As the year ends, it’s a perfect time to reflect on the past 365 days. 2021 was another busy year for us at WTC, all thanks to our incredible employees and loyal customers. We’re extremely grateful to have a positive impact on the communities we serve.
Let’s take a look back at a few highlights from the past year:
In early January, we announced plans to bring Fiber to the Eagles Landing subdivision of Blue Township. Our contractors broke ground on January 18th and we began cutting customers over to our Fiber network on May 4th, making this one of the fastest residential builds we’ve ever done!
The Eagles Landing community responded in a big way, as 72% of the community pre-signed for service before construction was complete.
Zeandale & Deep Creek:
A few miles South of Blue Township, residents of Southeast Riley County were without reliable Internet prior to 2021. After our successful application for a Broadband Acceleration Grant from the State of Kansas, WTC began to take Fiber to homes and small businesses within a 30 square mile radius in the Zeandale and Deep Creek areas.
One of the requirements of the Broadband Acceleration Grant was that the project must have been completed within one year. After breaking ground in March, customers began receiving fast, reliable Fiber Internet by September.
“Being able to build a complete fiber network in less than one year shows WTC’s dedication to bringing broadband to our rural communities,” stated Jeff Wick, General Manager of WTC. “This is a big win for the residents, as they now have a fiber optic network that will provide the speed and bandwidth necessary to support telehealth, remote schooling and simultaneous connections. This will also help support their economic development efforts as well,” Wick added.
In March of 2021, we called upon the community by crowd sourcing a cover photo for our 2021-22 Area Directory. To little surprise, the immense talent in our community came through. We received over 160 photo submissions of various landmarks and scenery from all over our service area.
The winning photo, featuring the Kansas River on an icy winter day, was taken by Angie Eichem Delapp. Runner-up photographers were Claire Alexander Sylvester, Jason Balver, Amy McLemore, and Shianne Shelton. The winning photographer was awarded $500, and the four runner-ups received $100 each.
By April, though we were already hard at work building out our Fiber network to multiple communities, we did not rest on our pursuit of bringing broadband to rural communities. On April 22nd, after 70% of the Rossville community pre-signed for WTC Fiber, we officially announced that Rossville would be the newest beneficiary of our Fiber Optic network.
By September, Rossville residents were able to stream TV online without buffering, instantly download movies and music, enjoy crystal clear HDTV, upload and download large files in a flash, and work in the “cloud” at unprecedented speeds - the likes of which this rural community had not seen before.
For Rossville, the days of using cellular hotspots to work online or leaving the house to access reliable Internet were history. They can now work and learn online with ease, from the comfort of their own homes.
April also brought some exciting news involving the Aggieville Business District in Manhattan. Utilizing our Fiber build that brought high quality Voice, Video, and Internet services to many of the businesses in Manhattan, WTC announced plans to bring Free Wi-Fi to Aggieville.
By providing Free Wi-Fi, it is our intent to contribute to the Aggieville Business Association’s mission of attracting visitors to the district, as well as providing broadband access to students undergoing online coursework.
Sharing Success Program:
Through a partnership with CoBank, we stayed true to our pillar of giving back to the communities we serve. CoBank’s Sharing Success Program helped us award four local organizations with financial assistance for special projects.
These four organizations were Pawnee Mental Health Services, Community Care Ministries, Boys and Girls Club of Manhattan, and the Wabaunsee County Fair. Each was awarded $5,000 ($2,500 from WTC, and a $2,500 match from CoBank).
WTC Family Day:
Over the summer, our employee team and their families gathered for our annual WTC Family Day. This year’s event took place at the Wamego City Park, where we ate together at the train depot, then walked to the Wamego Aquatic Center for a swim.
Because we all have busy lives, it can be difficult to get our team and their families together in one place. When we are all able to come together and enjoy non-work activities, it always makes for a special day! We’re already looking forward to our WTC Family Day in Summer 2022.
As the football season kicked off last fall, we wanted to give back to our followers on social media. We developed a point system of various types of social media engagement and opened a 6-week Tailgate Giveaway Contest for WTC customers.
This was extremely well received, with well over 100 participants. At the end of the 6 weeks, we gave away over $900 in prizes to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place finishers.
WTC Fiber Cup:
Over the past few years, we’ve all been able to witness the rapid rise of competitive eSports. As an Internet provider, we’re cognizant of this trend and have often considered ways to create opportunities around it. After all, fast Fiber Internet and online gaming go hand-in-hand.
The perfect opportunity to get involved with eSports came about in 2021, as we were asked to assist the A.Q. Miller School of Journalism at Kansas State University in hosting the first ever competitive eSports tournament at K-State.
The event took place in Forum Hall at the K-State Student Union, where we provided Fiber Internet, gaming equipment, and prizes for the winning teams. The inaugural WTC Fiber Cup was the first of many eSports tournaments involving WTC as competitive gaming becomes more and more popular in the future.
In November, we treated our residential customers to a nice Internet upgrade. While most Internet providers only advertise their download speeds and provide a much lower upload speed, we made the decision to move to matching upload and download speeds.
Upload speeds control how fast data is sent from your network to others. This is crucial for eLearning, video calling, video streaming, Voice over IP (VoIP) telephone service, and much more.
We believe our customers deserve the very best we can offer, which is why we made the decision to upgrade every residential customer to symmetrical upload and download speeds.
5 Days of Gigmas:
To close out the year, we ran a huge holiday giveaway on social media, with $600 worth of prizes. Each weekday on the week of December 13-17, we gave out prizes to those who liked and commented on our social media posts. The prizes increased in value each day as the week went on.
With over 2,000 likes, comments, and shares throughout the week, the 5 Days of Gigsmas was a great success. We love giving back to those who keep up and engage with us on social media, and we look forward to giving away even more in 2022!
It was a fast and fun year at WTC, and all credit for that goes to our incredible employees, our loyal customers, and the amazing communities we’re fortunate enough to serve. From all of us at WTC, we want to say THANK YOU to those mentioned above. You make our business go, and we truly would not be where we are without you.
Thanks for reading, and we wish you a prosperous 2022!
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