Blog & News from Conway Corporation
Today is February 21, 2018

Getting the most from your internet

Whether you’re an occasional emailer or an all-night binge-watcher, finding the internet speed that’s right for your needs and knowing what can effect it is a necessity. 

It used to be simple to connect to the internet, but today things are more complicated. With browsing, streaming, gaming, shopping and more, it’s more important than ever to choose the right internet for the best experience.

Conway Corp offers five packages for residential customers ranging from a reliable 6 Mbps to the blazing-fast 1 Gig. What internet is right for you? You’ll need to consider a number of factors including total number of internet users in your home, number of devices connected and what you’ll be doing online.

While it might not seem like you’re using a lot of internet, usage for a typical home of four can add up quickly. Consider a mom streaming her favorite show on smart TV and checking her social media accounts; a dad watching the latest blockbuster movie in HD on his tablet plus sending emails for work; a teenager streaming music while playing online games and another child browsing the web while chatting with friends.

To get started, ask yourself these questions. The higher the number, the higher speed internet you will need.

What is the maximum number of devices that could be using the internet in your home including browsing the internet, using social media or checking mail at the same time?

In today’s digital age, it’s important to remember internet usage isn’t just about checking email on a desktop computer anymore. Devices can range from computers to cell phones to tablets to game consoles – even your fridge can use the internet to let you know you’re out of milk. The more internet connections your home has, the slower your speeds will be. If multiple people are using separate devices at the same time, you will need to increase your speed to accommodate the number of people and devices and ensure an enjoyable internet experience without lag or latency issues.

During your busiest hour of internet usage, how many devices could be streaming at once?

Streaming is a type of download that isn’t saved or stored anywhere on your device, but it can still use a lot of bandwidth. Streaming video from sites like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime or YouTube in HD or Ultra HD needs at least a 25 Mbps speed to ensure a buffer-free experience. Plus, a recent survey found that more than 90 percent of people multi-task while watching TV or streaming video so simultaneous use is also an important factor in determining speed.

How many devices might be downloading large files and how long are you willing to wait on files to download?

Downloading is the transfer of data from one place to another. When you download a movie or a song, get an email or search and save from the web, you have a copy of the item on your device. Downloads typically use more bandwidth over a shorter period of time than streaming because you can download faster than you can watch. While faster speeds are not required for large downloads, users who download a lot of files might prefer a faster connection. A two-hour movie will take about an hour to download with a 6 Mbps connection and take only 25 seconds with Conway Corp’s 1 Gig connection.

How many devices in your home will be playing games online?

Online gaming is one of the biggest bandwidth users for internet users, especially game updates and the audio calling services gamers use to talk to each other. Most households with at least with one gamer need a 50 Mbps connection and will need a higher connection if more than one gaming console – like a computer, PS4, Xbox, etc. - is in the home.

In general, Conway Corp basic residential internet is good for email and basic web browsing. Broadband 25 internet is good for light video streaming, file sharing and downloading smaller files. Broadband 50 internet is good for moderate video streaming, light online gaming and multiuser homes. Broadband 100 internet is good for heavy video streaming, moderate online gaming and professional home offices. Gig internet is good for maximum video streaming, heavy online gaming, multiple users and devices and advanced applications.

Getting the most from your internet package

Once you choose the internet speed that’s right for you, it’s important to know what can affect your speed so you get maximum performance. The key to receiving the fastest internet speed is having the right device with the right wired connection. More recently purchased devices can support faster internet speeds than older devices. Some devices are limited to certain speeds. Check the documentation for your specific devices to find their maximum speeds.

The speed you receive also depends on if you are using a wired connection between the device and the cable modem or if you are using Wifi service. A direct connection is the best way to experience your device’s full speed. If you connect via Wifi, your speed may decrease since wireless connections are inherently slower. Wireless connections are also adversely affected by distance from the router as well as the number of walls or other obstacles between your device and the router.

In addition, the wiring that distributes communication services throughout your home can also impact speeds. Modern homes usually come equipped with wiring that is more likely to support faster speeds. Older homes are more likely to experience some loss in speed due to out-of-date wiring standards in place when those homes were constructed.

