New Areas Now Open


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We are excited to announce that we are now accepting fiber broadband orders in parts of Fulton and Millersburg north of Highway F and west of Highway 54! This is the largest area of construction we have been able to open to date, and we are excited to get more residents and businesses up-to-speed with fiber Internet and phone services.
 
The map provided here depicts our entire fiber network area, as well as projected dates for each area. Construction crews are hard at work to complete the project, and you may even see them working along Highway J if you are in the area!
 
We are also excited to announce that we are now accepting fiber orders online! Enter your address to view package options and go-live dates for your area and sign up for fiber services online if eligible.
 
For more information about Socket's Rural Fiber Project, please visit www.socket.net/fiber or give us a call at 1-800-762-5383.

It's Almost Time for the Polar Plunge!


Polar Plunge 2010We had no trouble convincing more than 20 of our coworkers to go jump in a lake.

Socket’s a proud sponsor of the Polar Plunge, an annual fundraising event for Special Olympics Missouri. Of course, it’s called Polar for a reason – we were afraid that it’d be hard to gather a team for the middle of February.

But Socketeers came through – with nearly a fifth of the company volunteering to dive in, our next challenge is to come to an agreement on a dress-up theme. This could take a while.

The Polar Plunge features cool music, costumed teams, a parade, festivities and prizes. So even if you don't want to take a dip in the lake, it's still a great time for the whole family, and supports a wonderful organization. Columbia's Polar Plunge is Saturday, February 16th, at Stephens Lake. Come by to cheer on the Plungers, or sign up a team of your own at Somo.org/PolarPlunge.

Jefferson City Hosted PBX Ribbon Cutting


Naturally, we’re always happy to show off our Hosted PBX services. But popping open a few bottles of wine seems to get everyone else excited about Hosted PBX, too!

We were proud to host a ribbon cutting at our Jefferson City, MO office on January 24 to celebrate our recent launch of Hosted PBX services. Representatives with the Jefferson City Chamber of Commerce brought over a red ribbon and some gigantic scissors (because what ribbon cutting would be complete without them?). We also answered some of their most common questions about Hosted PBX... like, "What is it?" (It’s a cloud-based phone system…that is, one that doesn’t reside in a closet at your office).

Afterwards, we opened some bottles of local Missouri wine from Westphalia and Summit Hill. We also enjoyed some fantastic Honey Wheat beer from Prison Brews, and appetizers from Madison’s Café, including their stuffed mushrooms, toasted ravioli, and Swedish meatballs. Yum!

While we’ve been providing high speed internet, local and long-distance telephone, and other telecom services to Jefferson City businesses for a few years now, Hosted PBX adds a whole range of services to help us cater to every business need – from the smallest start-up, to an established call center. To see if Socket is the right fit for your business, visit www.socket.net/quote.

See more photos on our Facebook page

Data Cap Legislation Enters Congress


A few weeks ago, Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon introduced a piece of legislation called the “Data Cap Integrity Act,” a move he elaborated on at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

As we’ve mentioned before, Socket doesn’t implement data caps for a variety of reasons. Senator Wyden’s legislation points out a few more things that consumers should know about the purpose of data caps, and what effect they actually have on Internet usage.

False Scarcity:

As we mentioned in a previous article, it can be argued that data caps discourage a few select users from hogging all the bandwidth. However, an issue of equal importance is when users are online. Capping data at 4 AM doesn’t solve any bandwidth issues – it just draws an arbitrary line where consumers can be charged extra for slipping up.

“There is a case for data caps that manage congestion – manage a scarcity of bandwidth – but they shouldn’t be used to create scarcity in order to monetize data,” said Senator Wyden in his speech at CES.

Anti-Competitive:

When a data cap forces users to make every download count, it can lead to some questionable business practices… at least, according to Senator Wyden. Comcast’s decision to make Xfinity, their Netflix equivalent, not count towards users’ data caps made some users question the fairness of such a deal. Wyden, though, considers it a more serious anti-trust issue.

“If a provider wishes to slow consumers’ Internet connections in order to discriminate against a provider of content, my view is that they should face the anti-trust laws. [We] are working on legislation to do just that -- to strengthen the anti-trust laws in order to ensure that the major ISPs cannot use their market dominance to pick online winners and losers.”

