DRN Network Connections Newsletter Q1 2022

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NETWORK CONNECTIONS Quarter 1 | 2022

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Making A Difference in our communities Page 7:

Scholarship Opportunities Page 11:

Streaming Made Simple


A letter from our

General Manager/CEO Kent Schimke Happy New Year! The year 2021 seemed to speed by, but not at a pace to outrun your Cooperative. At DRN, our focus on Making a Difference in Our Communities, is more than a saying, it is part of who we are as a cooperative. The cooperative difference is lived out in our staff volunteer efforts, through DRN donations to non-profit organizations and by offering the best broadband services available to members. Major highlights during 2021 at DRN were: • Deploying 10 Gig Internet service to stay ahead of the bandwidth demands for consumers. • Offering new broadband with synchronous speed tiers. Many companies only provide adequate download speeds, but with members working and learning remotely more than ever, upload speeds are equally important. • Paying out over $3 million in capital credits. • Improvements to the infrastructure by upgrading fiber between Nelvik and Kulm for added network diversity protecting our broadband network from outages and improving reliability. The year ended on a sad note with the loss of longtime Board Director Brunno Kinzler of Fullerton. We thank Brunno and his family for all the years of service and his great input when the Board made impactful decisions aiding in the success and accomplishments of the Cooperative. In 2022, DRN will continue investments in our 100% fiber optic network to increase speeds and security. Approximately 20 miles of fiber will be placed for phase one of a 2-year project between Lisbon and Milnor, this upgrade will increase our broadband network diversity with more reliability. TV rates will increase $9/month for the Ultimate Family Pak subscribers due to increased programming. We simply pass on these costs. As TV programming costs rise, members are choosing to cancel TV service and subscribe to Internet only to stream TV.

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The average Over-the-Top video subscriptions has grown 36% from the first quarter 2020 to the first quarter of 2021. See page 11 for more information about video streaming. With an emphasis on network reliability, we continue to monitor and improve our network ensuring it is operating at peak efficiencies and performance. We recognize the importance of a strong and stable network. The impacts of bandwidth growth from the COVID-19 pandemic have increased this ten-fold. In the beginning of the pandemic, network usage spiked with online learning and remote work. According to research, remote work may be here to stay with 34% of U.S. Internet households continuing to work remotely. ReadiTech Fiber, our cooperative’s subsidiary, continues to deploy Internet services in the cities of Casselton, Mapleton, and Horace. When spring’s warm weather arrives, construction and deployment crews will be back at work in Horace and Mapleton. Hopefully, the global supply chain improves so fiber expansion can continue at a normal pace. As we plan for the new year, 2022 will bring new challenges and new opportunities. My team and I are looking forward to providing you with the best telecommunications products and services in 2022 and in the future. Best wishes for a safe, healthy, and prosperous new year!

Kent Schimke


Making A Difference

in our communities

DRN, a member-owned cooperative, began offering telephone service to rural southeastern North Dakota in 1950. For over 70 years, DRN continues supporting local community organizations and living out its committment to operate under the seven cooperative principles that are integral to our success.

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COOPERATIVE PRINCIPLES

1. OPEN AND VOLUNTARY MEMBERSHIP

Cooperatives are voluntary organizations, open to all persons able to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without gender, social, racial, political, or religious discrimination.

2. DEMOCRATIC MEMBER CONTROL Cooperatives are democratic organizations

controlled by their members (those who buy the goods or use the services of the cooperative); who actively participate in setting policies and making decisions. Members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote).

3. MEMBERS’ ECONOMIC PARTICIPATION Members contribute equally to and democratically

control, the capital of the cooperative. This benefits members in proportion to the business they conduct with the cooperative rather than on the capital invested.

4. AUTONOMY AND INDEPENDENCE Cooperatives are autonomous, self-help

In 2022, DRN continues to focus on Making A Difference in Our Communities. Throughout the year we will highlight how your cooperative is fulfilling our commitment to adhere to these principles today, and into the future.

organizations controlled by their members. If they enter into agreements with other organizations, including governments, or raise capital from external sources, they do so on terms that ensure democratic control by their members and maintain their cooperative autonomy.

