- The growth of fiber throughout Cumberland County with District Office Manager Tommy Brown and Business Sales Representative Rosa Smith.
- Why do I need the Ben Lomand Home App and what does it do?
- The latest in the Connection Magazine and area events in May.
- Phobia trivia with Micah and much more!
Transcripts are lightly edited for clarity and readability.
Bryan Kell: Welcome to the BLC Connection Podcast. I’m Bryan Kell.
Karen Wilson: I’m Karen Wilson.
Micah Lawrence: And I’m Micah Lawrence.
All Hosts: Let’s get connected.
Bryan Kell: Welcome back to the BLC Connection Podcast, episode number four — The Search for Spock. And we have found ourselves inside Cumberland County. Micah and Karen, welcome to the golf capital of Tennessee.
Karen Wilson: Thank you. I love Crossville.
Micah Lawrence: Super excited.
Bryan Kell: We got a good meal on the way down. And, you know, it’s fitting that we are in the golf capital of Tennessee. It’s the first day of the Masters that we’re recording this on. So a big day for golf. And so, and we’re even going to talk about another type of golf maybe a little bit later on. In this episode, a lot going on as we broadcast kind of live to tape from the Crossville office. We want to say that in this episode, Karen, we’re going to have some stuff on The Connection Magazine and events in May.
Karen Wilson: Yes, lots of information coming up on The Connection Magazine, wonderful businesses in the Crossville area and Bon Air area that are spotlighted in the magazine. So we’ll get into that.
Bryan Kell: Also, Micah, we’re going to talk about why do folks need the Ben Lomand app?
Micah Lawrence: Absolutely. We’ve talked about the GigaSpires, so now we get to talk about the companion app that goes along with it.
Bryan Kell: All right. So we’ll be taking a deep dove into those things. But up next, we’re taking you inside Cumberland County with district manager Tommy Brown and business sales representative LaRosa Smith. All that and so much more coming up here on the BLC Connection Podcast.
Bryan Kell: We are once again here at the Crossville office here at Ben Lomand Connect, and we are joined now at this time by a district manager for Crossville and Cumberland County, Tommy Brown and ace Business Sales Representative Rosa Smith. Welcome in the BLC Connection podcast, gang.
Micah Lawrence: Thanks, Bryan.
Bryan Kell: All right. First of all, Tommy, you’re up, okay.
Tommy Brown: Okay.
Bryan Kell: So, you know, you’ve been now district manager here in Crossville about a year. Getting close to it. Talk about maybe what you’ve learned as district manager over the past 365 days or so.
Tommy Brown: Okay. I’ve learned that Crossville is the fourth largest landmass county in the state of Tennessee.
Bryan Kell: It’s a big one.
Tommy Brown: And it ranks 22nd in population in the state of Tennessee. And from everything I’ve seen so far, it’s not doing anything but continuing to grow. And I also have seen that we have come upon some a lot of underserved areas in the county, and our plans are to serve them in the near future.
Bryan Kell: Yeah, well, and you talk about growth, and you talk about Cumberland County. There’s been a lot of growth in personnel here at the Cumberland County Crossville office, staff, contractors. Talk about how things are ramping up and have been over the past year over here.
Tommy Brown: Okay. We’ve been including myself since last year, we’ve hired one other I&R tech, and the coming year we’re going to get to hire another CSR and another I&R tech. And we’ve put in the grant…
Bryan Kell: For folks that — I&R we can throw around stuff — install and repair. Just want to in case anybody is curious.
Tommy Brown: And from all the grants that we’re doing up here this year, we have 45 contractors working up here, working on grants. 28 of them are aerial crews, 11 buried, four splicers and two installers. So we’ve got 45 contractors working up here, working on grant areas.
Bryan Kell: It’s crazy busy up here, isn’t it? It really is.
Micah Lawrence: All right. So, Rosa, we know you’re a longtime Cumberland County resident. Talk about the changes of growth that you’re seeing throughout the business and residential communities, plus the old VolFirst days until let’s say, today.
Rosa Smith: So, yeah, I’m a longtime Cumberland County resident. I love Cumberland County. VolFirst initially came to Crossville with a focus to provide services to businesses within the city limits of Crossville. At that time, we offered analog dial tone lines through copper hardwired PBX systems, and believe it or not, dial up services. And residential customers would come in was so excited about coming in and getting their disc to connect to dial up. Within a couple of years we started including DSL connections, 2.0 megs to 5.0 megs, and these were offered to business customers within that city limits. Business customers began to grow with Ben Lomand. Y’all remember “A Field of Dreams,” what was the most popular saying in Field of Dreams?
Bryan Kell: “If you build it, he will come.”
