Red River Communications - Winter 2022 Newsletter

Page 1


Building the Nation’s Best Broadband Network, Together PAGE 3

New Broadband Packages


Tech Tips: Keeping Kids Safe


Company News



A Letter From the CEO Red River Communications Winter 2022

This winter has been brutal. I know as Midwesterners, we are not supposed to say that. But, multiple back-to-back blizzards even has this North Dakota boy wishing for warmer weather. While the world is still frozen outside, here at Red River Communications, we are thinking spring — spring construction season — that is. Our operations, sales, customer experience, marketing and finance departments are all making plans and counting the days until our construction crews can break ground again in Wahpeton and Breckenridge. In talking to many residents and businesses in the Twin Towns over the winter, they are excited about fiber internet's benefits.

Tom Steinolfson - CEO/GM Directors worked tirelessly to get a waiver to allow the FCC to review and correct the data. Finally, this month RRC secured a revised A-CAM II offer from the FCC that retroactively restores the lost funds.

We want to express our sincere gratitude to the Along with our ongoing projects, we have residents of rural Barnesville and Rollag and the been working on a USDA ReConnect3 Grant city of Barnesville for their over 700 letters of application for the last few months to support. These letters helped bring rural Hawley, rural enlist the help of Minnesota southeast Moorhead and Senators Smith and Klobuchar. rural Wahpeton/Dwight After working with fiber-to-the-home service. Special thanks to our ND & the Senators from both If we are successful in the MN Senators. It was their states, I can absolutely grant, we will immediately communication with the FCC begin the first steps in the that was the catalyst in having tell you they all have 5-year project. our situation reviewed and made broadband a top ultimately resolved. After Finally, it makes me priority. working with the Senators incredibly pleased to from both states, I can announce that, after a absolutely tell you they all long process, the Federal Communications have made broadband a top priority. Commission (FCC) has restored more than $13 million in funding under the Alternative With funding restored, we plan to repay loans Connect America Model II (A-CAM II) program. issued to install the fiber-to-the-home network in the Barnesville and Rollag areas. But, more If you are not aware of the issue, due to an importantly, we can now ensure broadband rates error in Form 477 data, RRC faced lost funding will stay affordable. due to incorrect data showing competitive fiber-to-the-home broadband coverage in the rural Barnesville and Rollag areas. As a result, - Tom Steinolfson RRC could not receive A-CAM II funds to the CEO, Red River Communications affected area, limiting broadband access for the region's residents and risking significantly increased rates for RRC's customers.




For three years, our staff and Board of

In 2021, internet providers like Comcast and Sparklight announced plans to expand their fiber networks and deliver gigabit speeds to rural communities across the country.

In 2021, internet providers like Comcast and Sparklight have announced plans to expand their While big, out-of-state broadband providers are making a big deal fiberto bring networks and deliverthegigabit about starting fiber to rural communities, members of the Broadband Association of North Dakota (BAND) have speeds toit was rural communities already done it. In fact, 18 years ago, in 2004, whenacross Red River Communications first started work to connect bring all the country. members fiber. For the Americans who are just now receiving access to fiber internet, this technology is life-changing—affording them fasterthan-ever connectivity to family, friends, and the world. But for thousands of rural North Dakotans, it’s old news.

LAYING THE GROUNDWORK FOR capacity fiber backbone. Today, locally-owned providers serve 97 percent of North Dakota’s geographic territory, INNOVATION offering internet speeds of at least 1 Gig in over 300 rural communities. We have laid over 40,000 miles of workthe to bring broadband to rural North Dakotans fiberThe across state,fiber connecting businesses, residents, andbegan schools with internet speeds timesof faster than Dakota in 1953, long before the 100 directors nine North the national average. telephone cooperatives could have imagined what the internet Collaboration the member organizations that would one between day become. make up DCN and BAND has laid the groundwork for innovation in our state and served as inspiration for rural Thoseacross originalthe members forces to expand high-quality, networks country.joined In 2021 alone, the member organizations that formservice BAND across and DCN haveDakota. made At the low-cost telephone North extraordinary strides to connect more North Dakotans time, most North Dakota residents still relied on party-line to fiber. service, in which wires were strung from pole to pole and In August, Polar Communications in Park River long distance calls were expensive. While the received $4 million from theprohibitively United States Department technology(USDA) that wetohave used to communicate of Agriculture continue expanding their has evolved broadband Walsh and Forksensure counties. over thenetwork past six in decades, our Grand mission—to the highest