The internet is changing and growing every day, but Conway Corp has trained customer service representatives and technicians to help you understand and get the most out of your service. If you need help choosing the right speed for your home or have questions about your internet package, click here or call 450-6000. 

Blog & News from Conway Corporation
Today is February 21, 2018

LaPlante celebrates 30 years of service

We’ve come a long way since we began operating Conway’s electric light plant in 1929, and we owe much of our success to our employees – the men and women who proudly serve this community 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. 

Keith LaPlante is celebrating 30 years with Conway Corp. Keith was hired in January 1987 as a Dispatcher and continues in that position today. Keith works weekends, overnight hours and holidays to notify appropriate employees of emergency and after-hours outage situations while also providing technical support to customers with cable, internet and telephone services.

In addition to Keith, Engineering & Planning Manager Greg Dell is celebrating 32 years of service, and Wastewater Plant Superintendent Bill Fulmer is celebrating 38 years of service this month. 

Blog & News from Conway Corporation
Today is February 21, 2018

Take the Energy Smart Challenge & win $100

It’s that time of year again. The holidays are officially over. We’re putting away the decorations and the treats and making lists of what we hope to accomplish this year. One of the most popular New Year’s resolutions will be to lose weight and get fit, but the average treadmill uses between 600 and 700 watts of energy meaning a quick workout is the equivalent of leaving 50 CFL light bulbs on for 30 minutes.

This year, head outside to walk, run or bike instead and resolve to save energy and money in 2017 by participating in the Conway Corp Energy Smart Challenge. The Challenge helps Conway residents make home energy upgrades easy and affordable. Customers can work at their own pace choosing to start with small upgrades like replacing old lightbulbs with energy-efficient LED bulbs, or they can request a free energy audit from Conway Corp to identify goals and develop a tailored plan for their home. Zero percent interest loans are even available for many upgrades including attic insulation and appliances.

No matter how large or small you start, saving energy is a resolution you can stick with that will save you money in the long run while making your home more comfortable too. Start with these five tips and put them into action in the next three months – you will definitely start to notice changes.

START USING POWER STRIPS

Many electronic devices and equipment continue to consume unnecessary energy even when not in use. Often called energy vampires, these devices cost families more than $100 a year. Use a power strip for electronic devices and turn it off when not in use to eliminate energy vampires. And be sure to unplug your chargers – they draw energy even when they aren’t connected to a device.

REPLACE INEFFICIENT LIGHTING

About 10 percent of the energy your home uses goes to lighting costs. By just replacing five of your home's most frequently used lights with energy-efficient ENERGY STAR bulbs, you could save $75 a year in energy costs. Compared to traditional incandescent bulbs, compact fluorescent bulbs can yield as much as 75 percent energy savings and last six-times longer. You can get even more energy savings, longer life span and less wasted heat by switching to ENERGY STAR LED bulbs.

UPGRADE APPLIANCES

Installing and setting a programmable thermostat can save an estimated 10 percent per year on heating and cooling costs while switching to ENERGY STAR certified appliances can save nearly $750 over the lifetime of the item.

REDUCE WATER HEATING EXPENSE

Water heating is a large energy expense in your home, accounting for about 14-18 percent of your utility bill. By taking low-cost steps, you can reduce your water heating bill. Make sure your water heater is set to no higher than 120 degrees. Install low-flow showerheads or temperature-sensitive shower valves. Newer water heaters have more insulation than older ones. If your water heater is more than five years old, wrap a water heater jacket around it to stop heat loss from the tank.

BENCHMARK YOUR ENERGY USAGE

Staring down 12 months of utility bills can be daunting, but benchmarking is a key step toward seeing how your current energy usage stacks up, prioritizing your projects and ultimately making a dent in your utility bills. The myConwayCorp app is a great resource for the past 13 months of electric and water usage in your home.

Set an energy-saving goal that will both challenge you and serve as an attainable milestone to reach by year-end. Aim to reduce energy use by 5 percent or save $300 from last year. Whatever your goal – set it and work toward it.

Once you’ve made the commitment, click here to officially sign up to take the Energy Smart Challenge and pledge to reduce your energy usage and footprint in 2017. You will find other ideas and tips for energy efficiency along with information on free residential energy audits and zero percent interest loans for qualified energy efficient improvements.