Rosa Smith: Yes. Ben Lomand Connect started offering fiber to the home. So with that, of course, we started to reach out to residential areas at that time, and also businesses. In 2020, the world changed as we all know. The horrible pandemic of COVID-19 came. This affected how businesses and residential customers operated. Technology was needed. Ben Lomand Fiber made it possible for businesses and residential customers to continue to operate. Ben Lomand businesses and residential customers continue to increase, with Cumberland County being the highest number of business customers.
Micah Lawrence: So Rosa, you know, we’ve talked about before on here about how fiber in our area is kind of uncommon through like bigger cities and things like that. And, you know, people say, “Oh, you’re given gig/gig.” What’s been your experience with talking to these businesses? You know, when you say, “Hey, we only offer one speed. It’s gig/gig.” And, you know, $57.95. What do you hearing them say from that?
Rosa Smith: With businesses, they’re shocked that Cumberland County can provide such support, such high speed and the technology that they need to be able to operate at such a great price.
Micah Lawrence: Sure. What kind of business are you seeing utilize these fast speeds and you know, who’s saying, you know, I need as much bandwidth as you can give me?
Rosa Smith: Believe it or not, your small mom and pop businesses are needing the high technology just as much as your higher school systems, medical practices, real estate agents. They’re all needing that technology to be able to continue to operate.
Micah Lawrence: Great.
Bryan Kell: Once again, we’re glad to be here in the Crossville office doing this BLC Connection Podcast here in Cumberland County, and Tommy Brown and Rosa Smith have joined us. Tommy, you talked about growth, and you can’t talk about growth in Cumberland County without talking about the grants that Ben Lomand has been fortunate to be able to be a part of, and ones that we are still putting in for. So talk about, give us an update for folks that are listening that are curious around the area. What’s the latest on grants with Cumberland County?
Tommy Brown: Well, as you well know, we’ve currently received five grants, one of those being Sunset Ridge. And we have a 95% penetration in that area. We’re doing Highway 127, which is the first ECD grant, and we’ve hooked up to remotes there already, and we have a 73% take rate and a 67% take rate in the two remotes that we’ve hooked up.
Bryan Kell: Just so in case people are curious, the ECD grant, that’s the state grant, economic development grant on that side.
Tommy Brown: Correct. We’ve also got three other remotes in the first grant that we’re in the process of hooking up. And then the second ECD grant, we’re in the process of setting three vaults in that area and also some of the CS25 is going to have 1,152 fibers leaving it. 26 is going to have 936, and CS39 is going to have 936. So we’re setting vaults at all three of these locations because if you go sometimes if you go above 750, they want you to sort of vault instead of a remote. And now when you’re setting a vault, it’s going to be an 8×12 structure, eight foot wide and 12 foot long. And it has everything like the remote in the cross connect tab, but it’s all inside it. So it gives you a better sense of having more equipment and stuff to work with inside.
Bryan Kell: It’s way more fibers going into it.
Tommy Brown: Way more fibers going into it.
Micah Lawrence: And correct me if I’m wrong with vaults and remotes, you know, vaults are more temperature controlled. You know, able to house more equipment. Of course, with more equipment means more heat.
Tommy Brown: It does.
Micah Lawrence: So there is a big difference between a vault and a remote.
Tommy Brown: You’re right, the remotes run off of a single fan to keep them cool and the actual vaults will run off of a huge fan that’s located on the back. And like you say, it does keep better air conditioning and better heating during the summer and the winter.
Bryan Kell: In the last podcast, both board president Roger Bynum and vice president of the board Cain Rogers spoke about how important Cumberland County is to Ben Lomand and being able to cover as much as we can. I daresay that we are probably still applying for grants to help with that. Do you want to kind of give us a little bit of maybe of a tease as far as just how how much we’re looking to try to cover in Cumberland County?
Tommy Brown: Correct. We have put in for one ECD grant and a Reconnect grant for this coming year. And they’re fairly large.
Bryan Kell: Sizable, okay.
Tommy Brown: And actually they sort of somewhat overlap. The Reconnect and the ECD grants that we put in for. So if, you know, if we don’t per se get one, we can get the other. And so that is something we have put in for.
Micah Lawrence: So Rosa, we’re learning that fiber is being built out great in Cumberland County. We know that you have a lot of businesses that you have to deal with. What are some of the biggest questions that businesses, business customers, ask and how can BLC help with with these questions? How can we answer that?
Rosa Smith: So one of the questions that I get a lot is “Is Ben Lomand Connect a local company?” So you go out and business customers are actually looking for someone to do service with that’s going to have that local support. And so, I’m really excited to say to them that absolutely the corporate office is located in McMinnville, Tennessee. Another question I get a lot is “What services can Ben Lomand offer me?” What all can we do? Can we include everything in one bill? Can we provide all the services that they need? So I totally let them know. Ben Lomand specializes in fiber optic services that can deliver voice, data, TV service. We offer security cameras and also managed services.
