Greetings and happy spring. This season brings the promise of new life, green grass, flowering shrubs, baby animals and a renewed interest in being outside.

We are also beginning spring festival season. It’s always so fun to see our customers and members again after the colder winter months. I usually like to take the opportunity to ask for feedback on our service. I also ask those who don’t have our internet service to explain the barriers or reasons for not having it. One of the biggest reasons cited by our phone-only customers is that they do not believe they need internet, because they don’t have a computer. That couldn’t be further from the truth. In today’s WiFienabled world, computers are only one of several devices that can connect to WiFi. The truth is many WiFi-enabled devices make day-to-day life easier. Our cellphones and reading tablets are good examples. Home security cameras, doorbells, appliances and even air fresheners are other examples. Consider my 93-year-old mother who lives in rural Idaho. She doesn’t own a computer, nor does she have any other traditional need for internet. We recently gifted her an Amazon Echo Show. This simple WiFi-enabled device breaks down the barriers of geography and mobility, connecting her to the world and supplying her with all the information she needs each day by simply asking it questions. “What is the temperature outside?” “What is the forecast?” “What is the temperature in Abbeville, South Carolina?” (She likes to keep tabs on her South Carolina friends and family.) “Tell me a joke.” “Call my family.” Sometimes it’s the simple things that make a giant life. I’ve been so inspired by my mother’s story that we decided to reach out to our customers who have our phone service, but not the internet. We’re offering them demonstrations of the Amazon Echo Show, and should they sign up for internet service, we will give them their very own Echo Show. There are other barriers to getting internet service. Cost can often be a factor, too. We’re proud to participate in the Federal Communications Commission’s Affordable Connectivity Program, which provides a $30 per month savings on qualifying individuals’ internet bills. Not sure if you qualify, or how to apply? We’re here to help you. Call our office at 864-4462111 or visit one of our locations and we’ll be happy to assist you with your application. You can also go to wctel.com/acp to learn more. In fact, only about 25% of eligible households have enrolled in the ACP. We hate to see this, especially in our communities. Cost should not be a barrier to getting internet service. Thankfully ACP eases that burden, and we’re here to help you. Together, we will help you go far without even leaving your home.