By Jim Pilgrim

I’ve joined the club. West Central Telephone Association just today cut me over from copper to their new FTTH network.

There are a couple of odd circumstances that stand out to me in the event. The first is where it is. I’m not sure I would have guessed that I would have FTTH at my farm house, in very rural Minnesota, before my home in a Minneapolis suburb. Secondly, I’ve been in the telecom industry for 32 years and the last 5 of that have been very specific to the FTTH market where I work with engineering consultants on FTTH designs and products.

So now I have the end result, premiere service, from the industry that I have been dedicated to serve for the past 5 years. Very cool!

I always thought of my farm as a sanctuary away from being “connected”. I would rather be working outside, cutting wood for my wood-burning stove or 4 wheeling, snowmobiling, or hunting on the wooded 230 acres. I got by just fine with a single landline and satellite TV, with nothing more than dial-up capability for data. I always thought that would be good enough. But last fall when I found out WCTA was passing me with fiber; I decided to take the triple-play bundle. Give it a try, support my industry. I couldn’t be happier.

3 techs came out and installed the NID in my basement, ran Cat5E to my 2 TV set-top boxes. They configured the wireless router that is integrated in the NID, set up the security, and we were rolling. I got the basic package which includes all the TV channels I wanted, landline, and 5mb/s downstream and 1mb/s upstream data. All for $99/month, free installation and equipment.

The TV picture was clean and crisp, my laptop loved the data speeds, and my phone line worked. Life is good.

Don’t tell my boss, but I may be working from home a little more now, my home in the woods.

I’m on an Active Ethernet network. So when I’m a grandpa, hopefully not for several more years, I can have WCTA crank up my bandwidth and download 3D videos of my grandkids playing basketball. Don’t laugh, it’s going to happen. I’ve joined the club and I am very happy with the membership. I’m one of 6 million homes that are connected with FTTH across our country. There are about 18 million homes passed, not sure what they are waiting for.

5% of American homes have been connected and 17% have been passed. So I’m in the club early.

I guess I better get up out of my chair on the porch, take my laptop and head back to Minneapolis and go to work; or maybe not.