Red River Communications - Summer 2018 Newsletter

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Your local telecommunications provider


The Magic Behind Wi-Fi


Landline Questions Answered


Upcoming Customer Events


Summer 2018 Edition Volume 3, Issue 2 2

Red River Communications SUMMER 2018

The Red River Communications newsletter is published quarterly for our customers. It is distributed free-of-charge to our customers in North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS Dave Gauslow President District 1 - Abercrombie Ronald German Vice-President District 8 - Fairmount/Hankinson Gary Boutiette Secretary/Treasurer District 5 - Kent Wayne Schindler District 2 - Barnesville Rhonda Erbes District 3 - Colfax Harlan Deike District 4 - Great Bend Neil Klosterman District 6 - Mooreton Thomas Bjorndahl District 7 - Rollag Ione Eckre District 9 - Lidgerwood/Wyndmere COVER PHOTO Movie night in Abercrombie sponsored by Red River Communications. See page 11

From the

General Manager Jeff Olson General Manager/CEO With the return of warm summer breezes comes the reminder to be safe this summer. You know what I am talking about - protect yourself from insect bites, use sunscreen, stay hydrated ­- all the warnings we hear every summer. But there’s another threat you should protect yourself from – Cyber-Attacks! Cybersecurity isn’t just a concern for businesses and corporations. It should be a concern for all of us. And like insect repellent and sunscreen, a few simple measures greatly improve your protection.

SUGGESTIONS TO KEEP YOU CYBER SAFE USE STRONG PASSWORDS FOR ALL YOUR DEVICES AND ACCOUNTS This includes your computers, laptops, smart phones and tablets. You should also use strong, unique passwords for all your financial accounts, business accounts, health accounts, and any other online account that contains private information.

USE ANTIVIRUS SOFTWARE AND KEEP IT UPDATED Set up your devices to automatically perform security updates, and keep the apps you use updated.

BE CAUTIOUS WHEN USING PUBLIC WIFI NETWORKS Free, unsecured networks can be an open invitation for hackers.

BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU CLICK Avoid visiting unknown websites or downloading software from untrusted sources. These sites often host malware that will automatically, and often silently, compromise your computer. REDRIVERCOMM.COM

Red River Rural Telephone Assoc. 510 Broadway, PO Box 136 Abercrombie, ND 58001 701-553-8309 Produced by the staff of Red River Communications

By following these simple recommendations, you can greatly improve your chances of fending off a cyber-attack. Have a safe summer and don’t forget the sunscreen! Like your FiberFAST internet? Tell your friends! You’ll get $25 FOR EACH NEW SERVICE they take! Have them mention you during signup.


Red River Communications SUMMER 2018

A copper pedestal that will soon be removed in Abercrombie.

Our construction crew has been busy this spring, cleaning up damage from the winter. One of the problems that we have with our buried fiber optic cable is that gophers chew up the cables in the winter. The ground thaws of spring have left several areas that need to be fixed. In addition we are doing fiber optic installations to new homes and businesses. We also have new transport routes planned in the Great Bend, Mooreton, Wyndmere and Lidgerwood exchanges. We will be burying over 30 miles of new fiber optic cable. That work is planned for the fall. Work continues on our pedestal removal project. Our crews are working to remove the old copper pedestals (“peds”) that were once used to deliver service to your homes and businesses. Several thousand of these peds exist across our service area. We appreciate your patience as these are reclaimed. Please contact our office if you see a damaged ped that needs immediate attention. We ask that you please do not attempt to fix or remove these peds as they may still be used for service.

Construction Tip

Planting a tree or putting up a fence? Remember to contact North Dakota One Call or Gopher State One Call! There are several utility lines buried such as fiber optic, electric, gas or water... The first step to any project is safety! Damaging an underground facility can be costly and can cause injury or even death. Dial 811 to contact North Dakota One Call or Gopher State One Call and the utility line owners will be notified to locate their lines. It’s free, it’s simple, and it’s the law.

Mark your proposed construction area with white flags or paint. Call 811 at least 3 days before you dig. Locates are valid for 14 days in Minnesota and 21 days in North Dakota.


Have a safe summer from all of us on the Red River Communications plant operations team!



Got Wi-Fi? The Magic Behi Member Support Manager Dirk answers your most common Wi-Fi questions!