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OPEN AND VOLUNTARY MEMBERSHIP AT DRN

In 1950 the founding members of DRN gathered with the common goal to provide telephone service to our rural area where large companies were unwilling to invest due to the high cost of doing business. DRN’s original members succeeded and Dickey Rural Telephone Cooperative became the first Rural Electrification Administration funded telephone cooperative in North Dakota. Today, DRN continues to be a voluntary organization, open to all in our area to use our services and are willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without gender, social, racial, political, or religious discrimination.

Cooperative principles continued on page 5.

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DRN Board President Ralp Neu calls the 2021 annual meeting to order held at the Ellendale Public School on October 21.

2021 ANNUAL MEETING HIGHLIGHTS Arden Falk, Fort Ransom; Sid Meidinger, Fredonia and Dan Girard, of Ellendale were re-elected to the Dickey Rural Telephone Cooperative (DRN) Board of Directors at the annual meeting held on Oct. 21 at Ellendale Public School. As a telecommunications cooperative focused on creating strong, connected rural communities through innovative technologies, DRN’s 71st Annual Meeting theme was ‘Building for the Future.’ Board President Ralph Neu and Kent Schimke, DRN CEO/general manager updated approximately 170 voting members and 130 guests who attended the meeting on the financial health of the cooperative. At the meeting, Schimke and Neu shared net margins for 2020 were $9 million. They reported the cooperative returned over $3 million in capital credits to approximately 8,500 members in 2020. Neu said, “As we look to building the future, DRN continues to focus on furnishing high-quality communications to consumers at competitive prices to ensure long-term viability for the cooperative.” DRN has nine board of directors who are responsible to maintain the cooperative principles and represent their respective district of the cooperative.

In Memory of Brunno Kinzler On behalf of the entire DRN family and Board of Directors, we are deeply saddened by the loss of Brunno Kinzler, DRN District 9 Director. Brunno served on the DRN Board of Directors for over 35 years. Major milestones during his time on the board include acquisitions of US West and Citizen’s Communications properties; completion of DRN’s 100% fiber-to-the-home project; and most recently the expansion of our footprint and Internet services to the cities of Casselton, Horace and Mapleton. Our sympathies go out to his wife Debra, the Kinzler family, and friends of Brunno.

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Making A Difference 7

in our communities

COOPERATIVE PRINCIPLES

5. EDUCATION, TRAINING, & INFORMATION

Cooperatives provide education and training for their members, directors, managers and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their cooperatives. They inform the general public, particularly young people and opinion leaders, about the nature and benefits of cooperatives.

6. COOPERATION AMONG COOPERATIVES

Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.

7. CONCERN FOR COMMUNITY While focusing on member needs, cooperatives

work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies accepted by their members.

Continued from page 3.

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DRN’S CONCERN FOR COMMUNITY

DRN Board of Directors and staff are proud to give back to the communities where we live and work. From DRN’s annual college scholarship program and summer internship opportunities for youth, to supporting non-profit community programs with monetary donations and staff volunteer hours, DRN continues to support our local communities just like the cooperative did since its beginning.

IT PAYS TO BE A MEMBER DRN Members Received $3.5 Million in Capital Credits in December DRN Board of Directors recently approved a $3.5 million payout in capital credits in 2021 to members. On average, DRN returned $390 per account in December. Credits less than $200 showed as a credit on members’ accounts. Over 8,700 members received capital credits retired from the remainder of 2008, 15% from 2010 and 13% for 2020.

NOW HIRING SUMMER INTERNS DRN is now accepting applications for accounting, IT, and marketing summer internships! Deadline to apply is Feb. 4, 2022. For more information, job descriptions and to to apply online: visit: drtel.com/careers. 5


DRN GIVES BACK CITY OF BERLIN RECEIVES $1,000 GRANT

L to R: City of Berlin’s Auditor Maureen Ellingson and Dorothy Banderet, City Council member accept the RDFC grant from DRN.

