldn’t get the manual transmission into gear. Coasting to the side of the road we noticed there was a LOT of heat radiating from the transmission, and we came to the conclusion that it had leaked out all its oil. After allowing it to cool for a little while it went into gear again, so we removed the shifter and dumped in about a quart of 90w gear oil (we could not install it the conventional way since that requires a pump which we didn’t’ have.) We were able to drive the rest of the way to the hotel.

After coming all the way we weren’t about to give up, so the next morning we decided that since it was still derivable, we’d give the hill ascent a try. We drove gently to the base of the hill and all seemed okay. About 1/4 of the way up the hill, I slowed down for a washout that was about a foot deep, when I pressed the clutch, it fell to the floor… Uh oh, the problems were getting worse! Of course the engine immediately stalled because I wasn’t prepared for the clutch not to disengage. We were now sitting, stuck in gear, with our front wheels in a washout. We figured we could restart the engine in gear if wheels were free, so we used a high-lift jack to lift the front of the truck. I started it, and let the truck “start/drive/roll” off the jack, which Matt pulled out of the way so we didn’t immediately run it over. We were off again, stuck in first gear, with no clutch, no way to shift gears, and potentially no way to re-start the engine if it stalled, depending on the location.

GeoLiks - Ryan Hauf - Redding

We continued to drive this way and the conditions got worse, deeper snow, very deep washouts, including one that was about 2′ deep, which the whole left side of the truck dropped into for about 200 feet. There was mud and snow flying everywhere from the tires; I had the engine redlined so it wouldn’t stall.

Some parts where the snow was deep it took us 10 minutes just to go 50 feet or so. Tires spinning, we’d slowly chew our way through the snow enough to get traction to drive up the incline.

Eventually, about half-a-mile from the top of the hill, we were in snow about a foot deep and the left side of the truck had fallen into a rut. Eventually we ran up against a rock or something hiding under the snow and we were stuck. At this point I called Steven (the repo man) to bring a truck and trailer up because we would be needing a tow home (and possibly off the mountain.) From there, we hiked the rest of the way to the site and repaired it (Matt actually hiked it twice since he went back to the truck for a replacement radio.)

We swapped the antenna and radio at the site, cleared the ice off the solar panels, applied rain-x to them to hopefully help with future icing, and then we headed back down to leave. It was about 3pm by this point. Once we got back to the truck, we jacked up the front to get it out of the hole it was in. We used a heavy duty ratchet-strap to “winch” it forward just enough to relieve tension from the transmission enough to get the shifter out of first and into reverse. Once in reverse, we started it as it fell off the jack again, and backed down the hill to a point we could do a 3-point turn around, which for obvious reasons was very tricky (no clutch). [Nonetheless] we got turned around and headed down the hill.
geolinks_redding

We limped the truck over to the school because it was still not connected, even though the tower was fixed. We assumed it was an alignment issue. Arriving just after dark, before long a few people from town showed up asking what we were doing there at night, on the roof… They were great and very helpful. Also very surprised at the extent we were going to in order to get their Internet repaired. We troubleshot at the school for a couple hours and they offered to take us to a hotel in town so we wouldn’t have to lip the explorer there with no clutch. We were stuck at this point – we  eventually got dropped off at the hotel around 11pm.

Steven (repo man) arrived at the hotel later than expected. 4:30am, to be exact, due to a fuel leak he had to fix on his truck on the way up at a truck stop gas station in the middle of the night with Macgyver parts. We left the hotel around 8am, and went to South Forks to retrieve an un-needed radio to be used as a replacement radio for the one at the school, which we had determined was bad.

Upon arriving at the school it seemed to be one issue after another, but finally, we were out of there by about 3:30pm, with connectivity successfully restored, against all odds and challenges!  We arrived back in town at 4am.

GeoLinks - Headed Home
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Internet for All in California: Overcoming Challenges and Creating Solutions

Internet for All in California: Overcoming Challenges and Creating Solutions

 · K-12LIBRARIESPRIVATE SECTOR
REGIONS: CALIFORNIA

Article written by CENIC

Across the globe, the digital divide is an issue of growing severity. California is no exception. Though it contains the networking world’s epicenter of innovation, large portions of California are left without adequate connectivity. “We have tremendous complexity in California around who does and doesn’t have access to broadband Internet,” said Louis Fox, president and CEO of CENIC. “Urban areas are generally well connected, but California is also a very rural state with sparsely populated areas distributed across a vast and complex geography.”

The 2017 California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF) Annual Survey revealed that only 69% of California households have connectivity through computing devices, which are crucial in terms of finding and applying for jobs, as well as enrolling in classes and doing school work. Computer costs and technical know-how are barriers for many of these households. However lack of broadband infrastructure is also significant: 19% report that Internet service is not available where they live.

Californians without Internet access felt disadvantaged in many of the same areas; 38% felt hampered in their opportunity to gain career skills and take classes, while another 38% lamented their inability to get health and medical information.

To overcome this digital divide, leaders in the public and private sectors are banding together to bring reliable, affordable Internet access to underserved communities. At the CENIC annual conference in March, panelists identified the issues and obstacles that stand in the way of connectivity, and discussed the ways in which they are each working to close the digital divide and provide Internet for all in California.

“The challenge in California right now is not small,” said Sunne Wright McPeak, CEO of CETF, a nonprofit established with the express purpose of closing the digital divide. “Our geology makes trying to build anything incredibly complex. Then, add on top of that the diversity of our populations, the complexity of our politics, and the fact that we’re trying to do something that nobody in power is supporting.”

Lack of support may very well stem from lack of awareness. Kim Lewis, CENIC’s legislative advocate, is on a mission to educate the networking world about the plight of underserved communities, which often get left behind, leading to an even greater divide between the haves and have-nots. “The infrastructure in the ground is lacking, and in many areas it’s missing altogether,” said Lewis. “What are our community members going to do when they go home after working all day and their kids don’t have the access they need to do homework?”

In addition to political and geographical barriers, efforts to establish connectivity suffer from under-funding. “The problem is money,” said Rachelle Chong, principal of the Law Offices of Rachelle Chong in San Francisco and former FCC commissioner. “There is inadequate money being spent on broadband infrastructure in the rural and tribal, and sometimes, even suburban areas of California.”