Red River Communications SUMMER 2018

Dirk Monson Member Support Manager Invisible beams of energy surround us nearly everywhere you go. These tiny, imperceptible particles are carrying everything from emails to Netflix. If this sounds like science fiction, it’s not. This is Wi-Fi. What Is Wi-Fi? Wi-Fi is the technology that transforms a traditional wired internet connection into a wireless connection. It allows devices like computers, smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, and other internet-enabled devices to connect to the internet wirelessly.

cordless phones that allow you to roam around everywhere in your home.


How Does it Work? A device called a Wi-Fi router Wi-Fi uses radio frequencies “transforms” the wired internet similar to a cordless phone. signal into a radio frequency Much like those phones, Wi-Fi (RF) signal that travels wirelessly. has a limited range. The further you are away from your wireless What’s the Difference router (that’s the device that Between Wi-Fi and Internet? makes Wi-Fi happen), the slower Wi-Fi is a method for connecting the speed will get until it stops to the internet primarily used working altogether. inside of a building. You still Obstructions like walls, floors, need an internet connection steel roofs, couches, fish tanks, (like our FiberFAST Internet) to toasters, fridges, and nearly connect to your Wi-Fi router so every other household item can that your devices have access. slow down your Wi-Fi speed. Whereas you once needed a Wi-Fi routers don’t last forever, cord from your computer to unfortunately. Technology our equipment to access the is constantly changing and internet, Wi-Fi makes it so that advancing, meaning the old connection is now wireless. router is left in the dust. Routers It’s similar to the difference are also susceptible to wearing between the old phones that out even though they have no had 50 foot cord and modern

moving parts. Routers are often in utility closets, basements, or other areas that aren’t generally friendly to off-the-shelf equipment. The less-than-ideal conditions can significantly shorten the lifespan of a router. A good rule of thumb is to expect about 3-4 years out of the average wireless router before it needs to be replaced. Why Don’t We Put Wi-Fi Everywhere? Wi-Fi has a very short range – usually only a couple hundred feet or less – before the signal becomes unusable. While Wi-Fi is a great solution for your home, it’d be impractical to cover the countryside with Wi-Fi. The signal just doesn’t travel over far enough distances. You might be wondering why, then, cell phones work (nearly) everywhere. Cellular technology

ind The Tech

I Think My Wi-Fi Is Slow. Now What? Good news: you have options! It seems as if a new gadget or solution comes on the market every day claiming to help people fix their poorly performing Wi-Fi. We’re a bit partial to our own FiberFAST WiFi service, which works with your FiberFAST Internet connection. We take care of everything from the initial setup to troubleshooting anything that might come with your Wi-Fi

Red River Communications SUMMER 2018

uses a different band of radio frequencies that travel further and use much higher powers. It’s kind of like the difference between AM radio (long distances) and FM radio (short distances).


connection. We call it the “set it and forget it” of Wi-Fi. Alternatively, many good routers are on the market today. The adage applies that you get what you pay for. Lower-quality routers can be had for as little as $30, but they do not offer the performance of more robust devices. We generally recommend customers look to spend around $200 and up for a quality wireless router. How Do I Get FiberFAST WiFi? All you have to do is call (or email) us to get connected. We’ve included a special offer below to get you up and running. Call 701-553-8309 or email membersupport@

Dirk Monson is our Member Support Manager. He helps make sure our customers have the best experience possible, from billing to fast internet. He lives in Galchutt and has been a Red River Communications customer for 5 years.

Stop the buffering suffering and let us take care of the Wi-Fi Magic! Just $6.95/month means your Wi-Fi woes are no more. We take care of everything! Mention this ad to get 50% off installation (regularly $99). OFFER CODE: WIFISUMMER


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Ring Ring: Anybody Home? The reason why you still have to have a phone line

Red River Communications SUMMER 2018

DIRK MONSON Member Support Manager One of the questions our team gets asked frequently is “do I have to keep my landline phone?” The answer isn’t quite as simple as yes or no. The area we call home has a lot of things going for it: wide open spaces, clear blue skies, and some of the most fertile farmland in the world. We’re proud that we can provide exceptional connectivity to our members whether they live in the city of Hankinson or on a farm near Barnesville. But such a fiber-optic network is expensive to build and maintain. How do we make it work? Enter the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) Universal Service Fund (USF).

monies are collected solely for the enhancement of telecommunications services throughout the country, especially rural areas.


A landline ensures that in the event of an emergency, responders can immediately find your address.

