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March Employee Spotlight

Posted on: March 1st, 2018 No Comments

Robert Von Stein is our March Employee of the Month  His dedication, hard work, and positive attitude is much appreciated by his co-workers!   Continue reading below to find out why and see which three employees are celebrating HCC-iversaries in March.

For over 25 years Robert has been a dedicated employee of HCC, and he’s still going strong!  Over the MLK Day long weekend our area was hit by a storm that knocked out power and cable in several areas.  Robert literally worked all weekend long on storm damage.  For two days he worked by himself, morning until night, performing repairs.  He had a great attitude about it the entire time.  When a manager asked him about it his response was “It’s alright.  I like to stay busy”.  Best response ever!

In March, several employees are celebrating work anniversaries- Dalton Hutson (1 year), Mikey Marshall (3 years), and Kacee Snyder (1 year).  Happy HCC-iversary!

Did Cable TV Eat My Lunch?

Posted on: February 26th, 2018 No Comments

You’ve definitely noticed that the price of cable TV goes up significantly each year!  And you may have wondered why.  You might have asked yourself why a small cable provider like HCC would keep raising prices at rates so much higher than inflation and with so many options in the market place.  From millennials to baby boomers more consumers are cutting the cord or at least looking for ways to save money.  So, is HCC out of touch and wanting to lose cable subscribers?

The short answer is no!  On the contrary, HCC continuously looks for ways to provide our customers with the quality services they want at an affordable price.  The problem with cable TV pricing comes down to content.  Unfortunately, cable Networks and local broadcasters (content providers) have taken the tact of demanding massive rate increases, coupled with carriage requirements, for their content with each contract negotiation.  These increases continue to pile up even with the assistance from expert negotiators, like those at the cable operator owned co-op that HCC belongs to.

At the same time that they are demanding higher rates from independent cable operators, many of those same networks and broadcasters are part of a media conglomerate (Comcast, Time Warner, AT&T etc).  So, while they are getting hit with increases from some content providers they are demanding their own increases from others.  So big money is demanding even more from other big money- a vicious cycle.  And the loser is the consumer and small cable operators.

Not all of the contracts expire in the same year.  But enough do, to necessitate a rate increase every year.  At the end of 2017 all of our local broadcaster (think Seattle stations) contracts had to be renewed.  The negotiations were brutal with prices more than doubling in some cases.  Just a few years ago these local channels were provided to cable companies at no charge- now they alone make up 24% of the programming costs.  Even if though these stations would be free to pick up with an antenna- HCC has to pay to provide them over our cable system.

Another trend is for content providers and media conglomerates to offer direct to consumer streaming platforms.  While this solution has many benefits the monthly price of these services quickly adds up to get all the programming you receive with traditional cable TV.  And streaming isn’t insulated from content rate increases.  As cable TV subscriptions decrease the content providers will continue to raise rates for streaming services in order to replace the lost revenue.

What does this mean all for our cable TV customers?  Unfortunately, a rate increase will happen at the beginning of April 2018.  The final details are still being calculated and negotiated.  But rest assured that HCC doesn’t take rate increases lightly.  Our company is comprised of locals- your friends and neighbors.  It is our policy to only raise cable rates enough to cover the increased costs of programming.

We invite customers to explore HCC IPTV as an affordable streaming option to cable TV.  It includes 23 local Seattle stations along with 50 music channels for under $25 per month.  If you have questions don’t hesitate to give us a call at 360.898.2481 or email us at info@hcc.net.

Spring Sun Outages

Posted on: February 26th, 2018 No Comments

What are sun outages and how do they affect HCC cable customers? In both the spring and fall, the sun passes behind certain communications satellites once per day.  During this time, the energy from the sun will overpower the signal from the satellite, causing loss of signal, tiling and no reception at all on several channels. This can last 2 to 3 weeks and causes channels to go black for a brief period of time.  Initially, outages will be gradual and slight, and can last 15-20 minutes at peak times.  On your television you may see the error messages, “one moment please, this channel will be available shortly,” error code SOAOO, or “no signal” during the time of an outage. Unfortunately, there is nothing that we can do to prevent sun outages from occurring.  All cable and satellite companies are affected by this semi-annual occurrence.  We apologize for this programming interruption.

Watch the brief video below, from another cable operator, that explains sun outages simply.

Copyright: abidal / 123RF Stock Photo

Mariners Preseason Schedule

Posted on: February 24th, 2018 No Comments

Below is the 2018 preseason schedule for the Mariners.

Reboot Vs Reset

Posted on: February 16th, 2018 No Comments

Reboot and reset- we hear these two words all the time when dealing with technology. To the non-techie ear, they may even sound synonymous. Whether you’re having trouble connecting to the wifi, getting your email on your iPad, or playing a show on your Roku, one common solution is- reboot the device. The popular Britcom The IT Crowd features the now infamous greeting “Hello IT, have you tried turning it off and on again?”

