At NocTel, we believe that fostering community is essential, both in our internal team structure, as well as with our users, and the broader community to which we belong. This year has shown us the importance of building and caring for our communities while finding new ways to stay connected. A crisis can bring out the worst in people, but it also can bring out the best, especially when people ask, "what can I do to help?" Encouraged and guided by our team leader, Cory, "what can we do to help" has been our slogan as we work to find innovative ways to help.
Empowering Teachers and Schools
As COVID and social distancing became part of our everyday world and vernacular, we had to learn to adapt to face the unknown. As schools closed to protect staff and students' health, the question became, how do you teach remotely? How does staff stay connected to each other and students?
To help with the transition and strain, NocTel decided to offer our recently released mobile softphone app Go, to educators at no service charge and reduced usage cost in what we called EduGo. We started by reaching out to our current users in the education sector, helping them quickly stand up hundreds of Go apps. Go allowed them to connect with the NocTel Talk system already in place at school facilities while working remotely. Go offered teachers and staff a way to communicate with their teams and students while maintaining a professional and unified communication front from home. NocTel also reached out to other schools to offer what assistance we could with remote communication via Go and help several schools onboard Go users. We also worked on and launched a twinning feature to help existing NocTel users link their new mobile softphone with their existing desk phone system for an easy setup and transition.
Empowering Students and People to Work and Learn from Home
Communication requires two sides, so even if your school has the means to empower remote learning, it does no good if your connection to the outside world is limited or nonexistent. Many homes in the US, especially in rural areas, have little or no access to a high-speed broadband internet provider. Seeing a need for a high-speed provider in our backyard, NocTel stepped up to expand our Fiber network in the Washougal area. Since the start of the year, NocTel Fiber has more than tripled the number of connected homes on our network and laid miles of fiber cables to expand and grow our network. NocTel Fiber's growth has allowed many remote users to stay connected with their school or work during this difficult time.
Restoring Communication to those Affected by Natural Disasters
This year there has been a record for the number of devastating fires, forcing whole communities to leave their towns behind. As those displaced people return, they find infrastructure, such as standard phone lines and cell towers destroyed, cutting off key communication. Oregon Internet Response is a team of local volunteers building communication solutions for communities affected by disasters. They have done great work standing up temporary wireless Internet while new fiber lines are being installed. Because of their work, it has allowed a connection for NocTel to help! In several locations, NocTel has stepped in to help schools and businesses stand up an emergency interface with their old phone systems and port numbers to allow communication via NocTel Talk's Hosted VoIP service. We hope that this small action helps these businesses and communities stay connected as they work to rebuild their communities.
Keep Helping Others.
We here at NocTel are a close-knit team, and working on overcoming obstacles only strengthens that bond and make us better. Working together strengthens us all and makes our community better places. We hope that these few examples of NocTel assisting in the community make you think about how you or your business can help make your community a better place.