Capital Credits Patronage

Your landline service might mean a bigger check from your Cooperative. See page 8 for details!

History the Universal Service Fund (USF)

Why Does the USF Matter?

The Universal Service Fund was established as part of the Communications Act of 1934, the same legislation that created the FCC. It exists under the principle that all Americans should have access to communication services. That historically referred to voice (landline) service, but is evolving to include broadband internet access like our FiberFAST Internet service.

The USF provides financial support to rural providers like Red River Communications to build out our network to serve the customers within our defined territory. The FCC calls this territory our Incumbent Local Exchange Carrier (ILEC) area, but we call it home.

What Funds the USF? Telecommunications companies, big and small, contribute to the fund based on a portion of their revenue. It sounds like a tax, but in reality these

Because of the high cost to provide service to these areas when compared to their urban counterparts, the USF pitches in a portion of the cost. Of course, this is an overly simplified explanation as many different factors go into determining what areas get support and how much. So, Why Do I Need My Landline?


The support provided by the USF is based on landline service. Efforts are being made at the federal level to modernize this support to be based on broadband internet service. However, it is simply not feasible for our members to drop their landlines until such a change takes effect. We hope to be able to provide a broadband-only solution in the not so distant future. Please keep an eye out for future updates on this subject.

Locally Made: Locally Awesome


GP Headers of Barnesville is pushing automotive performance to the next level The business manufactures high-end, customized exhaust systems (including headers) primarily for high-performance sports cars.

The two founded GP Headers in 2014 to fill a need for high-performance exhaust components. The response has been so great, in fact, that they moved into their current spacious 5700 square foot facility in 2017 in order to keep up with growing demand.

Their services are popular for tuners and tinkerers who want the custom exhaust experience, but lack the fabrication facilities themselves to make it happen. GP Headers ships out a PVC mockup kit to customers that they can use to prototype

A part is assembled in a custom made jig.

their exhaust system. It’s then shipped back to Barnesville for engineering and production. The company also does production work for other companies offering “off-theshelf” performance exhaust components. The company employs four skilled technicians and ships around the world.

Red River Communications SUMMER 2018

For many, the sound of a sports car running at peak performance is truly beautiful. Zach Griffin and Kevin Pender would fall into that category.

19767 Hwy. 34 Barnesville 218-493-4251

GP Headers of Barnesville

QUICK FACTS YEAR FOUNDED: 2014 OWNERS: Zach Griffin and Kevin Pender EMPLOYEES: 4

An exhaust system sits in a custom jig waiting final assembly.


A piece is polished before final assembly.


Capital Credits

A Real Money Benefit for Doing Business With Your Cooperative Red River Communications SUMMER 2018

Did you know that the more you spend with Red River Communications the more you earn? It’s true! As a not-for-profit cooperative, our sole purpose is to provide our members with state-of-the-art telecommunications services (like TV, internet, cellular, and more) at a price as close to cost as possible. Some earnings are retained for future investments into our infrastructure used to provide services to our members. A cooperative does not earn profits in the sense that other businesses do. Instead, any margins, or revenues remaining after all expenses have been paid, are returned to the members in proportion to the usage of the co-op’s services through capital credits allocations and retirements. Let’s say that it costs $8 to provide a service to you and the retail price of that service is $10. That leaves a margin of $2. The margin is allocated to

your membership account as capital credits. Periodically, the member-elected Board of Directors will decide to make a capital credit retirement. That retirement is returned to you as a capital credits check. It’s like receiving a dividend from a company and as a member you share in the profitability of your Cooperative. That’s right, you are a part owner. Recent retirements have included a historical year and a portion of the previous service year. Capital credit retirements happen even if you no longer have service with Red River Communications. It’s important to keep your address updated if you move out of the area so that future checks can be sent to you. This continues until all allocated capital credits for your membership account have been paid out.

Download SmartHub Today! Did you know that you can use your smart phone or tablet to pay your bill anytime, anywhere? Get the free SmartHub from the app store. The app is free to use! As an added bonus, there are no transaction fees for payments made through our website or the app. Call 701-553-8309 or visit to enroll.

Moving? Let us Know! Boxes? Check! Moving truck? Check! But did you call Red River Communications?


If you plan on moving, give us a call! We can assist you in stopping your service. Plus it’s important to keep your address current so we can send you future capital credits checks. Keep us updated - don’t miss out on the benefits of your past membership!