Micah Lawrence: Oh, I like that managed IT.
Bryan Kell: I’m not familiar with this managed IT service. We’ll have to learn more about that later.
Rosa Smith: And so, they also if they have a problem with any of our products and services, can they talk to someone locally? Ben Lomand Connect offers a network support system that’s open 24/7. We have a local phone number that they can call and talk to local people. And another thing that I get with businesses, they’re totally excited about coming on board, but they want to know if we can provide service to their residential home. So what I explain to them is we continue to expand our services. We verify we can provide service to a certain location. They can call our local office 931-484-5097 or stop by our office and our customer service reps would be happy to assist them in looking at their areas.
Micah Lawrence: So Rosa, one of the services that we provide, we call it hosted. Some people might have heard it called Voice over IP or VoIP. And I know you deal with a lot of business customers. Why is this important to them? What is VoIP? You know, why would a business even want something like this?
Rosa Smith: So VoIP or hosted, VoIP is voice over Internet protocol. It is a technology that allows you to make voice calls using a broadband Internet connection instead of an analog phone line. 2020 VoIP allow businesses to continue to work during this pandemic that we were in. The VoIP allow business customers to work remotely, follow CDC guidelines during that time. VoIP also can connect multiple locations together while saving big money and not paying for analog lines.
Micah Lawrence: So when someone asks for hosted, or they ask for VoIP, what do you think is the biggest selling feature of this service that, you know, they’re like, “Man, we just love this part of it.”
Rosa Smith: First of all, I think with businesses, it allows them to connect multiple locations together. They can dial three digit extensions from other locations. They can operate it from their cell phones. It’s cloud based, so they can pull it up at any location.
Micah Lawrence: So no more big, huge, you know, PBX boxes in their closets in the back.
Rosa Smith: Correct. And they love that they have control over their system.
Bryan Kell: Oh, yes.
Rosa Smith: And so they can log in at any time if they have, especially, God forbid, a disaster is totally big for them on disaster recovery.
Micah Lawrence: Yeah, I know a lot of the customers we’ve talked to before, you know, they like the idea that let’s say a big snow comes, and they just can’t quite get to the office. The old way of having to do it is you have to drive all the way to the office. You have to forward the phones or change the phones, whatever you have to do there. But then to now be able to sit at your house and make the change to the phone to say, all right, today we want it to ring our cell phones because we just can’t make it to the office. I’d say that’s a great feature that they like.
Rosa Smith: Absolutely. And already having a prerecorded message that they can upload within seconds to state that they’ve had to close due to bad weather. So businesses love that.
Micah Lawrence: Absolutely. So, Rosa, I know you love selling.
Rosa Smith: I love it.
Micah Lawrence: I know you enjoy it. I can see it in your face. Your customers know it. What is your favorite part of selling our services?
Rosa Smith: I have lots of favorites about selling Ben Lomand products and services. However, the most important I would have to say is having a product that most business and residential customers need, and that’s the fiber optic services.
Tommy Brown: Great.
Bryan Kell: Tommy, and really I’ll start with you on just overall, but then I’ll pivot over to Rosa too, in case folks want to know, from a business someone is listening to this and want to know how to get a hold of on the business side. But if somebody is wanting to know more about our services, how to get in touch with us, especially, “Hey, is fiber coming to me? Is not coming to me?” We definitely know they like to reach out through Facebook messenger and things like that. But how, what is the preferred way for somebody in Cumberland County to say, “Hey, are you guys coming to me?” Or what’s the latest?
Tommy Brown: What they simply need to do is just call into the girls, and they will be able to tell them whether they’re in an area we already serve or whether they’re in an area that we’re going to try to serve with a grant or whatever would be the first thing I would do. And we’ll have some kind of answer to give them. It may not always be the one that they want to hear, but some of them end up in an area that we don’t currently serve, you know?
Bryan Kell: So be sure and just reach out here locally at the office. There’s great folks here to be able to do that. I’ll pivot to you now, Rosa. You cover not only Cumberland County. I think I’m still right on this, White county and also Van Buren as well. So if somebody’s listening to a business person and they’re curious about Ben Lomand services, what can they do to be able to talk to you about their business services?
Rosa Smith: So they can always reach out to me at the 484-5097. As for me, if I’m not available, we also have a business team of inside sales reps that can speak with them. Leave a message for me, and we can get back with them.
