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Kalona Cooperative Telephone Company announced that it is now offering gigabyte service in Kalona.
The announcement came at the company’s annual meeting on Tuesday, April 25.
While that does not seem big, it is a huge improvement, according to General Manager Casey Peck, who made the announcement.
She showed a video to emphasize how fast the service is.
The video showed water emptying out of a 10-gallon paint container. At 10 megabytes, the water slowly dribbled out. At 1 gigabyte, the container emptied in less than a second.
The improved service puts KCTC in rare company. Peck said only 80 companies in the nation have been “gig-certified.” The new service is 100 times faster than the service offered to most American households.
She said companies and institutions will be the big beneficiaries. She cited remote learning opportunities at Mid- Prairie High School and telemedicine services at the Washington County Hospitals and Clinics, where patients can see a doctor remotely.
The announcement had been hyped in advertising for the annual meeting.
“That is the news, and that is exciting news,” board President Steve Yotty said.
That is not the only change announced at the meeting. Peck said KCTC has begun switching its telephone calls through the Wellman Cooperative Telephone Association office in Wellman. The change saved KCTC from purchasing an $800,000 switch after the switch in Kalona reached its “end of life” for maintenance.
Wellman put in a new switch a year ago, Peck said. The switches have a lifespan of seven or eight years, she said, and it made sense to work with Wellman rather than purchasing a new switch in Kalona.
The agreement between the two telephone companies is “one of the very first switch-sharing agreements,” according to the company’s attorney, who predicted more such agreements by rural telephone companies trying to hold costs down.