California residents also face connectivity challenges from the private sector. Dane Jasper, CEO of Sonic, a facilities-based backhaul and Internet access company, and Skyler Ditchfield, CEO of GeoLinks, a fixed-wireless Internet and telecom provider, are two innovators attempting to disrupt the Internet connectivity market. “Most American households have two choices for broadband, and tend to only have one or zero when it comes to fast access in the range of 50 to 100 megabits per second,” said Jasper. Ditchfield noted that some provided connectivity packages don’t actually supply adequate connectivity. “A cellular connection — 4G or 5G — to the home is not going to solve the problem of connectivity,” he said. “It’s better than nothing, but it’s not going to give our kids the capability of accessing the online learning resources they need.”

Fortunately, connectivity champions like these panelists are carving out new pathways for underserved communities. Thanks to legislative advocacy from people like McPeak, Chong, and Ditchfield, new initiatives are being considered and put in motion. “The [California Public Utilities Commission] has just put out a rule-making to give out a $20 million grant for digital literacy in California,” said Chong. “Essentially, if you’re a school, a public library, or a community-based organization, like a local government or nonprofit organization, you can apply for a grant from the CPUC to do two things: gain either digital literacy programs or public access to computers.” (Learn more about two grant opportunities for community-based organizations and apply with CETF between July 17 and to July 27.)

Each member of the panel spoke passionately about getting the rest of California connected to the digital world. “To me, the Internet is the great equalizer,” said Ditchfield. “It allows you, no matter where you are, to learn at your own pace, to learn what you want to learn, and to go out there and research and make something of yourself, whether that’s creating jobs, educating yourself, or taking care of your own medical issues. It should almost be a basic human right.”

All expressed their eagerness to continue their efforts within the CENIC community, hoping to draw on CENIC’s resources and plethora of connections. “CENIC has been a great partner,” said McPeak. “In fostering a culture of collaboration and digital inclusion, CENIC has been a pioneer. You have provided a pathway and been a trailblazer in collaboration.”

It is CENIC’s ongoing goal to bring quality, high-speed broadband service to all research and education communities. We at CENIC look forward to forming new relationships and fostering existing ones to establish Internet access for all in California. (#Net4AllNow)

For Further Reading

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Shared vs. Dedicated Internet Access—Not all Connections are Created Equally

shared vs dedicated internet

Shared vs. Dedicated Internet Access—Not all Connections are Created Equally

You’re sitting at your desk, trying to upload an extremely time-sensitive contract into an email, and you see this…

Meanwhile, your coworker Joe in the next room is trying to host a multi-user conference call on your VoIP system, and he hears this….

 

 

You can even hear Jamie, down the hall, spewing choice words as she tries to load your company’s online CRM but is deterred by this…

slow internet

Reality check

To support the high-demand, high-bandwidth applications that fuel today’s mission-critical business operations, it’s no longer a luxury to have a high-functioning network, it’s a necessity.

So, what causes slow Internet?

Force Majeure

Let’s face it, some things in life are just simply out of our control.  For example, an extreme weather event, such as heavy rainfall, can flood terrestrial Internet infrastructure, such as DSL or Fiber, causing community-wide network blackouts for hours, days, or weeks at a time. Similarly, your local construction crew might accidentally drill into the lines feeding your building’s primary Internet connection. Or perhaps your city’s electric company has an unforeseen power outage causing your Internet to drop. While it’s impossible to completely prevent the unpredictable, if Internet is important to your business, consider investing in both backup generators and a backup Internet circuit to safeguard your business from potential downtime.

Inefficient Bandwidth

Does your office have 20 users working off a symmetrical 3 Mbps circuit? Chances are your business operations will move at a glacial speed—that is, if they can be accomplished at all. Outside of physical users, do you know what everyone in your office is using the Internet for? Are they streaming video, uploading images, or downloading large files? All of these operations require bandwidth. Thus, in the case outlined above, your office lacks sufficient bandwidth.

To avoid Internet slow down, it’s imperative to know what your business uses the Internet for, and adjust your bandwidth accordingly. Furthermore, it’s important to understand if your office or building… A. has exclusive access to the bandwidth you’re paying for or B. you’re on a shared circuit leading to…

Monopolized Bandwidth

If your company is operating off a shared circuit, it is entirely possible that your neighbor could use up or hog your bandwidth. So, unless you plan to schedule out times for both your companies to take turns using the Internet, read on.

What is a Shared Internet Circuit? 

When your Internet is part of a shared terrestrial circuit, you’re doing just that, sharing. All user data is transmitted across a singular network expending more and more bandwidth as additional devices join and engage the network. So literally, all users on a shared circuit share speeds and bandwidth— AKA what your neighbor does may affect the quality of your connection.

The PRO of opting for shared Internet access is that it is typically the most affordable form of broadband. Additionally, if you live in a highly dense urban area, it’s likely readily available from a variety of competitors. For businesses who do not rely heavily on the Internet, this is a perfectly fine and economical solution. Just be prepared for random and potentially frequent slow down.

What is a Dedicated Internet Circuit?

Unlike shared Internet access, dedicated circuits provide private Internet access to a single location, meaning bandwidth is delivered and accessible exclusively to the circuit owner. Therefore, businesses who opt for dedicated internet access (DIA) actually receive the speeds and bandwidth they sign up for—no sharing! While fiber can deliver dedicated circuits, due to the terrestrial nature of the technology it is typically slow to deploy and extremely expensive. Therefore, more and more businesses are turning towards fixed wireless for this premium service, such as GeoLinks’ ClearFiber™ network. Dedicated Internet is very valuable for organizations with multiple users, cloud-based phones or web-enabled devices — or simply businesses who value uptime and reliability.

DIA Use Cases

Not sure if your business should upgrade to a dedicated circuit? Here are a variety of business use cases, and how they can benefit from DIA. 

Car Dealerships:

  • From interdepartmental communication, to customer service, to online marketing, to generating large financial contracts, an average car dealership’s day-to-day business relies on having dependable high-speed Internet.

Doctors’ Offices and Hospitals

  • Electronic health records (EHR) and X-Rays are quickly migrating to the cloud, making large file transfers increasingly imperative to healthcare facilities. Fact: A 1 Gigabyte Multiple CT Scan file transfer at 1.5 Mbps will take 84 minutes to download vs. only 1.25 minutes to download on a 100 Mbps dedicated circuit.

