By Laura Withers, VP─Strategic Communications
Few things are more enlightening for people who don’t live in a rural community than visiting a small town to see what life is like. Staff members from the NTCA Arlington, Va., and Asheville, N.C., offices had the chance to do just that during a recent visit to Shentel (Edinburg, Va.) as part of a retreat to Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley.
Shentel was founded in 1902 and now serves more than 1 million subscribers across its telephone, cable television, and wireless and fiber-optic Internet services. The Shentel team rolled out the red carpet for us, providing guided tours of the company’s headquarters, including a small museum that celebrates its history, and the original central office in Edinburg, Va., which serves as a central service hub for the company’s vast network stretching into West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Kentucky.
Shentel’s diverse service offerings are very impressive for a company with such humble beginnings, but what is even more impressive is how the company has continued to embrace its “smile and go” approach to customer and community service amid much growth over the years.
Here are some of the facts NTCA staff learned about Shentel:
- Shentel operates 5,900 miles of fiber and is investing even more in its broadband network through a new GloFiber service that will offer customers in several underserved areas more choices for home and business Internet.
- More than 2,000 cell sites across a wide area from Harrisburg, Va., to parts of Pennsylvania and West Virginia are served through Shentel’s central office in Edinburg, whose population was 1,041 at the 2010 census.
- Shentel’s Network Operations Center monitors over 12,000 nodes and generates more than 11,000 trouble tickets and 17,000 calls per year. The center also handles all communications for the local power company during service outages and inclement weather.
- A mobile C.O.W. (“Cell on Wheels”) operated by Shentel provides additional cellular capacity during James Madison University football games and other popular events across the Valley.
- Shentel will spend $6 million in marketing this year for radio, digital and social media messages, plus community events and grassroots engagement, in support of its many offerings, including prepaid and postpaid mobile services provided through partnerships with Sprint and Boost Mobile.
Thank you, Shentel, for showing us such a great time!