PRTC nears completion of fiber project

Rex Tillery, an installer/repairman at PRTC, installs a fiber optic network at the Jackson County Bank in Sand Gap. PRTC is nearing the end of its fiber-to-the-home project that will give everyone in its service area access to the fastest, most state-of-the-art data network available.

Rex Tillery, an installer/repairman at PRTC, installs a fiber optic network at the Jackson County Bank in Sand Gap. PRTC is nearing the end of its fiber-to-the-home project that will give everyone in its service area access to the fastest, most state-of-the-art data network available.

Peoples Rural Telephone has completed its fiber optic buildout to more than 95 percent of the homes and businesses throughout its service area, with the bulk of its members already connected.

“More than 80 percent of our members are connected with fiber,” says PRTC Operations Manager Michael Stidham. “We encourage our members to contact us if they have not already begun to experience all the benefits fiber has to offer.”

PRTC has completed plans and specifications for construction of fiber facilities in all areas of Jackson and Owsley counties that do not already have fiber access. Construction to complete the fiber buildout to our entire service area will continue through the summer. By the end of 2014, all PRTC members should have access to fiber.

Competitors in bordering counties continue to claim they have a “fiber network,” but Stidham says PRTC offers the only network in the region that uses fiber exclusively, which provides broadband to every customer’s doorstep at the speed of light.

To date, PRTC has spent more than $50 million building out this fiber network. The funding has primarily been secured through a PRTC investment and loans from the USDA Rural Utilities Service. About $17.5 million came through a grant from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act.

“We are spreading the word outside our boundaries and throughout our region that Peoples Rural Telephone Cooperative has the most advanced technology available,” Stidham says. “We are asking for the community’s help in an effort to boost our economy at home.”

PRTC will soon offer fiber optic service to every home and business in our service area. This new network gives PRTC the capability of offering a wide array of services, including an exciting interactive TV offering known as IPTV that is coming soon.

To learn more about how fiber technology benefits you, visit us online at www.prtcnet.org or call 606-287-7101.

 

 

 

 

PRTC is feeding families

Joyce Marks, director of the Jackson County Food Bank, says her organization is seeing record requests for meals.

Joyce Marks, director of the Jackson County Food Bank, says her organization is seeing record requests for meals.

Rebecca Koury recently met a couple who lost their food stamp benefits when the wife began working.

Koury, a Jackson County Food Bank board member, says the woman felt such a sense of pride and renewed self worth that she refused to quit working even though others had suggested she do just that because her income is less than what she had received in food stamps.

“She says she feels so good about herself and about getting out and helping provide for others that her family will  make it work somehow,” Koury says. “I think it is so amazing and such a beautiful thing that this family is going to make it work and trust that the Lord will take care of them.”

And one of the ways He provides is through area food banks. There are many families, such as this one, that rely on donations from area food banks to make it through each month with enough to eat. These food banks are in need of donations so they can continue to provide food in the local community.

Joyce Marks, executive director of the Jackson County Food Bank, works to keep the hungry fed.

Joyce Marks, executive director of the Jackson County Food Bank, works to keep the hungry fed.

Joyce Marks, director of the Jackson County Food Bank, says times are tough because there are few job opportunities in and around Jackson County. This means area food banks are hit harder with requests for food.

“We are serving record numbers of people,” she says. “The economists keep saying things are getting better, but we don’t see it.”

The Jackson County Food Bank spent $2,245 more donated funds for food in 2012 than in 2011. Marks says the figures for 2013 were up again, too.

Increased demand means Marks has cut out a lot of unnecessary purchases for the Jackson County Food Bank such as cooking oil and flour. “We run a tight ship,” she says.

PRTC CEO Keith Gabbard presents a check to Angela Sparks of the Sand Gap Food Pantry. PRTC gives to all area food banks.

PRTC CEO Keith Gabbard presents a check to Angela Sparks of the Sand Gap Food Pantry. PRTC gives to all area food banks.

But Marks praises PRTC for helping all area food banks survive the upcoming year. For the past seven years, PRTC has matched a portion of funds donated to the food banks between Thanksgiving and the end of the year.

“This is such an important collection for the food bank because what we get enables us to make it through the coming year,” Marks says.

In 2013, PRTC donated $10,000 in customer donation matches to the following area food banks: Jackson County Food Bank, Sand Gap Food Pantry and Owsley County Food Place.

Connie Sams, a PRTC employee in Booneville, presents a check to Jerry Lacefield of the Owsley County Food Place.

Connie Sams, a PRTC employee in Booneville, presents a check to Jerry Lacefield of the Owsley County Food Place.

“We really appreciate everything they do,” says Jerry Lacefield, director of the Owsley County Food Place and pastor of First Baptist Church in Owsley County. “Their generosity enables us to help so many people in this county.”

In Sand Gap, Angela Sparks says the food pantry there relies on PRTC’s contributions.

“It is wonderful the way they support the community,” she says. “So many families benefit from their generosity and go to bed with full bellies because of it.”

To donate:

For information on organizing a donation or food drive for your business, church or community group, please follow these links:

Jackson County Food Bank

www.godspantry.org/locations/jackson-county-food-bank

members.prtcnet.org/jacksoncountyfoodbank

Owsley County Food Place

www.godspantry.org/locations/owsley-county-food-place

Sand Gap Food Pantry

www.godspantry.org/locations/sand-gap-food-pantry

Save with Paperless Billing

Reducing paper use and protecting the environment are pretty good reasons to sign up for Paperless Billing, but now there’s even more.

Sign up for Paperless Billing and get a FREE PRTC T-Shirt and a $10 credit on your next phone bill. With Paperless Billing, customers will be billed by email and can click to pay their bill online.

For more information or to sign up, call 606-287-7101 or stop by either PRTC Business office.  

Calling all scholars!

PRTC is accepting applications from high school seniors for 2014 scholarships

The scholarships are awarded based on a variety of criteria including academic achievement, community involvement and an essay detailing the student’s plans for the future. Applications must also include one personal reference and one academic reference.

The deadline to apply is April 15. For more information and to get an application, visit  www.prtc.org.

PRTC gives back to area fire departments

Our community is important to us at PRTC, and that is why we want to recognize volunteers that work tirelessly to protect our communities and ensure we stay safe.

PRTC has donated $1,000 to each area volunteer fire department. In Owsley County that includes Island City Fire Department, Vincent Fire Department and Booneville Fire Department. In Jackson County that includes McKee Fire Department, Sand Gap Fire Department, Gray Hawk Fire Department and Pond Creek Fire Department.

“Our fire departments protect our communities from emergencies of all kinds,” says Keith Gabbard, PRTC chief executive officer. “They donate countless hours and tirelessly sacrifice to give back to our citizens, for whom they care deeply about. This is our way of saying ‘Thank you.’”