Welcome to the DIGITAL DIGEST! This quarterly e-newsletter is chock-full of information for our members including industry news, position openings, construction updates, community events, and updates from our leadership.  
Jason Atwater Selected as ICT Visionary

CTC's Director of Network Operations, Jason Atwater, was selected as a 2021 ICT Visionary! (ICT = Information and Communications Technology)

This recognition is bestowed upon a handful of leaders each year by ISE Magazine, one of the industry's leading publications.

Check out the first article (in a three-part series), for some great insight from Jason and other network leaders from around the nation. His 24 years of industry experience definitely shines through and I think it’s safe to say that we’re proud to call him a member of the CTC team!

CTC Receives Two NTCA Marketing eXcellence Awards

In mid-May, NTCA - The Rural Broadband Association recognized CTC as the winner of the NTCA Marketing eXcellence Award in a special one-time category for their COVID-19 response and first-runner up in the Publications category for their 2019 Annual Report.

CTC is a member of NTCA, an association representing nearly 850 independent, community-based telecommunications companies in rural communities across America. The Marketing eXcellence Awards recognize the vital role marketing, sales, and communications play in the broadband industry and are announced annually at NTCA’s Marketing + Sales Conference.

“In a year when everything had to pivot online, connections with customers have played an even more vital role,” said NTCA Chief Executive Officer Shirley Bloomfield. “I want to commend all of NTCA’s members for their work throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and especially CTC. Thank you for your contributions to your communities and to our industry.”

"We're thrilled to receive this recognition," said Kristi Westbrock, CEO at CTC. "Especially in a category that has never existed and in a time that has been so full of change, opportunities, and challenges. Our marketing team hit it out of the park and continues to be an example for other telcos to follow."


At CTC, our employees tackle a wide variety of jobs - everything from standard business operations like accounting, marketing, customer service, and sales to industry-specific tasks such as engineering, networking, and product installation, training, and troubleshooting.

For this edition of Digital Digest we visited with Eric Johnson, one of our Network Analysts, to chat about what a "day in the life" looks like for him and his teammates.
How did you land in this industry?
I went to Lake Superior College in Duluth, MN and received my AAS in Information Technology: Network Administration. Shortly after, I started working for a service provider in Duluth and then moved up to Two Harbors. In 2015, I met someone from CTC at a vendor conference. I made the choice to leave the telecommunications industry to work for a regional data center but I kept being drawn back to telecom. Luckily, CTC had an opening on their network team and the rest is history!

What team accomplishments are you most proud of?
Upgrading our network backbone to 100G. It took months of planning, staging equipment, testing, and multiple weeks of after-hours work. This was not an easy task and it took everyone from the team to accomplish this. During the pandemic, we saw a huge increase in network traffic due to members working and learning from home. These network upgrades will help to future-proof our network!

What does a typical day look like for you?
Every day is different. I’m typically planning for upcoming upgrades and maintenances, configuring equipment for installations, in the lab running tests, or I might be working trouble tickets. The upgrades and maintenances usually affect service so that means that most of that work is done at night/early morning... ensuring that everything runs smoothly during the day and evenings, when most members rely on our services.

What’s on the horizon?
10 gigabit fiber-to-the home. The demand for higher bandwidth has been steadily growing over the past few years and it’s not going to slow down!

Why do you enjoy your job?
This is an industry that is constantly changing and evolving. You need to keep up with new technologies coming out, new software code, equipment upgrades, and everything else that comes with the territory. It keeps me engaged and constantly thinking about the future.
Annual Meeting: Wednesday, June 2
CTC will be holding it's 69th Annual Meeting virtually on Wednesday, June 2 at 11:00 a.m. During this online meeting, we will review the election and voting results, share highlights from 2020, and give away a few prizes!

To view bios of the candidates that are running for the District 2 position, click here.

We are asking members to RSVP by visiting our website at: www.goctc.com/annualmeeting or calling us at 218-454-1234. The deadline to RSVP is Monday, May 31st at 12:00 p.m.

Any member that RSVPs and attends the meeting will receive a $25 bill credit!
Ballots Due: Thursday, May 27
If you haven't mailed your ballot yet, please drop it off at the Baxter office by 5pm on Thursday, May 27 so it can be counted. Results of the voting will be announced at the annual meeting.

Any member that submits a ballot will be entered into a drawing to receive some fun prizes! (Prizes will be announced during the meeting. Need not be present to win.)
Join Our Team!

CTC is currently seeking applicants for a Member Services Technician in the Mesabi Iron Range area. Check our website for qualifications and application instructions: www.goctc.com/careers.
2021 Construction Areas & Temp Drops

Why isn’t CTC in my area? When will fiber internet be coming to my neighborhood? Can’t you just extend the line another mile? These are questions we get on a regular basis.

Check out this summary that we put together that explains our plan for 2021 construction of fiber internet networks and answers several of the frequently asked questions about our process, timelines, communication, etc.

If you ever have questions about our current or future build areas, please visit our website - www.goctc.com/construction - for updates and information.

This spring/summer, we also have a record number of temporary drops to bury in the ground. If you're one of the lucky ones that has CTC services but your cable hasn't been buried yet, check out this page for updates and information: www.goctc.com/tempdrops.

CALL BEFORE YOU DIG!

Be sure to dial 811 before you dig in your yard, ditch, by the lake, or anywhere this spring! You can also submit a ticket online via gopherstateonecall.org.

Planning a Saturday project? Be sure to contact them by Wednesday at 5pm. It's the law and it keeps everyone safe, services running, and utilities working.
>> Facing hardships due to COVID-19? Contact us to discuss options. 
>> Looking for financial or service assistance? Many programs exist to help you!