Hotels and Restaurants

  • In the hospitality industry, convenience and accessibility is paramount. Thus, having a high-functioning POS or check in system is mandatory for daily operations, and free guest Wi-Fi has become expected. Also consider that more and more users are making reservations online— can’t access the Internet? Good luck confirming reservations or booking requests! 

Real Estate

  • Real estate is an industry that revolves predominantly around website and phone leads. To be successful, agents must be accessible at all times, and keep web listings up-to-date with recent images and video tours. Therefore, high-speed Internet and using unified communications can be extremely beneficial.

Banks

  • From ensuring that money transactions are efficient and secure, to deploying live security-monitoring, to executing nightly backups, a bank would be severely compromised if they encountered a lack of bandwidth.

So, if you’re business depends on having a reliable and secure connection to the internet, consider upgrading to a dedicated circuit today. 

 

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Order Instituting Rulemaking to Consider Modifications to the CASF

BEFORE THE

CALIFORNIA PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION

Order Instituting Rulemaking to Consider Modifications to the California Advanced Services Fund.  | Rulemaking No. 12-10-012 (Filed October 25, 2012)

OPENING COMMENTS OF CALIFORNIA INTERNET, L.P. (U-7326-C) DBA GEOLINKS ON PHASE II OF THE FEBRUARY 14, 2018 AMENDED SCOPING MEMO AND ASSIGNED COMMISSIONER’S RULING

I. INTRODUCTION

 

California Internet, L.P. (U-7326-C) dba GeoLinks (“GeoLinks” or the “Company”) respectfully submits these opening comments on the Phase II Staff Proposal set forth in the February 14, 2018 Amended Scoping Memo and Assigned Commissioner’s Ruling (“Ruling”).

Headquartered in Camarillo, CA, GeoLinks is nationally recognized for its innovative Internet and Hosted Voice solutions.  The Company’s proprietary ClearFiber™ product utilizes a combination of terrestrial fiber optic backhaul, carrier-grade full-duplex fixed wireless equipment, and FCC licensed spectrum to deliver ultra-reliable high-speed broadband Internet access via radio waves.[1]

GeoLinks was the largest construction grant winner for California K-12 schools and libraries in both 2016 and 2017, providing highspeed broadband to nearly 30 rural school districts and surrounding communities throughout the state that previously had not had access to any high-speed broadband service. The Company hopes to leverage its expertise in connecting unserved areas of the state to apply for California Advanced Services Fund (“CASF”) funding in the coming year.

II. DISCUSSION

A. The Commission Should Allow Flexibility in How CASF Applicants Provide Project Location Data

In its proposal, Staff proposes that CASF Applicants provide, among other things, the following with respect to project location data:

  • The geographic location of the project related key network equipment, such as: DSLAMs, wireless towers, router facilities, network interconnection, etcetera. (Format to be determined by Staff)[2]

In finalizing the format for such a requirement, GeoLinks urges the Commission to allow for flexibility in the provision of this information between the application and construction phases of the CASF process.  GeoLinks recommends that for the application phase Staff require this information by census area from CASF applicants.  Providing infrastructure location information by census area provides staff with mappable infrastructure data while ensuring maximum flexibility for network design.  Especially for competitive providers that are not limited by fiber construction requirements, the exact locations for certain pieces of network infrastructure (i.e. towers or receivers) may shift during the construction phase to account for land procurement, leasing, permitting, topography and vegetation, etc.  Moreover, requiring this information at a more granular level at the application phase may result in delays if an applicant has to seek approval of any changes, even if the resulting network functions exactly the same.  For these reasons, GeoLinks urges the Commission to seek this information at a census area level as part of the CASF application process.

B. The Per Household Threshold for Ministerial Review Should be the Same Regardless of Technology Type

In the Proposal, Staff addresses the approval delays that have, to date, been commonplace in the CASF program.[3]  Specifically, Staff addresses that the majority of projects take several years before approval is granted, creating opportunities for new challenges and problems.  To streamline the approval process, Staff recommends ministerial review process for applications that meet certain criteria.[4]

As an initial matter, GeoLinks supports Staff’s proposal to create a ministerial review process for certain projects.  The Company believes that such a process will reserve Commission resources and ensure that broadband deployment to unserved areas is completed on a more expedited basis.  In addition, GeoLinks believes such a process will encourage more participation in the CASF program as companies will no longer be faced with the open-ended uncertainty of when a project might get approved.  However, GeoLinks asserts that the per household cost thresholds Staff proposes for this ministerial review process will thwart Staff’s efforts to streamline the program and incentivize carriers to bid on these low-income areas.

As proposed, the process set forth for low-income communities creates a huge disparity between technology types.  Specifically, Staff proposes allowing this streamlined process for fixed wireless projects only if proposed project costs are $1,285 per household or less.  However, for the same project area (and likely the same offered speeds, prices, customer service, etc.), Staff proposes an allowable project cost of $15,650 per household for fiber builds – more than 12x the amount allowed for fixed wireless projects.[5]  Moreover, there is no limit proposed for satellite providers, assuming they are eligible to bid.

On its face, this discrepancy is contrary to the Commission’s stated goal of administering the CASF program on a “technology neutral” basis.[6]  While not clear from Staff’s proposal, GeoLinks believes these numbers may be based on amounts approved for projects in the past.  However, these numbers should be used as a mechanism to reevaluate the per household costs the Commission has historically awarded to broadband providers, not as a method by which to hinder certain technology-types from bidding on a CASF-eligible area.

For example, if a fixed wireless provider applies to provide high-speed broadband to households in a CASF-eligible, low-income area of the state for $1500 per household, that fixed wireless provider should not be precluded from the ministerial process when a fiber-based project, that will likely offer the same speeds, would be eligible – and for potentially upwards of $14,000 more PER HOUSEHOLD.