Bryan Kell: Yeah. Here’s the biggest thing. There’s a team. There’s a team working on the business side of things. There’s a team working with residential customers. Ben Lomand has tried to beef up over over the years the amount of folks to be able to help, whether it’s a business or residential customer with information. And that’s key.
Rosa Smith: Absolutely.
Bryan Kell: All right. Well, guys, thank you all so much. We’re going to let you guys get back to work. And thank you for allowing us to come to the Crossville office today.
Rosa Smith: Thank you.
Tommy Brown: Thank you.
Bryan Kell: All right. Thank you, guys.
Karen Wilson: This is the BLC Connection Podcast, and it is time for our Connected Home segment. I’m Karen Wilson, and Micah and Brian are back educating us on a powerful tool to have in your arsenal of apps, the Ben Lomand Home app. So welcome back, guys. You had a great segment with Rosa and Tommy from the Crossville office. That was very informative. Let’s start with something light and kind of fun. Micah, let’s start with you. If you had to live or die by an app on your phone, what do you love that is your favorite app?
Micah Lawrence: So I’d say right now I am enjoying an app called UDisc. And what this is, is my brother and I, since probably August, we’ve picked up the sport of disc golf. Very similar to golf golf.
Micah Lawrence: Golf golf. I love that. That’s good.
Micah Lawrence: But it’s using Frisbees, not not quite the same size as normal Frisbees, but there’s, like my bag has probably got 20 different disc in them in each one do something different. You know, I might need the disc to go, right. I might need to go left. I might need it to roll on the ground. You know, there’s lots of different discs. You know, there’s one that’s meant to throw really far, and there’s one meant to be kind of like a putter, you know,
Karen Wilson: Like a club.
Micah Lawrence: For a close shot. So what the UDisc app does, it first of all, it keeps up with all kinds of disc golf courses around the US. And in particular there’s one here in Crossville. It’s very recent. I think it just came online probably last year, sometime. Maybe the end of last year and, you know, shows us how to get there. You know, how many holes of golf are there, you know, whether it’s nine or 18 or even more than that. What also I like about it is when someone goes and plays there, it asks you, well, what are the conditions here? You know, like, are they keeping it mowed? Are they, you know, is there construction maybe going around here, and you can put whether it’s fair, horrible? You know, my brother and I played one in Nashville that, you know, if you weren’t careful, the mosquitoes would take your disc off because there were so many.
Micah Lawrence: I mean, it was awful because it was kind of in a swamp area. So, you know, you can give reviews of golf course so that, you know, is this worth going to drive to? I will tell you, the one here in Crossville is definitely a nice course, definitely cool to see. And most of the courses around here in this area don’t cost you a thing to go and play. So great thing during the pandemic when we were dealing with that. Then also now just to get outside. Good thing to take kids. It’s really easy to do, you know, lots of fun. So this app is what I use to do. It keeps up with our scoring, keeps up with any events that might be happening around the area. It’s really great. You can even measure how far your throws are.
Bryan Kell: I was going to say distance is a big part of that too.
Micah Lawrence: It keeps up your distance keeps up with how many — you can even mark where you threw it on a map like a Google map. You can keep up with what discs are in your bag. There’s so many different things you can do, but extremely handy for me right now.
Karen Wilson: Good. That sounds like fun. And, you know, disc golf. And we’re in golf golf world here in Crossville too, so perfect fit. Bryan, what about to you, what do you look at on a daily basis?
Bryan Kell: Karen’s not going to be surprised by this one, but I’m a big music guy. Go figure. And but Spotify. That Spotify app that I’ve got. I love the fact that you can be able to like your own songs and kind of bring those in and download them to your phone for easy access. If you ever do find yourself in an area to where you don’t have WiFi access, you’re not connected. Then, they’re already sitting there. I think I’ve got — this probably tells how big of an addict I am — but I think I’ve got 3,100 songs just in the stuff that I like. But what I really love about it is based on your likes, they’ll make suggestions to you, whether it’s the Discover weekly drops that they do. Hey, you like these kind of songs? So here’s some new stuff that’s coming out that you might like. Or here are some ones that you might have missed that maybe have fallen through the cracks. And so it’s a really cool — for folks that really like music — it’s a great way to both experience new music, but then also take you back to your driving the strip days back in, you know, in McMinnville and all that kind of stuff. Or, you know, just kind of relive some great moments in times through music and also, like we said, discover some new stuff. So yeah, my Spotify app is. Sirius XM is also pretty close too because they do a lot of countdowns. But yes, if I’m on a desert island, it needs to be Spotify.
Micah Lawrence: So is that when you were out on the strip with your horse and buggy and?
Bryan Kell: Yes.
Micah Lawrence: Was it that long ago?
Bryan Kell: Yes, it was that long and yeah, my Edsel too, from time to time. Yeah, it was that.