Red River Communications Winter 2022

Building the Nation’s Best Broadband Network— Together

Thisquality fall, DRN celebrated the grand opening of their to all North communication technology is accessible Dakotans—has not wavered. In 1996, this commitment led 14 BAND member companies to form the Dakota Carrier Network (DCN), a high-speed, large-capacity fiber backbone. Today, locally-owned providers serve 97 percent of North Dakota’s geographic territory, offering internet speeds of at least 1 Gig in over 300 rural

communities. We have laid over 40,000 miles of fiber across Over the past 68 years, BAND theinvested Americans who are membersFor have millions of just now receiving access to fiber A group of telephonethe state, connecting businesses, residents, and schools with dollars, empowered another, is and internet, thisone technology life-changing—affording them internet speeds 100 times faster than the national average. embraced the tenacious work ethic cooperatives realized, faster-than-ever connectivity to family, friends, and the world. that North Dakotans are known for. more than for built thousands of rural North Dakotans, it’s oldhalf news.a century Together,But we’ve the most robust Collaboration between the member organizations that make fiber network in America—and now, ago, that they could up DCN and BAND has laid the groundwork for innovation in customers like you are reaping the While big, out-of-state broadband providers are making a big benefits. get further by workingour state and served as inspiration for rural networks across deal about starting to bring fiber to rural communities, the the country. In 2021 alone, the member organizations that When you sign on for service with together. local members of the Broadband Association of North Dakota form BAND and DCN have made extraordinary strides to your local BAND member, you



(BAND) receive more thanhave just already internet.done You it. benefit from the shared resources, knowledge, and unparalleled infrastructure that have been built Over the past 68 years, BAND members have invested over nearly seven decades. millions of dollars, empowered one another, and embraced

LAYINGtheTHE GROUNDWORK tenacious work ethic that FOR North INNOVATION Dakotans are known

The workfor. to bring fiberwe’ve broadband to most rural North began Together, built the robustDakotans fiber network in 1953, long before the directors of nine North Dakota telephone in America—and now, customers like you are reaping the cooperatives could have imagined what the internet would one benefits. day become.

connect more North Dakotans to fiber.

Casselton office as part of their strategic planRiver to expand In August, Polar Communications in Park received $4 service in eastern North Dakota. million from the United States Department of Agriculture Last year, here at Red River Communications, we plowed (USDA) to continue expanding their broadband network in over 100 miles of fiber, connecting more than 250 Walsh and Grand Forks counties. previously underserved families.

In 1996, this commitment led 15 BAND member companies to form the Dakota Carrier Network (DCN), a high-speed, large-

That’s the power of connected collaboration. That’s the power of BAND.


Each of these milestones has been made possible This fall, DRN of celebrated the grand opening of their Casselton because a group telephone cooperatives realized, more than half a century ago, that they could get farther office as part of their strategic plan to expand service in Those original members joined forces to expand high-quality, together. low-cost When telephone service across North Dakota. At the time, you sign on for service with your local BAND member, by working eastern North Dakota. most North still relied on party-line service, While some of the biggest names in broadband are youDakota receiveresidents more than just internet. You benefit from the in which wires were strung from pole to pole and long distance just beginning to deploy fiber to rural communities, the resources, knowledge, and These are examples--if the Marketing Committee could calls wereshared prohibitively expensive. While theunparalleled technology infrastructure we have 15 members of BAND are already working toward the that have beenhas built over nearly seven decades. used to communicate evolved over the past six decades, our provide more, that would up be to great! Individual broadbands future—accelerating speeds 5 Gig, 10 Gig, and mission—to ensure the highest quality communication technology beyond. Because when you work hard and work together, is accessible to all North Dakotans—has not wavered. the possibilities are endless.