The proposed price discrepancy gives fiber providers a huge advantage and will only serve to disincentivize competitive providers from submitting CASF applications for areas where the cost threshold might be more than $1,285 per household.  In addition, a provider that submitted an application for slightly more than the threshold for fixed wireless would run the risk of being beat out by a fiber provider offering to deploy service for 12x the cost because they can get approved in a shorter period of time under the ministerial process.  This structure not only picks winners and losers in the CASF application process but encourages wasteful spending that could have be avoided if other technology types were given an equal opportunity for expedited application review.  Certainly, as proposed, this discrepancy fails meet the Assigned Commissioner’s stated goal to “consider appropriate administrative controls to ensure that funds granted to eligible applicants are administered efficiently and cost-effectively, consistent with the Account’s stated purposes and objectives.”[7]

Instead, GeoLinks urges the Commission to set a flat cost per household threshold for its ministerial review process that would apply to all CASF applicants, regardless of technology type.  Not only will this flat per household amount simplify the review process, but it will set all service providers on equal footing for ministerial review, ensuring maximum participation in the CASF program and promoting more efficient use of CASF funds.

C. GeoLinks supports Staff’s Proposal to Initiate a Request for Proposal Process “High-Priority” Areas but Urges Staff to Reevaluate Whether These Areas Are Still CASF-Eligible

Staff proposes implementing a Request for Proposal (“RFP”) process for “high-priority” areas where no applications have been received.  GeoLinks strongly supports Staff’s suggestion to implement an RFP process for these areas.  However, in doing so, GeoLinks urges the Commission to direct Staff to reevaluate the priority areas to assess census blocks that are currently available for CASF funding.

Earlier this year, GeoLinks was in the process of finalizing a CASF Application for several localities within the Salinas Valley area, all of which are listed as priority areas on the Commission’s website.[8]  However, between the changes implemented by Assembly Bill (“AB”) 1665[9] and new projects in the area (which were not previously reflected on the California Broadband Map), the area appears to be all but ineligible for CASF funding.  And the areas that remain cannot be served by a non-incumbent carrier without requiring a huge cost per household.  While GeoLinks has not analyzed all of the “priority areas” designated by the Commission, it stands to reason that a refresh of these areas may be necessary.  With specific guidance and direction for eligible areas in conjunction with a streamlined, ministerial review process, GeoLinks believes that the RFP process will yield numerous bidders and revitalize broadband deployment efforts in these priority areas.  Specifically, GeoLinks urges the Commission to update the California Broadband map to account for any changes that may impact high-priority areas (or any CASF-eligible areas), including awarded CASF grants, Commission-approved settlement agreements pursuant to merger transactions, other federal and state grant funding, etc., and to do so more expeditiously going forward

In addition, similar to the process recommended above, GeoLinks suggests that carriers be placed on equal footing with respect to eligibility to bid on these RFPs.  Specifically, GeoLinks urges the Commission to score applications based on the same criteria, regardless of technology type, and suggests a flat per household threshold for ministerial review, applicable to all applicants.

D. The Commission Should Create Rules for Right of First Refusal Submissions to Avoid the Process Becoming a Mechanism for Blocking Competition

GeoLinks urges the Commission to implement rules to ensure carriers do not use the Right of First Refusal (“ROFR”) process to block areas where they have no intention to deploy broadband infrastructure.  First, GeoLinks urges the Commission to implement rules that limit a carrier’s ability to file multiple ROFR letters for the same area.  If a carrier files an ROFR for an area, it has 180 days to either deploy broadband/ upgrade its existing facilities or seek an extension.  If after the exhaustion of the initial 180-day period or any granted extension the provider has failed to deploy or upgrade its facilities as set forth in the ROFR, the carrier should not be allowed to re-bid the area in any subsequent round.   Second, GeoLinks believes that repeated extensions are only reasonable if the delay is completely outside the control of the ROFR filer.  Delays due to inability to secure funding, reasonably avoidable construction delays, etc. should not suffice.  Lastly, the Commission should consider penalties for failure to never construct an ROFR area after seeking an extension such as preclusion from participating in the CASF program.

E. Connect America Fund Recipients Should be Subject to Mandatory Waiting Periods Before Becoming Eligible to Apply for CASF Funding.

As set forth in AB 1665, Connection America Fund Phase II (“CAF”) areas are ineligible for CASF funding until July 1, 2020, unless the existing facility-based broadband provider has notified the Commission before July 1, 2020, that it has either completed or elected not to build its CAF deployment in the census block.  In its Proposal, Staff seeks comment on the following:

  1. How can the Commission incentivize existing facilities based broadband providers to build out their CAF II obligations in a timely manner?
  2. How and what is the process for existing providers to notify the Commission before July 1, 2020, that it has either completed or elected not to build its CAF [project] to expand broadband service within identified census blocks?[10]

As an initial matter, in adopting any rules related to the treatment of CAF recipients, GeoLinks urges the Commission to remember that these recipients made commitments to the FCC in exchange for receipt of CAF funds.  Specifically, these providers agreed that in exchange for the model-based support they would “deploy voice and broadband-capable networks to all supported locations that are deemed ‘high-cost’ and not served by an unsubsidized competitor.”[11]  If a CAF recipient fails to meet these commitments (either by only completing a portion of an area or not completing an area at all), the Commission should not allow them to game the system and benefit from CASF funding.

By way of example, recently Frontier Communications informed the Commission that it would not be pursuing a specific CAF area (Desert Shores).[12]  The very next day, however, Frontier filed a CASF application for the exact same area.[13]  Based on Frontier’s CAF commitment, Staff flagged the Desert Shores area as ineligible for CASF funding.  This blocked all other broadband providers from seeking CASF funding to serve the Desert Shores area.

Clearly, Frontier waited to announce that it would not be using CAF funding for Desert Shores until its CASF application was complete (since that filing occurred the next day).  Meaning that Frontier not only knew in advance it would not be upholding its commitments under CAF but withheld that information from the Commission for its own benefit.  This behavior should not be rewarded and is most certainly not in the public interest.

To avoid this gaming of the CASF program in the future, GeoLinks urges the Commission to subject CAF providers that bow out of their FCC commitments under the CAF program to a mandatory waiting period before they can apply for CASF funding for a previously blocked CAF area.  Specifically, GeoLinks suggests a 90-day mandatory waiting period if notice is provided to the Commission before January 1, 2019 and a 180-day mandatory waiting period if notice is provided to the Commission after January 1, 2019 but before January 1, 2020.  However, if a provider waits until after January 1, 2020, the Commission should completely preclude the provider from applying for CASF funds for the same area.  Moreover, the Commission should consider subjecting any CAF recipient who waits until after January 1, 2020 to inform the Commission of its election not to complete its deployment commitments in a CAF area to a Rule 1.1 violation. Given the time necessary to plan and deploy a broadband network, if a recipient has not begun deployment or made significant steps towards deployment with only 6 months remaining before the July 1, 2020 deadline, it can be inferred that the recipient had no intention of deploying broadband to that area and withheld such information from the Commission constituting misleading “the Commission or its staff by an artifice or false statement of fact or law.”[14]

For these reasons, GeoLinks strongly urges the Commission to develop rules that preclude CAF recipients from gaming the CASF program in their favor.