Lost Innovation:

Many of today’s exciting new Web applications are based on the availability of high-speed Internet, a tool that wasn’t as widely available half a decade ago. More users than ever are now able to Skype, stream high-definition video, play games in real-time, and more. However, by unnecessarily limiting the use of high-speed Internet, new applications will suffer or fail to thrive when they otherwise would.

“Future innovation will undoubtedly require consumers to use more and more data - data caps should not impede this innovation and the jobs it creates,” said Wyden, in a press release concerning his legislation.

Click here to read a complete transcript of Senator Wyden’s speech at CES, or here for his press release and the DCIA Bill text.

Greetings From Mexico!


Mexico Mo Internet signWe're excited to be expanding our services in Mexico, MO! Even if it's not as warm as the other Mexico, we’re sure excited to be there.

While we've been providing Internet service to Mexico for awhile, we can now also offer home phone service, phone/internet bundles and Naked DSL (a high-speed Internet option for people who don't have active landlines in their house). In short, Mexico residents and businesses now have many more choices when it comes to telecom service.

So if you're tired of dealing with AT&T or Charter, give us a call. Or call a friend with Socket services - chances are you know a few, since we’ve added these services in eight other cities so far. (And you know about our $25 refer-a-friend bonus, right?)

Visit our Mexico page for more information on packages and pricing, or just call one of our friendly techs at (660) 582-0500

A Look Back...And Ahead


 
2013 is already in full swing, and we’ve got a lot of exciting things in the works.
 
We’re continuing to move forward with projects we launched or expanded in 2012. Like our rural fiber network in Callaway and Boone counties. This past year, we not only made significant progress on constructing this new network, but we also turned up our first residential customers on fiber broadband. Many of them haven’t ever had high-speed before, so it’s rewarding to see them get connected. We’re expanding fiber access to even more Missouri cities in 2013, including Fulton and California.
 
In 2012, we also expanded our home phone and small business phone service offerings in Jefferson City, Moberly and Sedalia. This year, we’ll be bringing that service to Fulton and Mexico, as well as more areas in Columbia.
 
Hosted PBX made its official debut at Socket in 2012, meaning that we can now handle a business’s phone system, all the way down to the handsets on employees' desks. For many businesses who already had their voice and data services with us, it was a natural next step to move their phone system functionality to the cloud and give them one less thing to worry about maintaining. We’re excited to work with even more businesses on this new service this year.
 
Thank you for all of your support in 2012, and we really look forward to seeing what 2013 brings for us as a company.
 
 

Meet Nathan Lichty, Business Center Tech!


It’s not often that anybody receives over two whole pages of praise in their nomination for the YMTD award. But with half a dozen people contributing personal stories and evidence of his dedication, it was easy to see who the favored nomination this month was going to be.
 
“Nathan is your go-to guy for virtually any problem that you may come across,” said a coworker. “From circuit issues - to LAN issues - he is someone who can always be counted on to analyze a problem to the fullest and come up with the best long term solution for the customer.”
 
In particular, a common theme from all the nominations cited his desire to learn, and teach, as extraordinary.
 
“He’s an enthusiastic, patient and meticulous teacher,” said a coworker. “He doesn’t just tell you the numbered steps to fix a problem - he takes the time to explain how something works, and why what you’re doing will fix it.”
 
As another coworker simply put, “He takes pride in teaching Noobs the skills needed to excel here at Socket.”
 
(From Wikipedia: “Noob - a novice or newcomer.” You’re welcome.)

Born and raised in Missouri, Nathan graduated from Rock Bridge High School. He can usually be found tinkering with his tech toys, studying for yet another networking exam, or playing classic video games on his cell phone.
 
“I get to think critically and adapt to new challenges on a daily basis,” said Nathan. “It’s like playing a puzzle game… except I’m lucky enough to also get paid for it.“

Read about other You-Make-The-Difference-Award winners.