Red River Communications Winter 2022

New Broadband Internet P THE SOUTHERN RED RIVER VALLEY’S FASTEST INTERNET IS NOW RED RIVER COMMUNICATIONS HAS ADJUSTED BROADBAND INTERNET PRICING FOR BOTH OUR COOPERATIVE AND EXPANSION AREAS. After a soft rollout to new subscribers at the beginning of the year, Red River Communications is now offering three new broadband packages to current customers. Many customers will get an substantial increase in speed for the same amount of money! Over the next couple months, we will be contacting all customers about changing your broadband package.

Can’t wait? Give us today and our Customer Experience team will help you find the right fit for your needs. REDRIVERCOMM.COM

Call: 701-553-8309 Email:


With many home internet plans, users c of speed – however, their upload speed download speeds. In other words, they but when they start trying to send infor

A symmetrical speed plan eliminates th and upload speeds. It might seem like a learn and play in today’s online space, i them upload videos, documents, and m otherwise be able to do so.


Ability to stream video live with the

More reliable connections

Ability to download and upload files work from home.

It’s also important not to overlook the f making sure uploads and downloads a incredibly important.


can download data at a high rate d is generally much lower than their can access information and data fast, rmation it runs much slower.

his issue and offers identical download a minor point, but for many who work, it makes a huge difference – letting more much faster than they would

e highest possible quality

fact internet is a two-way street, and are occurring at the same time is


250 Mbps Download / 250 Mbps Upload $69.50 - Internet Only (No Landline) $49.50 - With phone line*


500 Mbps Download / 500 Mbps Upload $89.50 - Internet Only (No Landline) $69.50 - With phone line*


Includes FiberFASTTM Managed WiFi 1 Gig Download / 1 Gig Upload $109.50 - Internet Only (No Landline) $99.50 - With phone line*


Includes the following communities: Boutin Addition (Hawley), Breckenridge, Campbell, Riverview Country Estates (Hawley), Wahpeton, Winnipeg Junction (Hawley)


100 Mbps Download / 100 Mbps Upload $69.50


500 Mbps Download / 500 Mbps Upload $89.50


Includes FiberFASTTM Managed WiFi 1 Gig Download / 1 Gig Upload $107.50

*Must subscribe to a local landline phone, approximately an additional $35 per month charge. The actual price may vary slightly due to local, state, and federal taxes on phone service. Calling features and long-distance are an additional fee.


s almost instantly, making it easier to

Includes the following communities: Abercrombie, Barnesville (Rural), Barney, Colfax, Fairmount, Galchutt, Geneseo, Great Bend, Hankinson, Kent, Lidgerwood, Mantador, McCauleyville, McLeod, Mooreton, Rollag & rural Hawley, and Wyndmere


Red River Communications Winter 2022




Red River Communications Winter 2022

Talk to your Children About Internet Safety The internet is an amazing place of education, entertainment, discovery, and opportunity. As with any other environment you and your family visit, you want to make sure that everyone is safe. Each of the following tools are all highly rated, so all you need to do is decide which software or hardware is the best fit for your family’s needs and device type. You might only need one tool with robust internet content filtering, but consider adding another that has social media monitoring capabilities for older children and teens.


The Internet is a great source of information, bit it’s import to know #1toQUSTODIO - how use it safely. Talk to your child Highly ranked on several about these things. Betweenplatforms, mandatedthis software is pricier than some but delivers the ability to block inappropriate online school and and playlimit dates via video content, games, and apps, monitor social media, manage screen time, and track location, your bases are covered. chat, chances are you and your kids are spending a lot more time online #2 KASPERSKY - than ever before. For some, it may be Aside from enabling content restrictions, it blocks harmful YouTube search requests, helps the first time you’ve explored this new manage screen time, games, and inappropriate apps. frontier with your little one. #3 BARK - The goodfocus news is is content that keeping your with the capacity to monitor 30+ popular apps, social Bark’s monitoring kids safe online is definitely possible, media platforms, and even text messages and email. Bark will alert you if it detects andpotential there are some powerful tools risks. You can also manage screen time, filter websites, and track your child’s available and literally, at your fingertips. location.


But#5 you don’t have- to go it alone. Red OURPACT River Communications some tips apps, or even allow them for a certain period of time, With the capability tohas block specific forscheduling keeping kids safe. particular allowances on your child’s phone or tablet is easily done. Take a few minutes this week to discuss these safety tools with your family and choose what works best to keep your kids protected.