F. The Commission Should Allow an Additional CASF Application Submission Period Each Calendar Year

In its Proposal, Staff seeks input on timing for CASF submissions, asking the following:

  1. Should an additional CASF grant application opportunity be afforded following the July 31st ROFR completion dates, thereby permitting submission of applications every 180 days? How will this affect prioritization of projects?

GeoLinks supports an additional annual grant application opportunity for a number of reasons.  First, this bi-annual submission process will maximize efficient administration of the CASF program.  A new submission deadline every 6-months will help ensure that application review stays on track for expedited processing.  Paired with the new ministerial processes that Staff has proposed, CASF application review will become more streamlined and allow for the assessment of a second round of applications within a calendar year.

Second, the bi-annual application deadline will incentivize more service providers to participate in the CASF program, as they can plan their CASF application(s) to align better with pre-planned company expenditures or resource allocations.  For example, smaller companies may have finite network design and deployment resources to dedicate to large builds.  If those resources are tied up in a large project for the first half of the year but not the latter half of the year, a company may be precluded from applying for a CASF grant until the next annual deadline.  This could ultimately disincentivize the company to apply at all.   However, if a bi-annual application process was implemented, these broadband providers would have the flexibility to time a CASF application in a way that best aligns with their resource allocation plans.  As the Commission seeks to incentivize more participation in the CASF program, GeoLinks believes a second annual submission deadline would further this goal.

G. The Commission Should Implement Technology Neutral Scoring Criteria

In its Proposal, Staff recommends revising certain scoring criteria to give greater weight to projects in areas that are “low-income” or “high-priority.”[15]  GeoLinks supports this shift in scoring criteria as a way to incentivize projects geared towards these areas.  That said, GeoLinks asserts that staff should not assess points associated with pricing in the same way proposed in Section 1.7 of Appendix C, which places a $1,285 limit per household on fixed wireless project proposals but a whopping $15,650 limit (12x higher) per household for fiber-based projects for ministerial review, based solely on technology type.

GeoLinks urges the Commission to impose a review process that puts all providers on an equal footing to ensure competition amongst CASF applicants.  Specifically, GeoLinks asserts that the Commission must ensure an apples-to-apples comparison when evaluating CASF applications (the total price/ offering regardless of technology) and not an apples-to-fiber comparison that gives more expensive business models a leg up for no reason other than these projects have traditionally been more expensive in the past.  This will ensure that CASF projects costs stay low yet will translate to better use of funds and additional funds for additional projects.

III. CONCLUSION

Based on the foregoing, GeoLinks urges the Commission to adopt changes that ensure flexibility for competitive carriers, technology neutral administration of the program, incentives for participation, and prevent gaming of the program to block competition.

 

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Respectfully submitted,

 

/s/ Melissa Slawson

 

Melissa Slawson

General Counsel, V.P. of Government Affairs and Education

California Internet, L.P. dba GeoLinks

251 Camarillo Ranch Rd

Camarillo, CA 93012

 

April 16, 2018

[1] For more information about fixed-wireless technology and GeoLinks’ Clearfiber™ network, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8GvGOKCpnk
[2] Ruling, Appendix C, at 9-10.
[3] Id., at 13.
[4] Id., at 13
[5] See Id., at 14.
[6] Interim Opinion Implementing California Advanced Services Fund, Decision 07-12-054 (rel. December 20, 2007), at 8: “The CASF shall be administered on a technology neutral basis by the Commission.”  See also Id. At 28: “CASF funding proposals will be reviewed based upon how well they meet the criteria for selection as set forth below, and, where applicable, compared with any competing claims to match the deployment offer under superior terms. Such criteria should be evaluated on a competitively neutral basis.” (Emphasis added).
[7] Ruling at 6.
[8] See http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/uploadedFiles/CPUC_Public_Website/Content/Utilities_and_Industries/ Communications_-_Telecommunications_and_Broadband/ConsortiaPriorityAreas(1).xlsx (last visited April 12, 2018).
[9] Chapter 851, Statutes of 2017.
[10] Ruling, Appendix C, at 16.
[11] Connect America Fund, et al. Report and Order, Declaratory Ruling, Order, Memorandum Opinion and Order, Seventh Order on Reconsideration, and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, WC Docket No. 10-90 et al., FCC 14-54 (rel. June 10, 2014), at para. 60.
[12] Frontier notice “CAF II Census Blocks – Desert Shores” (Feb. 6, 2018).
[13] Frontier CASF Broadband Infrastructure Grant Application – Desert Shores (Feb. 7, 2018).
[14] Rule 1.1., Rules of Practice and Procedure.
[15] Ruling, Appendix C, at 18.
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GeoLinks Announces Vectus Acquisition and ClearFiber™ Network Expansion

GeoLinks Announces Vectus Acquisition and ClearFiber™ Network Expansion

California’s fastest growing telecom, GeoLinks, announces acquisition of wireless Internet provider Vectus.

GeoLinks is thrilled to officially announce its acquisition of Southern California fixed wireless broadband provider, Vectus. The acquisition includes an outright procurement of the ISP’s robust fixed wireless network, key staff, and existing customer base ultimately expanding GeoLinks’ existing ClearFiber™ network and coverage map.

Founded by seasoned industry professionals in 2006, Vectus has become known as one of California’s leading providers of Ethernet over fixed wireless Internet services. Presently, the Vectus network offers dense coverage throughout Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties.

“With founding roots in Southern California, GeoLinks has been familiar with Vectus’s robust wireless network for quite some time,” said GeoLinks CEO Skyler Ditchfield. “When the opportunity to officially acquire Vectus came to the table, all parties knew immediately that merging networks would be seamless from an operations standpoint, and prove immensely beneficial to existing and future clientele. With contracts finalized, company migration will commence immediately, enabling GeoLinks to further expand its coverage map while simultaneously increasing our overall network capacity, redundancy, and ability to deliver higher bandwidth.”

