Working From Home? Here's What You Need Beyond Super-Fast Wi-Fi | PCMag

2022-06-21 14:14:19 By : Ms. Bevis he

Increasingly, local ISPs are stepping up to deliver valuable services—like advanced cybersecurity and parental controls—in addition to giving you the super-fast speeds that support the way you work, live, and play.

These days, everyone wants lightning-fast internet connections. That’s why PCMag’s annual List of Fastest ISPs is so popular. In an age where many companies let you work from anywhere, the only thing holding you back from conferencing in from the beach or the back porch is whether your internet connection can support your Zoom calls.

But guess what? If you’re only focused on speed, you may be missing out on the bigger picture. Think 8K resolution, home network cybersecurity, advanced parental controls, social media monitoring, managed home security, and more—all accessed in the same app you use to manage your Wi-Fi.

The bottom line is that there are benefits other than speed that you should demand from an ISP—especially since the average person now has more than two dozen connected devices(Opens in a new window) always running in the home.

You might assume you need to live in a big city to get those types of services plus lightning-fast speed, but increasingly that’s not the case. Just ask the folks at Calix, a cloud and software company that invested more than $1 billion over the past 11 years, to develop innovation that many small, regional internet service providers are using to build world-class broadband networks. Not only that, but these ISPs are also delivering amazing experiences—from excellent customer support to sophisticated gear and services that rival anything you could get at a big-box store or a consumer brand with a trillion-dollar market cap.

Working with Calix, these local ISPs deliver world-class Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E systems(Opens in a new window) along with critical security services. That’s because Calix gives them the technology and expert support they need to operate like the most sophisticated brands on the market.

As a result, even the smallest ISPs can deliver amazing internet experiences to their local communities. Thanks to advanced analytics and complete visibility into your broadband experience, their customer service representatives solve issues faster—in some cases, before you even notice there’s a problem. They also reduce the need for technicians to come to your home because they can troubleshoot remotely. 

Local ISPs give subscribers like you more control over your home networks. They also provide easy access to advanced parental controls, social media monitoring to better protect kids online, and an array of home security options. And these services exist far outside of urban centers. By leaning in to provide valuable services to their communities, ISPs support small business growth, create new jobs, and foster more educational opportunities in remote areas no one else will serve. Thanks to their investment in world-class networks, these positive impacts will last for generations. 

That’s why it’s no surprise that Calix customers enjoy great brand loyalty. Most people hold a very low opinion of their broadband provider. Just look at the average Net Promoter Score(Opens in a new window) (NPS) for telecommunications brands. These scores measure a simple question: “Would you recommend this service to a friend?” The average score for ISPs hovers somewhere between 31 and 39.[LG2]  But Calix customers routinely score in the high 70s and above. CentraCom has an NPS of 75, Cumberland Connect has an NPS of 90, and ALLO Communications has an NPS of 74 among subscribers that use its app.

Here are some examples of how small providers are stepping up to deliver valuable services to their communities.

The internet opens the door to a lot of wonderful, educational content for kids, but there’s also a Pandora’s box of things you don’t want them exposed to, such as cyberbullying and cyberattacks. It is an ISP’s responsibility to give parents the tools they need to take control of their networks easily.

In Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio, Midwest Energy & Communications(Opens in a new window) (MEC) is a local ISP working with Calix to bring the advanced parental controls of ExperienceIQ® to every one of its 20,000 subscribers. Families subscribing to MEC Wi-Fi can access ExperienceIQ to set up profiles for their kids, add time limits, and filter content, websites, and apps. It helps parents make sure homework is getting done while also supporting safe, healthy online habits.

Cybercriminals have gotten a lot sneakier in how they breach your home, from hacking into your network to targeting smart home devices. That is why ALLO Communications(Opens in a new window) (ALLO), a local provider serving Nebraska, Colorado, and Arizona, is rolling out advanced home network security ProtectIQ® for all residential subscribers. This home network level cybersecurity protects entire communities by stopping viruses, malware, and malicious websites, among other increasing digital threats, before they negatively impact home networks.

The latest Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Internet Crime Report revealed that cybercrime complaints increased seven percent last year and are still rising. And you may have seen the recent tweet from President Joe Biden(Opens in a new window) stating that, while the government is providing resources and tools to the private sector to thwart cyberattacks, citizens must also take the initiative to protect themselves. Who better to help than a local, community-focused internet provider? In May alone, ALLO blocked more than 19,000 digital threats from entering subscribers’ homes and businesses using ProtectIQ. Since February, when Russia invaded Ukraine, the average number of monthly threats ALLO blocked per subscriber increased 250%.

Meanwhile, in southern Colorado, Jade Communications(Opens in a new window) (Jade) is working with Calix to prove there’s more to success than speeds and feeds (although they still deliver on both). To provide their subscribers with a holistic experience, Jade offers services such as phone and HD TV, but they’ve also added another valuable layer of home security services. 

When Jade recently introduced Jade Security, a Wi-Fi-enabled home security service, their subscribers jumped onboard. In fact, in the early days of its rollout, they got their first order within 10 minutes of sending the promo email, ultimately upgrading 90% of eligible subscribers. Driven by incredible subscriber demand, they are now making Jade Security available to everyone.

While demand for broadband continues to surge across the United States, nearly one-fourth of the population in rural areas—14.5 million people—are still effectively unserved. Many Calix customers were founded almost 100 years ago, as cooperatives to introduce electricity to these communities. Local ISPs that partner with Calix ensure you can Zoom uninterrupted and game to your heart’s content—all while keeping your family and home fully protected. By introducing these valuable services, they also build local economic vitality that will last across generations.

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