DRN is a member of the Rural Development Finance Corporation (RDFC) giving community organizations in the DRN service area an opportunity to apply for a grant of up to $2,000 for community-based projects. RDFC recently awarded a $1,000 grant to the City of Berlin for its community center. The grant funds will be used towards the installation of water and wiring in the Berlin Community Center where meetings and other gatherings are held, and the local fire trucks are housed.

DRN DONATES TO ELM LAKE ASSOCIATION AND ELLENDALE FIRE DISTRICT As part of our commitment to making a difference in our communities, DRN recently donated to the Elm Lake Association and the Ellendale Fire District to help prevent and eradicate fires. The Elm Lake Association is a non-profit organization devoted to the future of Elm Lake and the surrounding area. DRN donated to the Association’s fundraising efforts to purchase land and build a structure to house a water apparatus and water storage in case of a fire at Elm Lake. The goal of the fire protection project is to help local residents reduce fire damage until the fire department arrives.

L to R: DRN’s JoDel Henningsen, presents the donation to Lorri Kingzett who accepts on behalf of the Elm Lake Association.

The Ellendale Fire District is a volunteer fire department serving the towns of Ellendale, Monango and the surrounding area. DRN’s recent donation will go towards prizes for the Fire District’s Annual Chili Cookoff and Raffle event on Jan. 8, 7 p.m. at the American Legion in Ellendale. For more information about the Ellendale Fire District’s special event or to purchase tickets go to ellendalefire.org. L to R: Ellendale Fire District’s Nolan Hamar accepts the donation from JoDel Henningsen of DRN.

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2022 SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM Attention students—earn money for college! DRN is passionate about supporting area youth and is proud to announce it will continue its Scholarship Program in 2022 and participate in the Foundation for Rural Services (FRS) Scholarship. Students will need to complete both online applications separately. High school seniors are eligible if they attend a high school in one of the Cooperative exchanges and/or their parents or guardians are DRN subscribers. Applicants also must plan to attend an accredited college, university or vocational school and indicate an interest in returning to a rural community following graduation to further their career. Students meeting these criteria are encouraged to apply. DRN will also award a scholarship to a student attending the Southeast Regional Career & Technology Center and to a student majoring in business administration at Trinity Bible College (TBC).

APPLICATION DEADLINE IS FEBRUARY 28, 2022. For more details and to apply online visit: drtel.com/scholarship

CONGRATULATIONS CALENDAR WINNERS DRN subscribers submitted their photos of living, working, and playing in our beautiful state of North Dakota for the 2022 calendar photo contest. Winners were selected and customers received their calendars in December. Additional 2022 calendars are available for your shop, lake cabin or office. Simply email marketing@drtel.com to request additional calendars with your name, mailing address and number of calendars requested. Thank you to all who took time to submit photos for this year’s calendar contest.

CONGRATULATIONS TO THESE CALENDAR PHOTO CONTEST WINNERS! Angie Waletzko Anita Cornell Annie Elhard Cindy Ptacek Corrine Glynn Daphne Kinzler

Daryl Erickson Davy Hokana Heidi Scharuer Joanna Trapp Katherine Plessner Kathy Mahler

Kayla Mauher Leah Meisch Marie Vogel Paula Larson Randa Gemar Rosalin Schlosser

Sandee Lunneborg Susan Kusler Tammy Feiken

Need another calendar? Please email marketing@ drtel.com to request additional calendars.

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CYBER SECURITY MULTI-FACTOR AUTHENTICATION

P

rotecting your computer and home network isn’t a one-time event. It’s an ongoing process that evolves as online security threats change.

Using multi-factor authentication (MFA) is one way to take a proactive role in protecting your online identity. Multi-factor authentication adds another layer of security protection requiring both a password and another form of information to log in including a call, email, or text containing a code.