President and CTO of Vectus, David Saylor, agreed with Ditchfield that the acquisition was a natural and strategic fit for both entities. “Post-acquisition, I have full confidence that all existing Vectus customers will continue to receive the same exceptional service they’ve become accustomed to. At our cores, GeoLinks and Vectus have synergistic beliefs—always put the customer first. By combining assets, all current and future customers will now have access to an even more resilient and redundant wireless network. Skyler and GeoLinks are highly respected leaders and innovators in the world of telecom, and I speak on behalf of the entire Vectus team when I say that we’re extremely pleased to be combining forces and joining their efforts.”

Both Vectus and GeoLinks’ existing clients will encounter no disruptions of service during the network transition. GeoLinks looks forward to announcing further details on increased network offerings in the upcoming months.

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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 Hosted Voice solutions. Named the Fastest Growing WISP in America, GeoLinks delivers Enterprise-Grade Internet, Layer 2 Transport, Hosted Voice, 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 2018 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.

Recognized as a thought-leader in closing the digital divide, GeoLinks proudly sits on an array of national boards, coalitions, and working groups including the Schools, Healthcare & Libraries Broadband (SHLB) Coalition, the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA), the Broadband Consortium of the Pacific Coast (BCPC), and the FCC’s Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee’s (BDAC) Streamlining Federal Siting Working Group.In 2018 GeoLinks was awarded the Corporate Partnership Award by the Corporation For Education Network Initiatives In California (CENIC) for serving the research and education community in California.

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CENIC Recognizes Corporate Partner GeoLinks for Serving the Research and Education Community in California

CENIC Recognizes Corporate Partner GeoLinks for Serving the Research and Education Community in California

LA MIRADA, Calif. & BERKELEY, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–CENIC is recognizing GeoLinks, headed by CEO Skyler Ditchfield, with the CENIC 2018 Innovations in Networking Award for Corporate Partnership.

Thanks to the commitment of Ditchfield’s team and their understanding of the importance of high-speed broadband for California research and education communities, and their strategy for reaching those with limited or no broadband access due to remote locations and challenging terrain, CENIC and GeoLinks have been able to move forward on numerous initiatives in support of these underserved communities.

Dozens of projects have been completed, are in progress, or are anticipated that will serve K-12 schools, the University of California’s Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) research sites, and public libraries throughout the state. Previously, a number of these sites were served at speeds of 1.5 Mbps or less. Most now have 50 to 100 times greater speeds as a result of these efforts.

CENIC President and CEO Louis Fox stated, “GeoLinks has become an important ally in our efforts to address broadband-access inequities in California. Together we are hard at work on public policy initiatives that, we hope, will bring more resources to California, and thereby bring the benefits of advanced networking to all Californians at their community anchor institutions – schools, libraries, health care, and research sites. CENIC looks forward to a long collaboration with Skyler and his team to ensure that California remains at the global forefront of innovation in research and education networking.”

Fox added, “As CENIC has historically focused on fiber-network deployments, I was skeptical at first about using fixed wireless, but GeoLinks has demonstrated that they can deliver gigabit speeds with symmetrical services to remote sites that have no access to fiber-optic networks. Even with the significant special construction necessary, they have delivered these services within 9 to 12 months, which is remarkable.”

GeoLinks’ fixed wireless network, ClearFiber™, uses carrier-grade equipment and provides telecom-grade broadband service with the same latency and jitter as fiber. GeoLinks is able to build solar- and wind-powered telecommunications facilities off the grid, resulting in rapid network deployment in a fraction of the time and for a fraction of the cost of fiber. ClearFiber uses FCC-licensed spectrum with redundancy at every level of hardware deployment.

“We analyze 50 years of regional weather patterns to determine the proper type of antenna, radio frequency output, and broadcast distance to ensure we receive 99.999% uptime on all of our links,” further explained GeoLinks CEO Skyler Ditchfield. “We also use this data to determine how much solar energy is needed for each individual site. As a standard, we engineer our sites to run for 25 days without sunlight to safeguard against extreme weather events. Furthermore, we also build in redundancy at every level, from our power equipment, to our routers, switches, and radios. We are also currently in the early stages of experimenting with wind energy. While solar power is typically low during storms, wind is high on mountain tops and can thus reduce the need for solar panel and battery load, ultimately reducing overall deployment costs.”

Recognized as thought-leaders in closing the digital divide, the GeoLinks leadership team proudly serves on an array of national boards, coalitions, and working groups including the Schools, Healthcare and Libraries Broadband (SHLB) Coalition, the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA), the Broadband Consortium of the Pacific Coast (BCPC), and the FCC’s Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee’s (BDAC) Streamlining Federal Siting Working Group.

The CENIC Innovations in Networking Awards are presented each year at CENIC’s annual conference to highlight exemplary innovations that leverage ultra-high bandwidth networking, particularly where those innovations have the potential to transform how education and research are conducted or where they further the deployment of broadband in underserved areas. The CENIC conference will be held March 5 – 7, 2018, in Monterey, California.

About CENIC • www.cenic.org

CENIC connects California to the world — advancing education and research statewide by providing the world-class network essential for innovation, collaboration, and economic growth. This nonprofit organization operates the California Research and Education Network (CalREN), a high-capacity network designed to meet the unique requirements of over 20 million users, including the vast majority of K-20 students together with educators, researchers, and individuals at other vital public-serving institutions. CENIC’s Charter Associates are part of the world’s largest education system; they include the California K-12 system, California Community Colleges, the California State University system, California’s public libraries, the University of California system, Stanford, Caltech, the Naval Postgraduate School, and USC. CENIC also provides connectivity to leading-edge institutions and industry research organizations around the world, serving the public as a catalyst for a vibrant California.

 

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GeoLinks Re-Building Burned CA Tower Sites

GeoLinks Re-Building Burned CA Tower Sites

California-based GeoLinks is working to replace towers burned in the wildfires. That’s key, as the latest news indicates the return of powerful winds is making the Thomas fire dangerous again.

GeoLinks is based in Camarillo, which is in Ventura County. The company has hundreds of telecom towers in Ventura, Santa Barbara and Los Angeles Counties. GeoLinks personnel battle flames as they work to rebuild burned down sites and restore service, according to Marketing Director Lexie Olson. “Driving through Ventura was pretty surreal, lots of smoke and multiple fires visible from the street,” she wrote in a blog post, sharing the personal account of a GeoLink infrastructure technician.