Red River Communications SUMMER 2018

New Look. Faster Speeds. Lower Prices. From Dwight to Campbell and all points in between, we’re connecting farms, businesses, and family to the internet in Richland County, North Dakota and Clay & Wilkin Counties in Minnesota. Access to reliable high-speed internet is crucial in today’s world. Whether you use it for school, work, or play, you expect the internet to just work. Our customers have been asking us for faster speeds. We’ve listened and now we’re putting our plans into action. Upgrades are being completed across our network to deliver you a better internet experience.



Here. There. CONNECTED.

From top to bottom, we’re upgrading our network to deliver you speeds faster than ever before at prices lower than ever before.

In many cases, you’ve already seen a decrease in your monthly bill. Your service will automatically moved to a faster speed at your new price point. We’ll contact you once you’ve been moved to faster speeds!


Red River Communications SUMMER 2018

Common Cents For the Common Good

Common Cents is a nonprofit entity operated separately from Red River Communications. It awards funds to local non-profit and community organizations, as well as offering emergency assistance for local individuals. Funds are raised when cooperative customers choose to round up their monthly bill to the next dollar. A taxdeductible donation of less than one dollar per month is made to Common Cents.

Thanks to support from Red River Communications customers who round up their bills, the Common Cents board awarded $3,500 to local organizations this quarter. City of Campbell Improvement Committee $1,000 for playground equipment Aber Park, Museum & Pavilion $1,000 for gazebo roof and repairs Red River Quilters Quilts of Valor $500 for quilting materials CHI St. Francis Foundation $500 for sensory garden project

EXECUTIVE BOARD OF DIRECTORS Benae Freeberg (Colfax) Chairperson Elizabeth Thiele (Great Bend) Vice-Chair Andrea Haugen (Wyndmere) Secretary

One individual, medical need $500

Over $156,000 Donated since 2008

MN Co-Op Scholarship Award to Lewis

Bobbi Lewis, a 2018 graduate of Barnesville High School, has been selected to receive the $500 MN Co-op Scholarship from Red River Communications. This is the second year the company has offered this scholarship program to high school seniors. Scholarship funds will be dispersed through the Barnesville Education Scholarships for Tomorrow. Bobbi plans to attend Minnesota State University-Moorhead for a degree in speech pathology. She is the daughter of Judy and Tim Lewis of rural Baker, MN. REDRIVERCOMM.COM

In high school Bobbi was involved in 4-H, softball, basketball, volleyball, book club and NHS. “I was taught if you want something you have to work as hard as you possibly can for it,” she stated in her scholarship application. In awarding the scholarship, General Manager Jeff Olson said, “We’re happy to have this chance to make an investment in Bobbi to get a college education. Rural communities need educated and talented young people like her to be our leaders of the future.”




Red River Communications SUMMER 2018

CUSTOMER EVENTS SUMMER 2018 We’ve got a lot of fun events coming up this summer - from movie nights in the park to picnics. Stop out and see us this summer (and bring a friend)!

COLFAX - CITY POOL Free admission at the pool. First 20 people get a free Red River Communications beach towel. Ice cream treats served for all!

During regular pool hours JULY


ROLLAG - STEAMER HILL Pulled pork picnic dinner served up with sides and door prizes. Free for all members and their families.

Dinner served from 5pm - 7pm JULY



LIDGERWOOD - CITY POOL Free admission at the pool. First 20 people get a free Red River Communications beach towel. Ice cream treats served for all!

During regular pool hours

FAIRMOUNT - CITY PARK Free showing of The Lego Batman. Refreshments will be served. Bring a blanket or chair and enjoy!

Approximately at dusk



Free showing of Paddington 2. Refreshments will be served. Bring a blanket or chair and enjoy!

Approximately at dusk

Watch for more events in the mail and on Facebook!



PO Box 136 510 Broadway Abercrombie, ND 58001



493-4480 493-4533




242-7308 242-7086





Have an upcoming event, fundraiser, or community gathering that you or your non-profit organization want to advertise? Email with your event details and we’ll advertise it on Red River Digital TV - free of charge.

The National Do Not Call Registry gives you a choice about whether to receive telemarketing calls. The Registry accepts registrations from both cell phones and land lines.

To enroll: 1-888-382-1222




Monday-Friday 7:30am-4:30pm

Need assistance? We’re here 24/7 to help you!

Pay your bill without any added fees!

Closed Saturday and Sunday



Your local telecommunications provider

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