Karen Wilson: Well, apps certainly have, I think, made a huge impact. I can remember just, you know, what didn’t seem like but a few years ago I was like an app, what’s an app? And now they are so handy from banking to ordering food to all kinds of different things, I mean. There is an app to keep up with your fitness, to keep up with everything. My guilty pleasure that I should not fess up about is Mobile Patrol.
Bryan Kell: Oh, wow. Yeah, there’s a lot of people that look at that. Yeah.
Karen Wilson: That’s terrible. But all of them are a lot of fun. And not just fun. Very practical, too. So let’s talk about, I guess, with the Ben Lomand Home app, what services work in conjunction with the app.
Bryan Kell: Okay. So this is a perfect companion to our one speed, one price, gig/gig connection for homes. And so this gives you an ability to take control of some of the things that in the past people like Micah had to help you with. And I know he’s going to talk about some of that stuff later on, but yes, it is built for that fiber experience when it comes down to managing devices, being able to look at connection quality, to be able to look at receiving information, important information. So it works in conjunction with that. I’ll hit on a few things here and then, you know, but when it comes down to — I’ll mention notifications. If there is a outage that is over a significant portion of our territory or you know, that’s going on, especially sometimes if you’re at work during the day, it would help if you’ve got this app to be able to receive a push notification to come through to say, “Hey, by the way, in your area in White County, currently there is an outage being experienced. We have personnel.” Micah’s been one of those folks working on that kind of stuff. And we are, you know, that can help save phone calls. It can help save — you feel like you are getting the latest information straight to us. You’re not having to listen to another person tell you that, hoping that you hear it on any number of different platforms like Facebook or Twitter or even Instagram. It’s coming straight to you. So that is a very valuable piece that it allows us to speak to the customer directly to their cell phone or to their smartphone. I can see just by jumping on this app that it is connected, that I’m connected, and I’ve got connection at the house. And yeah, like I said, just the ability to be able to work in conjunction with our fiber is so very key.
Karen Wilson: Okay, let’s go back to the ability, or start I guess with the ability to change your network profile. Which is very handy, and then you can add and remove devices. Let’s start with what a profile is. Are profiles people in our homes?
Bryan Kell: They sure are. Yeah. So with with my particular profile, I’ve got me. I’ve got my wife, and I’ve got my son. And so if I want to, I can create a profile. I can grab any picture I want to have to represent that – or image – to represent that person. And I can move devices underneath each of those different profiles. If my wife has an Apple Watch, then I can put that under there. Now, why is that important? First of all, it groups everything together to the devices somebody uses. It can also be very helpful too if you have younger children. I don’t think I would do this to my 22 year old, but if I wanted to shut down Internet access to his devices, I can do that. And so it helps with being able to keep people, you know, focused on homework and all of the stuff that Micah has been kind of probably having to go through with his young daughter. But, yes, it makes for really easy access to be able to take a look at someone’s devices. Are they connected? What’s the connection quality that’s there? So very easy to be able to gain access to for management. And while some people may not need a lot of that type management, we have tons of people I know that work within our offices that are raising kids or grandkids and focus can be a problem at times and being able to get focused on the things that you want done, whether it’s housework or homework or things like that, that can play a big part of just saying, you know what, we’re not going to allow any Internet access to these devices, right Micah?
Micah Lawrence: Absolutely. You know, there’s going to be times when, you know, you’re not for sure about what some of these devices are. Being able to group them and know them as you add them helps a whole lot because then when some new device comes online, you know, (1) not only will you get a notification saying that a new device came online, but also you can you can say, “Oh, what is that? Maybe I need to go track that down to find out who that is, or what just got put on my network.”
Bryan Kell: Yeah. And Micah has probably seen this before to where taking phone calls and saying, “I think that my neighbor might have access.” So, I mean, sometimes neighbors are very friendly with each other, and they share information like, “Oh, sure, jump on my network, and that’s not a problem.” And then there’s a falling out and you don’t want that your neighbor to have access. And so when you see that device, and you get that push notification going. “I don’t know what this is.” Maybe you need to change your network password. We’ll talk more about how to do that, I guess a little bit.
Karen Wilson: Yeah, I thought that was an interesting feature because sometimes we have, you know, we want to change our password and stuff. And so the app also gives us the ability to do that.
Micah Lawrence: That’s right. So one of the things that we had when we were taking tech support calls early on, when wireless first started becoming very popular, is, you know, how do I change my password? Because if anybody has seen any of the passwords to not just our routers but anybody else’s, they are awfully long. Gibberish. They usually make no sense whatsoever. And the ability to change it once it’s installed, we didn’t have access to do that. So what we’ve done with this is you have the ability to go in there and to change it, to be whatever you want it to be. That way, you know, you can remember it, you can share it with people. You know, you don’t have to have this big, long, massive code hidden somewhere and have to go find that paper just to get some new device online. So this makes it very valuable for for being able to share that password.