“Driving up to the actual tower was disheartening at first, just because of how much was burned; one of the posts holding up the gate was completely destroyed, leaving the gate lying on the ground. It was there we first noticed a fence post smoking…but we continued on,” according to the account.

The crew got the destroyed site back up in a couple of hours but as they began their trek down the mountain, they noticed the fence post they saw smoking on their way up the mountain grew “to multiple en-flamed posts, threatening the surrounding area. We immediately turned around, went back to the tower site where we had stored a fire extinguisher, and returned to put out the fires. It was a real-life example of how quickly these fires can spread,” according to the infrastructure technician.

The GeoLinks team, some of whom lost their homes, repaired 12 destroyed sites throughout Ventura and Ojai as of December 14, accounting for more than 500 square miles of coverage area. They continue this work today.

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How GeoLinks’ Flagship Product ClearFiber™ is Closing the Rural Broadband Gap AND Connecting Urban America

How GeoLinks’ Flagship Product ClearFiber™ is Closing the Rural Broadband Gap AND Connecting Urban America

Every Fall communication industry executives from around the world travel to Silicon Valley to attend the Telecom Councils’ TC3 Summit—a 2-day, working summit where companies who build communications networks come to discover innovation. This year’s title sponsor was GeoLinks, a leading telecommunications company and competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC) public utility, nationally recognized for its innovative Internet and Hosted Voice solutions.

With the topic of “connectivity” taking precedence on this year’s agenda, GeoLinks’ CEO Skyler Ditchfieldtook to the main stage on day 1 in an address titled “Closing the Rural Broadband Gap.” Beginning by providing an overview of GeoLinks’ success in deploying high-speed broadband to businesses and anchor institutions nation-wide, Ditchfield discussed how closing the digital divide will ultimately require implementing a hybrid network that utilizes fixed wireless to deliver the last mile.

Audience members were particularly intrigued with Ditchfield’s innovative case studies surrounding GeoLinks’ fixed wireless product ClearFiber™, many declaring GeoLinks to be “the most impressive start-up to present at the summit.” Operating 100% in-house, Ditchfield explained how ClearFiber™ can deploy rapidly and produce low-latency, gigabit plus speeds at a fraction of the cost of fiber.

However, summit attendees also learned that GeoLinks is doing much more than just connecting rural communities with high-speed broadband. The telecom also has a growing footprint in the urban and sub-urban landscapes, giving larger carriers a true run for their money.

“It’s time for the public to know that there is another realistic option in the market apart from the big 4 carriers,” expressed Ditchfield. “GeoLinks provides enterprise-grade Internet and Hosted Voice solutions backed by round-the-clock, U.S. based customer support and an industry leading Service Level Agreement. In-house we have coined this ‘The GeoLinks Difference’—it’s our golden rule to treat you like we want to be treated. That, paired with our exceptional products and service offerings, has quickly led us to become the fifth fastest growing privately-owned telecom in America.”

Following his address at the summit, RCR Wireless Editor, Sean Kinney, sat down with Ditchfield to dig even deeper into all that GeoLinks has done, is doing, and plans to accomplish in the very near future in both the rural, urban and sub-urban landscapes. You can view the entire interview by tuning in to the below video.

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GeoLinks using Silicon Valley-style office to attract employees

GeoLinks using Silicon Valley-style office to attract employees

Read Article Online by following the above link.

GeoLinks co-founders Skyler Ditchfield, left, and Ryan Adams in the lobby of the company’s new [Silicon Valley-style] headquarters in Camarillo.

 

Ventura County telecommunications company GeoLinks hopes to lure tech talent to Camarillo with a new Silicon Valley-style office, tripling its workforce after doubling its revenue two years in a row.

The company inherited the 38,000-square-foot space — tricked out with an onsite gym, pool tables, a jukebox and arcade games by previous owner Zindagi Games — and added a kitchen stocked with healthy breakfast, lunch and snack options in the hope of filling it with around 100 additional staff.

Rebranded in June from its former name, California International, the internet service provider was “bursting at the seams” prior to the move, said CEO and co-founder Skyler Ditchfield.

“Once people kind of find out what we’re doing here behind the scenes and meet with us and speak with us, the facility kind of sells itself,” said President and co-founder Ryan Adams. “Our big focus is on our clients but also the culture. We want people when they walk through these doors not only to feel appreciated but to want to come in every single day.”

GeoLinks debuted at No. 6 on the Pacific Coast Business Times 50 Fastest -Growing Companies list in 2017, reporting prior year revenues of $8.8 million. It also ranked No. 640 on this year’s Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing companies.

The company has a few initiatives in the works to connect to local universities, as well as employing several graduates from Thomas Aquinas College, but “we’ll take talent, wherever it’s from,” Adams said, from project management, communications and sales employees, to more technical applicants.

Launched to serve rural broadband customers around Ojai, the company got its first real break in 2013 with the Lake Sherwood development contract south of Thousand Oaks. From there, it moved toward business-to-business services in the Greater Los Angeles market before launching its wholesale business selling to other ISPs, now around a third of its revenue.

By offering fixed wireless, rather than fiber or satellite, the company has also picked up state contracts for schools, hospitals and libraries in remote areas of California and other states. Since government grants from programs like the Internet for All Act and the Connect America Fund help cover upfront costs of installation, it joined a Federal Communications Commission advisory committee working group and the Schools, Health & Library Broadband Coalition to advocate for additional resources, including the use of “white spaces” frequencies proposed by Microsoft.

“We’re helping shape policy for how to expedite procurement of federal lands for internet services, and we’re pushing other agendas in terms of getting more spectrum freed up,” Ditchfield said. “Right now all the wireless spectrum is owned by all the cell operators. They have an abundance of it, but they’re hoarding it, and we really need that freed up to be able to connect these rural areas and low income houses.”

If company revenues and federal programs continue to grow, GeoLinks might look to open additional satellite locations for rapid deployment, like the one it already has in Santa Fe Springs serving Los Angeles customers. But the two Ojai-native founders said they would never want to uproot.

“Nothing beats Ventura County,” Adams said. “It doesn’t matter how many homes we worked that week, or if we worked over the weekend, there’s a certain energy in this building, and it’s contagious. I don’t feel like this is a job, even though there’s a lot of work that happens, to be a part of something that’s growing like this.”