The "Deal" With Data Caps


As high-speed Internet connections and data-heavy applications become more common, more Internet service providers are implementing data caps or overage fees in order to restrict or limit their customers' usage. It's important for Internet users to understand how data caps can affect their own services, as well as the Internet overall.

What kinds of caps are common?

This depends on the type of service. Most broadband or wired connections, if capped, have higher limits than mobile plans. Comcast is currently testing a new 300 GB cap, while Mediacom’s is 150 GB. However, wireless providers like Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint all have starting caps lower than 5 GB on their basic plans.

What happens when customers hit the cap?

Caps vary widely by provider. Most companies charge an overage fee. Mediacom charges a $10 overage fee for every 50 GB over the cap, as does Comcast. Verizon's charge is a more severe $15 per 1 GB. Other companies, like T-Mobile, don’t charge for going over the limit, but instead severely reduce speed once the cap is reached (in their case, at only 2 GB).

Does anyone ever hit the cap?

For now, only a small percentage of people are affected. As high-speed Internet usage and applications become more common, though, more people are using services like Netflix and online gaming, which can very rapidly race through data. For instance, an average Netflix user streams between 40 GB – 80 GB of video a month (that’s Netflix streaming only, by the way – not including other video services or online activities). As these types of services become more common, even the "average" consumer may have to watch their data limits.

How could this affect the Internet itself?

Suppose we invent a vehicle that can move at the speed of light. Near instantaneous travel would revolutionize the world, right? Not if you’re only allowed to go, say, 100 miles a month without an "excess travel fee."

Data caps act as an arbitrary restriction on technological growth, in the same way a distance limit would cripple even the fastest car. Customers would be forced to count gigabytes in an attempt to avoid overage fees, rather than just exploring the web naturally and helping new startups to grow. The next "Skype" or "Hulu" would be dead in the water if no one were willing to risk precious GB testing it out.

Does Socket have data caps?

No. We continue to offer our high-speed Internet services without usage caps, limitations or restrictions. It’s your Internet. You paid for it. Use it!

Learn more about Socket's views on data caps.

World's First 1TB Flash Drive


USB flash drives have rapidly dropped in price over the last few years, now being common enough to appear on back-to-school lists and even vending machines. Kingston’s newest announced model, though, might be a bit too pricey for that – it’s projected to cost at least $2000 for the thumb-sized device.

No, it’s not plated with gold or diamonds. What it boasts is the claim of “World’s First 1TB Flash Drive,” a feat almost unthinkable half a decade ago.

So exactly how big is that? 1 TB (terabyte) equals 1024 GB (gigabytes). For comparison:

  • The largest iPod available maxes out at 160 GB, and holds over 200 hours of video.
  • Most laptop computers have hard drives between 160 GB and 1 TB.
  • A standard rewritable DVD can hold about 5 GB.
  • Most smartphones are available in sizes no larger than 64 GB.

Perhaps this is natural. With high-speed internet becoming more of a standard, it also makes sense that the more you can download, the more you’d want to store or transfer. On the other hand, you can now store more music than you’d ever be able to listen to (well, almost. It would take you 40 years to hear 1 TB of music, assuming you also listened in your sleep).
 
As the technology advances, the more commonplace it becomes, too. It used to be you could buy some pencils and paper and be set for school… but the times, they are a’ changing. Jefferson City Public Schools now include a flash drive as part of their student supply lists. Thankfully, it’s a far smaller (and cheaper!) 1 GB model. Campus vending machines in Columbia, MO sell even smaller drives for just a few dollars. You’d be hard pressed to find anyone here at Socket that doesn’t have a handful.
 
If you don’t need an entire computer’s worth of data hanging from your car keys, you can always purchase Kingston’s relatively cheaper 512 GB model… for only $1337.  Try to avoid leaving it in your jeans pocket on laundry day.

Who is Socket

Founded in 1994, Socket is a Missouri-based telephone and Internet service provider with the largest service area in the state.

Socket is a privately held company that provides families and businesses a choice for local and long-distance phone and Internet service. We combine the highest quality customer service with in-depth technical knowledge.

Our network serves more than 20,000 residents and businesses in more than 400 Missouri cities, and our customers enjoy simple billing and quick, friendly service.
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