Customers who register to take the Energy Smart Challenge and schedule their free residential energy audit during January will be entered to win a $100 Home Depot gift card to help with energy efficiency improvements around the home. Winner will be selected by random drawing and be announced by February 15, 2017. 

Blog & News from Conway Corporation
Today is February 21, 2018

Sexton earns Customer Service Management certification

Conway Corp Customer Service Manager Jaylene Sexton recently earned her Customer Service Management certification from the American Public Power Association. 

To earn the certification, Sexton completed five required courses, passed an online exam and submitted a customer service assessment and plan focused on sustaining the company’s culture of outstanding customer service.

“Conway Corp has always been focused on meeting customers’ needs,” Conway Corp Chief Financial Officer Bret Carroll said. “This APPA program is designed to examine evolving customer preferences and expectations and provide training and guidance on building on our customer service successes. This certification demonstrates Jaylene’s leadership, knowledge and skill in this area. We are proud to have her leadership in our customer service department.”

Sexton will be recognized at the APPA National Conference scheduled in 2017.

Blog & News from Conway Corporation
Today is February 21, 2018

Conway Corp recognized for safety excellence

Conway Corp has received Energi’s 2016 Excellence in Risk Management Award for being a leader in the implementation of Energi safety and risk management programs.

Energi, a leading provider of Insurance and Risk Management Programs to the energy industry, recognized Conway Corp as being the “Best of the Best” within the Energy industry at the Risk Management Summit in Las Vegas, Nevada. 

Safety Director Steve Plant accepted the award on behalf of the company.

“Conway Corp’s focused commitment to safety, implementation of risk management best practices and willingness to learn and apply new safety techniques have enabled us to set a future standard of excellence among industry peers,” he said.  

Blog & News from Conway Corporation
Today is February 21, 2018

Energy Efficient Holidays

The winter holidays are a time for delicious food and festive fun shared with cherished company, but your energy use can rise considerably with all the extra decorating and entertaining shared with family and friends.

While today’s new household appliances use nearly 50 percent less energy than those built just a decade ago, they’re worked overtime during the holidays which can add to your utility bill. Americans spend more than $65 billion a year on holiday gifts, but thankfully it’s easier to keep your added holiday energy costs to a minimum with just a few simple tips.

Cooking Tips

  • The turkey is traditionally stuffed early in the morning and roasted for hours. Since it's a long, slow cook, there's no need to preheat your oven – even when the recipe suggests it. This also holds true for a holiday ham. In fact, unless you're baking breads or pastries, you may not need to preheat the oven at all.
  • Don't open the oven door to take a peek at what's cooking inside. Instead, turn on the oven light and check the cooking status through the oven window. Opening the door for even a few seconds lowers the temperature inside by as much as 25 degrees which increases cooking time and wastes energy.
  • If you use glass or ceramic pans, try turning your oven down by 25 degrees. Your dish will cook just as quickly.
  • When cooking on top of your range, match the size of the pan to the heating element. More heat will get to the pan and less will be lost to the surrounding air. Believe it or not, a six-inch pan on an eight-inch burner will waste more than 40 percent of the energy.
  • Clean burners and reflectors provide better heating, while saving energy. If you need new reflectors, buy quality ones. The best on the market can save as much as one-third of the energy used when cooking on top of the stove.
  • Don't overlook the other cooking appliances during the holidays. Fast and efficient microwave ovens use around 50 percent less energy than conventional ovens, and they don't heat up your kitchen. Consider using them to bake yams, steam your favorite fresh vegetables or heat up leftover turkey and gravy for a midnight snack.
  • Use your slow cooker. For about 17 cents worth of electricity, you can prepare an entire meal.