But that is exactly where the confusion lies. Devices like cable modems and routers typically have a reset button but not a reboot button. Have you ever wondered why the reset button is deeply recessed and requires a pen or similar implement to hit? That’s because it wasn’t intended to be used for everyday trouble shooting.

Rebooting the device is all that is required 99.9% of the time. “But how do I reboot the device?” you ask. The same way you boot the device. To boot a device means to turn it on. So, to reboot the device simply means to turn it off and then after a brief pause turn it back on again. When you’re specifically dealing with modems and routers this means to disconnect the electricity to the device and then after a brief pause (slowly count to 60) reconnect it.

Sometimes there’s a lot of cables and cords connected to a modem or router. The temptation may be to unhook them all- which can lead to other problems. The simplest way to circumvent this is to plug the modem or router in to a power strip with a power switch. Then you just flip the switch to power cycle it. However, if you don’t have a power strip you can simply follow the cord back to the power outlet and unplug/plug that cord from the back of the device.

Back to that reset button. What would it be used for? Think of it as the “factory reset” button. In the case modems or routers leased from HCC you would never need to use the reset button. HCC would only use the reset button once the device was returned to us to wipe the unique user settings that allowed it to provide your internet service.

If you’re talking about devices like phones, tablets, media streaming devices (Rokus, Fire TV, etc) you’ll still want to reboot the device for everyday trouble shooting. All devices occasionally get system updates. These updates can sometimes cause the device to act glitchy until they’ve been… rebooted. Some system updated even require that a reboot be performed (ever notice how Windows does this). In some extreme cases, like malware or overfull storage, you may want to perform a factory reset to get a clean slate. However, these are very rare, and you may want to get the advice of a professional. You can always call HCC technical support for a second opinion.

The take away is that rebooting is your friend and is the correct trouble shooting step 99.9% of the time. It just means to power down the device, giving it a chance to clear any errors, and then power it back on again, and reconnect to the network. Which is basically what Chris O’Dowd was saying in his flippant tagline “Hello IT, have you tried turning it off and on again”.

February Employee Spotlight

Posted on: January 30th, 2018 No Comments

Congratulations to Robin Redman our February Employee of the Month!

Robin is a rock star!  Recently a co-worker needed to send a piece of equipment to a customer on the other side of the county.  They didn’t know where to begin.  Robin just took care of it.  Her co-worker added that there has never been a single occasion that she hasn’t dropped what she was doing to answer rookie questions and  “I appreciate her sooo much!”.

Congratulations to the following HCC employees celebrating work anniversaries in February: Brett Fredson (1 year), Will Crossen (2 years), Jeannie Dragt (4 years), and Marti Depoe (18 years).  Happy HCC-iversary!

 

February Office Closure

Posted on: January 30th, 2018 No Comments

Our offices will be closed on Monday, February 19, for Presidents Day.  This national holiday was originally recognized President George Washington’s Birthday, but is now viewed as a day to honor all U.S. presidents past and present.

For after hours support please call 360.898.2481.

January Employee Spotlight

Posted on: January 2nd, 2018 No Comments

Congratulations to Travis Sheetz our January Employee of the Month.  Continue reading below to see why he’s being recognized by his peers!

Travis has been doing an amazing job of working with our inventory system.  He’s reorganized the inventory and obsoleted old items making it more user friendly.  Additionally he has taken on the immense task of updating the data in our mapping software.  He’s done these additional duties while continuing to do his regular work as an installer, including some after hours installations, without grumbling.  Keep up the good work Travis!

Congratulations to Darren Eisele on sixteen years at Hood Canal Communications in January.  Happy HCC-iversary!

January Office Closures

Posted on: January 2nd, 2018 No Comments

In honor of MLK Day, both of our offices will be closed on Monday, January 15.  Learn more about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the holiday in his honor at thekingcenter.org.

For after hours assistance please call 360.898.2481.

Net Neutrality Statement

Posted on: December 19th, 2017 No Comments

On December 14, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission voted to undo “net neutrality” rules that were implemented in 2015.  This change has caused much interest and excitement in the media and online.  However, at Hood Canal Communications it’s business as usual.  The company agrees that consumers should have unfettered access to the content on the Internet and consumer privacy should be protected by ISPs.

Additionally, Hood Canal Communications adheres to the following:

  • HCC doesn’t block or throttle consumer access to lawful content online.
  • HCC doesn’t share consumer data for any reason, including but not limited to marketing or resale to third parties, except when required by court order.
  • HCC doesn’t engage in unlawful or anticompetitive discrimination against websites, streaming services, and voice applications regardless if they compete with products offered by HCC, nor does the company offer pay-for-priority services.
  • HCC continues to invest in its network to meet the customers’ needs for internet speeds, capacity and services.

Designed & Produced by:

 Pivot Group marketing agency  

Basic's getting an upgrade

Beginning Tuesday, October 2, channels 2-70 are moving to digital only. A DTA will be required on each TV in order to continue to receive the full basic lineup. DTAs are available now at both HCC offices. Learn more at hcc.net/dta