The company brought on a director of corporate wellness and culture to help handle the transition from a 50-person operation to a much larger one, as well as adding fitness and nutrition programs.

Teambuilding through group activities, basketball games and yoga classes help introduce people to the leadership team, promote interdepartmental communication and enable regular wellness checks.

But it remains to be seen if the Silicon Valley approach will help it find the right talent.

Companies have to make sure they’re not focusing too much on the “soft perks” over things like time off, workplace flexibility, salary and stock options, said Maria Ballesteros-Sola, assistant professor of management at CSU Channel Islands.

“Perks come down to the underlying culture, and not the other way around,” she said, but added that “big conversations and big ideas can be generated at the water cooler and the conference room. If you have the foosball table, and people start playing to disconnect and re-energize, they might have the conversation to solve a problem or a new project.”

Early on, competitive salaries were tough to match, and raises to retain workers stretched the budget, Ditchfield said. But with the continued growth, the company has not only brought up salaries, but invested in sustainability initiatives like solar and wind at its relay stations, as well as considering onsite childcare options.

“One thing we talk about internally here is ‘what is our living wage?” Ditchfield said. “We don’t want to ever be paying anyone a level of pay that they’re suffering with. We want to get to a point where we have a minimum threshold of salary that we hire people on, and if there’s a job below that, we either need to automate it or consolidate it.”

And if there’s anywhere to promote work-life balance, Ballesteros-Sola said, it’s the Central Coast.

“It’s just imperative for us to do this organically to where we came from,” Ditchfield said.

• Contact Marissa Nall at [email protected]

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7 Ways to Improve Workplace Productivity Using Technology

7 Ways to Improve Workplace Productivity Using Technology

“How to improve workplace productivity,” is a highly searched term these days. While results may reveal answers ranging from Encourage More Breaks to Limit Meetings…the reality is, every work place is different. In fact, every employee is different. What behavioral strategy or method may work on one team member, may not on the next. So, how do we come to a universal solution on the impending dilemma of elevating workplace productivity? In truth, there may not be just one answer. We suggest, however, a wise place to start is by equipping staff with the most useful and adaptable performance tools and systems available on the market. Below we have outlined 7 Ways to Improve Workplace Productivity Using Technology.

1. Ensure Your Workplace Has a RELIABLE, HIGH-SPEED, and DEDICATED Internet Connection

In today’s competitive marketplace, having high-speed, reliable Internet is paramount to a company’s internal productivity. Fact: In a world reliant on Internet, digital downtime can cost a company upwards of $100,000 per minute.

So, what causes downtime, and how can we avoid it?

Work in a developing area? Construction may disrupt your connection. Does your community ever experience high winds, rain or snowfall? Weather can disconnect your service for hours or days on end. Operate in a shared office space or building? Your Internet speed may be inconsistent and unpredictable simply because everyone is sharing the same fiber optic line.

Enter: Fixed Wireless.

Simply put, fixed wireless provides high speed broadband Internet access to a single location via radio waves. By utilizing antennas, towers, and an express line of sight (LoS) to transmit point-to-point signals, fixed wireless technology eliminates the need for costly terrestrial fiber, satellite feeds or cable lines. Unaffected by weather, fixed wireless provides businesses with a dedicated connection that boasts faster uptime, ultra-low latency, and higher bandwidth.

2. Utilize Group Chats (We Suggest Google Hangouts)

In short, Google Hangouts is today’s modern instant messaging platform. Allowing up to 15 people in a single chat, Google Hangouts eliminates timely back and forth email chains or those “long walks across the office”. Questions can be asked and answered instantaneously and “losing” or “not seeing” an email is no longer an excuse. Accessible via desktop or mobile, group chats can even be named by department to further encourage organized and efficient communication streams.

3. Use Smartsheets to Track To-Do Lists and Monitor Deadlines

Smartsheets is a software as a service (SaaS) application designed for collaboration and work management. It allows users to assign tasks, track project progress, set priority deadlines, manage calendars, and share documents. With a spreadsheet-like user interface, managers are able to easily remind employees of approaching deadlines, ultimately driving employees to stay on-task and complete projects in a timely manner.

4. Switch to Hosted Voice—Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP)

By utilizing your broadband Internet connection to power your phone services, Hosted Voice, or Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP), offers businesses a simple solution to significantly cut down overall communication costs, improve and expand interaction between employees and customers, and ensure a more reliable quality of service.

Popular features include:

Fax-to-email
Follow Me
Voice-to-email
Conference Bridge
Toll-Free Numbers
Unified Communications
…and more!
Ultimately, Hosted Voice equips employees with advanced communication tools that allow work to follow them inside and outside of the office.

5. Host Sharable Company Files in Dropbox

Employees need trustworthy and timely access to up-to-date company files in order to remain informed and successful. Instead of connecting to VPNs or searching through emails, employees using Dropbox can quickly access team data from almost anywhere. These reliable file transfers allow field employees to manage entire projects from the field.

6. Take Evernotes

Per its slogan, “Capture, organize, and share notes from anywhere. Your best ideas are always with you and always in sync,” Evernote allows users to easily create an endless number of notebooks from the palm of their hand. But this isn’t just any regular *hold on let me flip through a million pages to find what I’m looking for* notebook. With Evernote, users can quickly jot down ideas and notes via text, voice memos, real time photos or web clips. With added tag and category features, users can catalog notes for quick and easy access via search. It’s productive notetaking re-invented!

7. Systemize Workflow Integration through HubSpot

Successful marketing automation relies on triggering relevant and timely actions based on a customer’s response. HubSpot has developed a “Workflow” system that allows businesses to effectively and efficiently scale both sales and marketing efforts.

So, what’s a workflow? A workflow is an automated set of marketing actions that are executed based on pre-specified conditions. For example, a workflow action could be sending out a follow-up email with your promised offer when a contact fills out certain forms. These programmable and automated “outlines” of what to do and when to do it, keep employees on task and producing results as efficiently as possible.

 

“I’m most grounded on the role of technology. Ultimately to me it’s about the human capital and the human potential and technology empowers humans to do great things. You have to be optimistic about what technology can do in the hands of humans.” — Satya Nadella, Chief Executive Officer, Microsoft Corporation, USA

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