Karen Wilson: Speaking of new devices, we all have guests that come in our home, especially as our teenagers or family members come and spend the day or spend the evening, and they want to utilize our Wi-Fi. And I know there’s a way with this app you can give them access without releasing your password to them. How does that work?
Micah Lawrence: Yeah. So with this, you have the ability to create a guest network. And, you know, a lot of people say, “Well, why don’t I just, why don’t I just give them my password, and be done with it? I don’t really care.” Well, what a lot of people don’t also understand is, is people unintentionally bring in devices that could be infected. And what this allows you to do is most guest networks are segregated from everything else. So that way you can give them a password to their own network, a password in which you can set that’s not the same as yours. So you also have a lot of other features, and I’m talking a little bit beyond Ben Lomand home, but you know, you have features where if it is a guest network, you can restrict how much bandwidth they use. Because you know, most businesses that have a guest network, you don’t want one user like let’s say in a hotel, one user using all the bandwidth. So guest networks are important, and I would recommend people use them. Even if it’s a family member you trust, it’s just let’s set up a guest network just in case, keep them separated. And the good thing about Ben Lomand Home is you can have full control of this. You can set this up in the app where traditionally, you know, before this you couldn’t really do that unless you had some networking experience on how to set that up. And so that’s the beauty of Ben Lomand Home is, is it’s taken, you know, someone that does not have networking certifications and allowing them to make the changes that they need to.
Bryan Kell: And the beautiful part about this is, too, is that you can do this in a one time setup situation. So if you want this just to come on for one day, for a few hours, great, set it up to do that. It comes on a certain time, goes off at a certain time. If you want to set up for a weekend, set up for a weekend. Set it up to go on Friday and off on Sunday, and you do all that and it’ll just take care of it. So like Micah said, if you’ve got guests coming over, you’ve got a weekend slumber party with the kids or something, set it up for the kids to be able to do that, and it just comes on and goes away. So it’s beautiful.
Micah Lawrence: Yeah. And Bryan mentioned schedules so, you know, so that people understand another feature of this is, you can set schedules of when that wireless network is available. And this is important. And the reason why it’s important is because when you have kids at home that, let’s say after, I don’t know, 9:00 or so, there’s no need for them to be on the Internet. You can shut that off to where they can’t get on it. You know, 9:00 rolls around, you better get off your game because it’s going to quit immediately.
Bryan Kell: That tablet is not going to connect.
Micah Lawrence: Your tablet is not going to connect. So you have that ability to do that. Or, you know, as I mentioned in one of our other podcasts that if you want to set it up to where you can change passwords or change schedules and to the point where you say, “Hey, clean your room. Once you clean your room, then I’ll give you access again. But until then, not going to work.” So that’s another great feature of the Ben Lomand Home app.
Karen Wilson: Yeah. So it sounds like it’s all about control, which we need some control over what goes on in our homes and the sites that they’re accessing and mostly the time of day and things like that. So great, and it’s so easy to use. You know, it’s a very powerful app. Let’s talk about, I guess, how easy it is to download and to use and what the cost of it is.
Bryan Kell: Yeah. So the beautiful part about this is, is that if you’ve got our, our Ben Lomand Home package, which for some people that are out there, they may not realize, maybe they’ve not called in, but if they were paying the wireless fee. If you’re paying the wireless fee, then you are already paying for Ben Lomand Home. So there’s a very large percentage of people that are already paying for this, but you’ve got the ability to be able to. If you’re not, it’s only $3, and you can be able to download that app and start taking control. It’s found on the Android Marketplace and also on the Apple Marketplace. Very easy to download. And like we said, it’s part of that Ben Lomand Home package, and we’ve talked about this before. It’s almost like you’ve got, for $3 a month. It’s the GigaSpire router, which we talked about in the last podcast, it’s the Ben Lomond Home app, and it’s the Customer Support Center. That’s another great piece of that. So in some ways, it’s like you’re paying a dollar for this kind of management device and control that you can be able to bring about in your house.
Karen Wilson: Thank you, gentlemen. This has been so informative. I have to say I love apps, but I had not got in and just taken a deep dive into this. So that’s been very helpful. And then next month, we’re going to talk about some other features that are compatible with the app. Won’t you tell us about that Bryan.