What is Multi-Factor Authentication? Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is defined as a security process that requires more than one method of authentication from independent sources to verify the user’s identity. In other words, a person wishing to use the system is given access only after providing two or more pieces of information which uniquely identifies that person. Multi-Factor Authentication typically uses a combination of authentication factors: Something You Know • Password/Passphrase • PIN Number Something You Are • Fingerprint • Facial Recognition Something You Have • Security Token or App • Verification Code from Text, Call or Email

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In order to gain access, your credentials must come from at least two different categories or factors. One of the most common methods is to login using your username and password. Then a unique one-time code will be generated and sent to your phone or email, which you would then enter within the allotted amount of time. This unique code is the second factor. What’s the Difference between MFA and Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)? MFA is often used interchangeably with two-factor authentication (2FA). 2FA is basically a subset of MFA since 2FA restricts the number of factors that are required to only two factors, while MFA can be two or more. Cybercriminals work diligently to steal your information. An effective and enforced MFA strategy is your first line of defense against them. The extra moment of security it takes log in with multi-factor authentication, is a step in creating an effective data security plan to save you both time and money in the future. By using multi-factor authentication, you can protect these accounts and reduce the risk of online fraud and identify theft.


All Internet Users Need Cybersecurity Awareness As more activity is done online, ReadiTech, a DRN Company, recommends all business sectors, including farmers and those in agribusiness take proactive measures to protect their identity. According to Doug Jacobson and Ally Frickel, electrical and computer engineering specialists at Iowa State University, the farming sector is becoming a target by cybercriminals because of farming’s critical function of supplying the food people and animals need to survive. “These attackers kind of tend to roll from sector to sector and it seems like farming and ag is kind of the new sector,” said Jacobson, who is a university professor of electrical and computer engineering. “They are going after organizations they think have the capability to pay and the business model they feel requires them to pay.” Keeping Home and Business Safely Connected Mitigating risks by enabling multi-factor authentication on applications and websites is one way to reduce your online security threat. Another way is creating strong passwords. Tricks to remember them are to use a phrase coupled with numbers, such as “I like to watch western movies with my dog 84,” creating the password of: iltwwmd84.

Other Cybersecurity Tips Use Password Managers Consider purchasing a password keeper program like 1Password, KeePass or ReadiTech’s Keeper. A password manager allows you to use strong and complicated passwords without needing to remember several different passwords. These programs also keep passwords safe and secure in their digital vault using with two-factor authentication. Store Data on Backups Backups are like insurance for your data, by storing it remotely. If your network or computer are comprised, a backup helps prevent losing important data, files, and photos permanently. Carefully Read Email Phishing is still the top cause of data breaches and theft. Be on the lookout for requests and flashy click-bait content. Never Share Information You Don’t Feel Comfortable Sharing No legitimate organization will initiate contact and ask for your bank information, social security number or password.

Visit readitech.com for more technology tips and the latest news from our ReadiTech experts.

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ANNUAL NOTIFICATIONS Do Not Call Residential Notification

Federal Lifeline Assistance

To address consumer concerns about unwelcome telemarketing calls, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) established a national Do-Not-Call Registry. The registry applies to all telemarketers (with the exception of certain non-profit and political organizations) and covers both interstate and intrastate telemarketing calls. Commercial telemarketers are not allowed to call you if your number is listed on the registry.

For those who can’t afford communication services–Lifeline, a federal program, can help eligible people pay part of their phone or broadband bill.

Consumers may register their residential phone number, and wireless numbers, on the national Do-Not-Call Registry for free. To register by phone, call 1-888-382-1222. For TTY call 1-866-290-4236. You must call from the phone number you wish to register. Or, register online at donotcall.gov. Telemarketers have up to 31 days to get your phone number and remove it from their call lists.

Battery Backup Notification DRN reminds customers your telecommunications services are powered by electricity. If your main power source goes out, all fiber customers have a backup power supply box provided by DRN in your home, apartment complex, or office building.

Lifeline can save you at least $9.25 on your monthly phone bill for basic local telephone service or broadband. Lifeline assistance applies only to service in the home where you live. Who is eligible?* An individual is eligible if he or she participates in one of the following programs: • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) •

Medicaid

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Federal Public Housing Assistance

Veterans Pension or Survivors Pension

In addition, a consumer may be eligible if his or her household income is at or below 135% of the federal poverty guidelines.