A Winning Combination

What is streaming TV and why do I need it?

Who says there’s nothing good on TV anymore? With Red River Communications, TV is better.

Red River Communications Winter 2022

Red River Digital TV & FiberFAST Internet!


Along with our traditional set-top box option, Red River Digital TV is available to watch on your favorite connected streaming devices such as AppleTV, Roku and Amazon FireStick – no special TV or installation required. BUT I ALREADY HAVE A SET-TOP BOX. SO WHY WOULD I NEED THIS? Many of our customers enjoy a combination of watching options; they keep their traditional set-top box connected to their main television and use a streaming device on additional TVs in bedrooms, offices, workout rooms and more. BUT STREAMING IS EXPENSIVE, RIGHT? Nope! It is less expensive. Each set-top box costs you $5.95 per month, while we include streaming at no additional cost. Plus, you can have up to 3 concurrent streams on ten different devices. To get started, you’ll need a Red River Communications internet connection and a subscription to one of our Digital TV packages. REDRIVERCOMM.COM

For a complete list of our Digital TV packages and to view our channel listings, go to


FRS Grants

Red River Communications Winter 2022

The Foundation for Rural Service (FRS), the philanthropic arm of NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association, awarded 20 grants totaling over $89,000 to support projects in communities served by NTCA members. Red River Communications, who partnered with FRS to fund these projects, is pleased to announce two organizations in our service territory received grant awards.

Rhonda Erbes, RRC Director, presents Tony Boehm/SRCTC with a check for $4,960.

The Southeast Region Career and Technology Center (SRCTC) and Richland #44 (Colfax, ND) Agricultural Education Program received $4,960 to purchase Vernier lab equipment, including data collection interfaces, probes, and environmental science research equipment to teach and demonstrate Ag Science careers and skills. The Barnesville Fire Department (Barnesville, MN) received $1,795 to purchase a critical multi-tool for each member of the fire department to enhance firefighter safety and effectiveness.

RRC Directors Wayne Schindler & Jerry Janssen present the Barnesville Fire Dept. with a check for $1,795.

Common Cents Red River's Common Cents, the cooperative's non-profit entity, awarded $3,500 funds to three organizations in December.

Common Cents Board Member LouAnn Lee presents Marketplace for Kids with $500 for program materials.

BIO Girls (Aber-Colfax) - $1,000 for program materials Marketplace for Kids - $500 for program materials Lidgerwood Fire Dept. - $2,000 toward a new truck


Common Cents is funded by our customers when they choose to round up their bills to the next dollar. These tax-deductible contributions can be made as a one-time or recurring contribution above and beyond the round-up amount. If you wish to contribute to Common Cents, call 701-553-8309 or email To apply for a Common Cents award, go to:

BIO Girls (Aber-Colfax) participants accept $1,000 for 2022 program materials.


Donated since 2008 to causes in our Communities


Happy Retirement!

Red River Communications Winter 2022


Kevin Medenwald, Kathy Bolme & Deb Brenier

With a combined 77 years of service to Red River Communications, Kevin Medenwald - 25 years, Kathy Bolme - 32 years, and Deb Brenier - 20 years, retired at the beginning of 2022. The staff, Board of Directors and the retirees' families celebrated on December 29 at Crooked Lane Farm. The group shared a wonderful fellowship and stories of a transforming industry. Deb Bernier, Kevin Medenwald & Kathy Bolme

While the place will never be the same without these shining examples of what Red River Communications is all about, we are grateful for their time and countless accomplishments over the years. Please join us as we extend our warmest wishes for the future to Kevin, Kathy, Deb and their families.

GMs: Tom Steinolfson, Jeff Olson & Ardon Doran

RRC Retirees: L to R: Lynn Mickelson, Jeff Olson, Deb Bernier, Larry Hanson, Kevin Medenwald, Ardon Doran, Kathy Bolme, Mike Zick, Kim Berseth & Deb Mitskog


Cheers to Kathy and Deb!

! u o y o t s r e e Ch


Mandatory 10-Digit Dialing

Red River Communications Winter 2022

DON’T WAIT! 218 Dial 218 with every call, even local numbers.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has adopted 988 as a new 3-digit number to be used nationwide to reach the National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Lifeline, starting July 16, 2022.