Bryan Kell: Yeah, so we’re going to talk about Experience IQ and Protect IQ. So we talked, Micah especially talked a lot, about being able to better control your devices, especially if you’ve got children and things like that. Experience IQ can add an extra level of allowing you to be able to help protect your kids from content and also be able to manage different applications and sites that they can go to or maybe they can’t go to. And then protect IQ, that extra layer of just overall protection that, as Micah talked about, bringing devices into your home sometimes can carry some consequences with them. And so protect IQ helps be able to create an extra layer or extra barrier to prevent those malicious type attacks. And so yeah, next month we’ll be talking, or next podcast I should say, Experience IQ and Protect IQ.
Karen Wilson: So you heard it here first. If you’re sick of looking at your child on TikTok, tune in next month. We have a remedy for that. Thank you, guys, for sharing all that information for this segment of the Connected Home.
Micah Lawrence: Now, we’re back with Connect with BLC. Karen, what can we see coming out of The Connection Magazine for May/June?
Karen Wilson: All right. We have some great stories, and I’m thrilled we’re in Crossville doing this because the cover story is the Tennessee’s largest rural theater. You guys want to take a guess as to what that is?
Bryan Kell: Cumberland County Playhouse.
Karen Wilson: That’s right. One of my… I think on my first.
Bryan Kell: I didn’t think about that til you just said, that’s perfect.
Karen Wilson: I think I saw my first play ever. The school would come up here to the Cumberland County Playhouse, probably “Fiddler on the Roof” or “Quilters” or something like that.
Micah Lawrence: Oh, yeah.
Karen Wilson: Yeah. That’s great. So and also on the way up here, we passed a wonderful business called Hillis Meat Processing, which is owned by Luke and Kara Hillis. That’s in Bon Air. Got a great story on them. Also a little just customer information, bandwidth versus speed. You know what each of them are, and what the difference is between them. And then also just some information you hear a lot now about cryptocurrency. There’s a great article explaining what that is. And then one of my favorite articles is yoga retreats in the Southeast. Ommmmm. Yeah,
Bryan Kell: Getting centered.
Karen Wilson: I like the idea of yoga. I don’t really do yoga. It’s much harder than what it looks like. They make it look so easy, but there’s a lot of balance and breathing. And I’m not about that.
Micah Lawrence: It doesn’t work for me. Fat boys weren’t meant to do that stuff.
Bryan Kell: I’m right there with you.
Karen Wilson: Downward dog or whatever stretching. I like the part at the end where they’re giving you the essential oils and stuff. And after that, I’m done. So, yeah.
Micah Lawrence: All right, great. Well, Bryan, we know that April showers bring May flowers. What can we expect of events around our service territory?
Bryan Kell: Well, May flowers true, but there’s still some, believe it or not, we’re expecting some a little bit of frost/snow that’s going on when we’re recording this this weekend. In looking at our WiFi van and what usually takes place, June is really when we start kicking things off outdoors, and we’ll be outdoors for probably three straight months, four straight months with that and other things. So we’re probably another podcast away from talking about where the WiFi van and major events that are going on outside. So we’re still kind of indoors just a little bit in May. The good old Cumberland County Playhouse, as Karen mentioned, which Marvin and Thelma Kell sent their grandsons there all the time and loved it, still love it. “On Golden Pond” May 20th through August 11th. This kind of a great movie for folks like us. The Palace Theater in Crossville, Wade Hayes. Six top ten country hits. He’s going to be playing May 27th again, the Palace Theater here in Crossville, the Caverns in Pelham, Weird Al Yankovic is going to be there. Five time Grammy winner. I did not know that he was a multi Grammy winner, May 27th and 28th. It’s an underground show. So two nights to be able to catch Weird Al. And then in the Park Theater in McMinnville on May 28 six time Grammy winner, 35 number one country hits, which is third behind George Strait and Conway Twitty all time, Ronnie Milsap will be playing the Park Theater on May 28th in McMinnville. I want to go to that concert.
Karen Wilson: “Smokey Mountain Rain.” That’s some good stuff.
Bryan Kell: Yes, “There’s a Stranger in My House,” all that stuff so. Some really, really great artists playing around in our service area for the month of May.
Micah Lawrence: Awesome. Thank you, guys.
Bryan Kell: Go ahead, Micah.
Micah Lawrence: It’s that time again.
Bryan Kell: He pauses like we’re not going to include it. And we always do include it. So.
Karen Wilson: This is fun.
Bryan Kell: It is. It is.
Micah Lawrence: I’m going to do something a little different today.
Micah Lawrence: Oh, no.
Bryan Kell: I will say this. Leading into this, it’s baseball opening day that we’re also recording this on. We’re batting .333, two for six, so far on this Ye Olde Dictionary. So we’re trying to maintain above three. You can go to a Hall of Fame on a .333 batting average, so bring it on.
Micah Lawrence: All I got to say is “math nerd.”