To start your holiday planning. Does that include faster Internet?

The battery backup powers telephone service for approximately eight hours. This means the backup will provide eight hours of in use time or talk time. If the power is out for an extended period of time, telephone service will continue to work as long as the battery backup has not been depleted of its eight hours of in use time. During a power outage, Internet and television service disconnects immediately. In order to keep you and your family connected during an extended power outage, DRN suggests connecting your home or business to a backup generator or emergency backup battery. DRN offers a 24-hour extended battery for purchase. For details on buying an extended battery or any other questions regarding the battery backup, contact a customer care specialist at 344-5000.

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* Only eligible persons may apply. Only one discount is available per household. Lifeline is non-transferable.

How to obtain assistance: Offices that administer a program under which you are eligible for Lifeline may automatically send you an Assistance Certificate in the mail. Anyone wishing to participate in Lifeline is required to sign a form indicating, under oath, that they qualify to participate because they meet at least one of the program eligibility requirements. This must be signed and returned with a copy of your income or program eligibility. Apply Online: nationalverifier.servicenowservices. com/lifeline What if my benefits stop? If you no longer qualify for any economic program, you no longer qualify for Lifeline.


TV RATES INCREASE As a video provider, DRN is subject to annual programming fee increases from programmers and network channel owners. Because of these programming fee increases, effective March. 1, 2022, we will enact a $9 per month increase for those customers who subscribe to the Ultimate Family TV. For more information about these fees, please visit www.tvonmyside.com. Remember, WatchTVeverywhere is a free service that allows you to watch TV on various devices anywhere an Internet signal exists and is included with your video subscription from DRN.

SAVE MONEY ON TV ENTERTAINMENT WITH STREAMING!

Streaming Made Simple With all the streaming options available, it can be difficult to choose. Whether you are new to streaming or are an expert, each streaming service and device delivers a unique experience for viewers. Popular Streaming Services

Live TV with Original Content 60+ Channels & Movies & Orginal Content TV Shows

Original Content Movies & TV Shows

Original Content Movies & TV Shows

Live TV 70+ Channels

Popular Streaming Devices

Google Home Compatible

Amazon Alexa Compatible

Google Home & Amazon Alexa Compatible

Smart Home Compatibility Varies by Model

Live TV 99+ Channels

Budget Live TV 30+ Channels

This guide includes details about popular streaming platforms and devices. Other providers and devices are available. Consult provider and device websites directly. Informational use only. The streaming services and devices listed do not endorse DRN.

For the complete story and streaming guide visit: drtel.com/streaming-services-made-simple/

Congratulations Gordy! Thank you Gordy Van De Venter for over 25 years of dedicated service to DRN and our members.

Best wishes for a happy retirement!

NEW LISTINGS Edgeley 493 Jen Brodkorb........................493-2488 Helen Duden........................493-2814

LaMoure 883 Clark Ellis................................883-5722 Tru Esthetic & Wellness.....883-5881

Ellendale 349 Hope Houghton..................349-3801 Barbara Martin.....................349-2702

Lisbon 683 Liza Bettenhausen..............683-5586 Dennis & Doris Dykema...683-5044

Fort Ransom 973 Gery Myers............................973-2537

Marion 669 Tony Eidenschink................669-2526

Guelph 783 Roney Livestock LLC..........783-4354

Oakes 742 Highway 1 Service LLC.....742-6362 Joline Olson..........................742-6220

Gwinner 678 Ertelt Insurance Agency...678-2453

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This institution is an equal-opportunity provider and employer.

PO Box 69 Ellendale, ND 58436

Making A Difference in our communities

DRN’s cooperative difference is lived out in our staff volunteer efforts, through donations to non-profit organizations and by offering the best broadband services available to our members. Join us in 2022 as we celebrate our rural communities and the benefits of being a cooperative member!

Kent Schimke DRN GM & CEO