Minnesota Area Codes 218 and 952 Included In order for 988 to work in Minnesota area codes 218 and 952, 10-digit local dialing must first be implemented. All other area codes within Minnesota and North Dakota are not affected. They will continue dialing as they do now. To complete all local calls, you will now need to dial area code + telephone number. This applies to all calls within your area code that are currently dialed with seven digits. Local calls dialed with only seven digits on and after April 1, 2022, will receive a recording to inform you that your call cannot be completed as dialed. You must hang up and dial again using the area code and the 7-digit number. What other changes need to be made? In addition to changing the way you dial local calls, all services, automatic dialing equipment, or other types of equipment that are programmed to complete calls to 7-digit local numbers will need to be reprogrammed to complete calls to 10-digit numbers. (Life safety systems or medical monitoring devices, PBXs, fax machines, fire or burglar alarm and security systems, speed dialers, mobile or other wireless phone contact lists, voicemail services, call forwarding settings, etc. Be sure to check your website, personal and business stationery, advertising materials, personal and business checks, contact information, your personal or pet ID tags, and other such items to ensure the area code is included. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255) will still work after the 988 code is in effect. For more information, please visit



new PHONE Directory is Here

Winter 202 Volume 7, Issue 1 The Red River Communications newsletter is published quarterly for our members. It is distributed free-of-charge to our members in North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota.

If you need an additional copy of the directory, please stop by one of our offices during normal business hours.



Dave Gauslow President District 1 - Abercrombie

RDFC Grants - Applications NOW OPEN The Rural Development Finance Corporation (RDFC) is pleased to announce it has approved a 2022 grant allotment of $2,000 to Red River Communications to be used to support community owned entities, non-profits and community-based projects. Matching grants ranging from $500 to $2,000 are available to ND entities. apply by June 1st, 2022 at:

NAME PHONE NUMBER EXCHANGE Joshua Church (218) 479-5445 Fairmount Grant Haverland (701) 372-3730 Colfax (218) 937-5190


Anthony Schmidt (701) 439-2060 Wyndmere Andrew & Megan Woodbury

(701) 439-2785

Harlan Deike Vice-President District 4 - Great Bend Gary Boutiette Secretary/Treasurer District 5 - Kent Wayne Schindler District 2 - Barnesville Rhonda Erbes District 3 - Colfax Neil Klosterman District 6 - Mooreton

New listings Craig & Julie Nelson


Changes and Corrections NAME PHONE NUMBER EXCHANGE Popp Binding (Add 800 Number)

(800) 437-4787


Brad Cook (Number Missing)

(218) 493-4234


Jerry Janssen District 7 - Rollag Ronald German District 8 - Fairmount/Hankinson Jan Schmit District 9 - Lidgerwood/ Wyndmere Red River Communications 510 Broadway PO Box 136 Abercrombie, ND 58001 Questions? Service issues? Call 866-553-8309

Produced by the team at Red River Communications


Follow us On Social Media @redrivercommunications

Red River Communications Winter 2022

All members who subscribe to landline phone service have been mailed a 2022 telephone directory.

PO Box 136 510 Broadway Abercrombie, ND 58001


Annual Meeting


Thursday, March 17, 2022 | Richland Elementary - Abercrombie, ND Registration, Product Demos & Dinner: 5:00 - 6:30 pm | Business Meeting: 7 pm

Door Prizes: Elections:

For our 70th Anniversary, we are going big! All cooperative members can register for three cash prize drawings $500, $250 and $100 (Must be present to win)

Elections: Three directors will be elected by voice votes from District 3 (Colfax), District 6 (Mooreton) and District 8 (Fairmount/Hankinson) to serve three-year terms.

OFFICE HOURS 510 Broadway - Abercrombie, ND Monday-Friday 8:00 am to 4:30 pm 522 Dakota Avenue - Wahpeton, ND Tuesday & Thursday 8:00 am to 4:30 pm

Your FiberFASTTM Internet Provider

HELP DESK Need assistance? We’re here 24/7 to help you! 866-553-8309

We look forward t!o seeing you there BILL PAY No added fees! Online or by phone. 855-386-9905

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