Bryan Kell: No, just a baseball nerd. Not a math nerd. Just a baseball nerd.
Micah Lawrence: All right. So we’re going to do something a little different today. So we’re going to talk about two different phobias and wanting to see if you can guess the phobia.
Karen Wilson: Okay.
Micah Lawrence: All right. The first one is astraphobia.
Bryan Kell: And we need to kind of probably agree on with this. I think of space and astra, sky.
Karen Wilson: Yeah, I would concur with that.
Bryan Kell: Would you say the fear of the sky falling or something like that?
Karen Wilson: Or getting hit by a meteor or something like that?
Bryan Kell: Sure. Yeah.
Karen Wilson: Fear of space, maybe?
Bryan Kell: Yeah, I could see any of those.
Karen Wilson: Are we anywhere in the right?
Micah Lawrence: Yeah. You’re in the ballpark. You’re in the ballpark. All right. Astraphobia is the fear of storms.
Bryan Kell: So sky. So sky. Stuff coming in. Wow.
Micah Lawrence: Yeah. So that was very impressive. Okay. All right, so the second one I’ve got for you is trypanophobia. Trypanophobia.
Bryan Kell: We talked a lot about cooking on the drive down here, so the fear of three plates.
Karen Wilson: Three frying pans flying through the air. Trypanophobia.
Bryan Kell: How do you spell that?
Micah Lawrence: Try. T-R-Y.
Bryan Kell: Y.
Micah Lawrence: Pano. P-A-N-O. Phobia.
Karen Wilson: I don’t know.
Bryan Kell: I don’t have a clue. Trypanophobia.
Karen Wilson: Yeah. We’ll go with the crazy frying pan theory.
Bryan Kell: We’ll go with the fear of cooking.
Micah Lawrence: Nowhere close.
Bryan Kell: Okay. What is it?
Micah Lawrence: It is the fear of needles.
Bryan Kell: Trypan…I don’t know. I wonder if what they are…
Karen Wilson: I wonder how the Latin connects with that.
Bryan Kell: That’s true.
Micah Lawrence: I’m sure there’s something in there. But anyways, thought that would be kind of different. Something cool.
Karen Wilson: Yeah. Thank you. We learn something every time, Micah.
Bryan Kell: Learning is power.
Micah Lawrence: Thank you, guys. That’s your summary for your Connect with BLC.
Bryan Kell: All right, gang. It’s another podcast in the books as we wrap things up here in Crossville. Just a couple of notes here. Cumberland Mountain State Park has always been a great place up here in Cumberland County. And Karen, folks may not know this, is that when folks stay at Cumberland Mountain State Park, they can see BL TV and BL TV Channel Six and all the great programing that we are able to bring, and also experience our broadband, our fiber broadband. So I know that we talked about the Playhouse and Cumberland Mountain State Park, and so just some great places that folks can come and that come in from all across the United States to be able to see this stuff that we’ve got going on.
Karen Wilson: Yeah, that is a nice park, lots of great things. But it’s so cool to be out in nature, but yet you still can be connected. There’s some of us that are like quasi campers, you know, that would be me.
Bryan Kell: Me too.
Karen Wilson: And so that park is perfect if you want to experience the outdoors without doing it from a tent and totally roughing it.
Bryan Kell: And then they’ve got the ability to do that from the tent over there. And Micah, if folks want to check out this particular podcast and maybe they’re listening to it on our website, but they want to know where else it can be at, where can they find us at, and how can they get in touch with us, too?
Micah Lawrence: Sure, sure. The BLC Podcast can be found on Spotify, the Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Amazon, iHeart Radio. As we said last time, some I’ve never heard of before, but.
Bryan Kell: Deezer or something like that.
Micah Lawrence: Yeah, something, something crazy we’ve never heard of, but it’s available everywhere. And one thing we want a lot of people to do is please submit us some questions. We absolutely want to hear what you have to say. Some, you know, tell us we’re doing a good job, bad job. You know, Bryan Kell’s jokes are not funny, you know, anything of that nature. But you can contact us via our Facebook page, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn accounts, or you can just email us at BLCPodcast@BenLomand.net.
Bryan Kell: All right. Thank you, Micah. The mini episodes here with the connection podcast, Karen, they are chugging right along.
Karen Wilson: I know. Those are like something I really enjoy. I’m going to leave this up to surprise. I’ve got some ideas brewing in my pot, making connections and things like that with lots of small businesses. So more to come for the next month on a great mini episode. Tune in.
Bryan Kell: A May surprise from Karen. So be sure and check out on that. All right, another podcast in the books, gang. Thanks so much. So for Micah, for Karen, for me. Thanks for listening. Stay safe. And by all means, stay connected.