Cleaning & Household Tips

  • A load of dishes cleaned in a dishwasher requires 37 percent less water than washing dishes by hand. However, if you fill the wash and rinse basins instead of letting the water run, you'll use half as much water as a dishwasher after your holiday party.
  • If you opt to use the dishwasher, wash full loads only. If you must rinse your dishes before loading them, use only cold water so you're not running up your energy bill by heating water unnecessarily.
  • Use the energy-saving cycles whenever possible. Dishwashers that feature air power or overnight dry settings can save up to 10 percent of your dishwashing energy costs.
  • Store extra beverages outside or in a cold garage during the winter to save on the energy required to power a second refrigerator.
  • Consider unplugging your Christmas lights or other electronic decorations and devices during the daytime or if you’re traveling for the holidays. In the average home, nearly 75 percent of the energy used to power electronics is consumed while they are turned off but still plugged in.
  • When it comes time to buy gifts for your friends and family, opt for Energy Star certified electronics which use up to 60 percent less electricity than their non-certified counterparts. In addition, laptop computers require 50 to 80 percent less power than a desktop computer.

Decorating Tips

  • Consider buying miniature lights which use about 70 percent less energy and last much longer than the larger bulbs. If you prefer larger lights, switch to 5-watt bulbs, which use about 30 percent less energy than 7-10 watt bulbs. A 100-bulb strand of miniature lights will cost the typical residential customer $13.50 a month versus the $33.75 it cost to operate traditional bulbs.
  • Want something new or different? Look for LED holiday bulbs – they’re shatterproof, shock resistant, safe to touch and won’t burn your hands. Plus, they save up to 80 to 90 percent of your energy costs and can last up to 20 years. Ten sets of 100 LED bulbs cost the typical residential customer only $1.35 per month to operate.
  • Plug your indoor and outdoor lighting displays into a timer set to run during the earlier evening hours. This will also remove the burden of turning lights on and off or accidentally leaving them on and running up your electric bill unnecessarily.
  • Rather than adding more lights to your tree, try enhancing the existing lighting with tinsel, mirrored ornaments and other reflective ornaments. Also, consider decorating your home with fewer lights and using more decorations that don’t use energy like wreaths or poinsettias.

Saving energy is a habit you should practice all year long, and the holidays are a great time to start. Just simply being aware of your energy usage can help you save energy and money. You can even make a New Year’s resolution that’s good for your pocketbook and the environment by scheduling a free residential energy audit through the Conway Corp Energy Smart program.

For additional information on energy efficiency or to schedule your audit, contact Conway Corp at 501-450-6000 or click here.

Blog & News from Conway Corporation
Today is February 21, 2018

Conway Corp recognizes employees

Business Class Services Specialist Technician James Buggs, Lead Cashier Kendra Caines and Senior Lineman Scott Ussery were recently honored by Conway Corp for their outstanding work performance over the past year. 

Buggs and Caines each received the Customer Service Award presented by CEO Richard Arnold, and Ussery received the Safety Leadership Award presented by Safety Director Steve Plant at the company’s annual awards dinner.

Buggs and Caines were both nominated by their fellow coworkers for going above and beyond their job duties.

One employee commented how many compliments Buggs receives yearly from customers and how professional and courteous he is.

Another said Buggs “is an outstanding employee with a great attitude. He is always ready to help and will have a smile on his face. James is very conscientious and courteous and goes the extra mile for our customers.”

Caines was nominated by one employee for her “excellent customer service skills she always displays with a high degree of integrity and dedication. She always has a positive attitude and is a valuable asset to Conway Corp.”

Another employee said she “exceeds expectations in her job as cashier and leader in her area. She leads her department with encouragement and praise, always having high expectations.

While being kind and courteous, she maintains a professional manner with customers. She is always willing to give assistance with any department or situation.

Working with her, you can see she takes pride in her job and strives to do what is best for Conway Corp. She has gained the respect of her peers by being the kind, considerate, hardworking and conscientious person that she is.”

Ussery was nominated by the entire Electric Department who said as the department’s trainer “he is the one who teaches the apprentices the proper safety techniques. He takes the job very seriously. He strives to not only be a leader, but a safe one.”

Arnold said he was proud to be able to recognize employees who go above and beyond.

“We are extremely proud of our employees and want to recognize those who continue to exceed expectations,” he said. “The peer nominations submitted make these awards even more meaningful.”

Blog & News from Conway Corporation
Today is February 21, 2018

Conway Corp launches Gig internet service

Conway Corp has announced the addition of a 1 Gigabit internet package to its offerings for residential customers beginning in December.

“Internet usage has grown and will continue to as cloud-based products and services become more prevalent,” CEO Richard Arnold said. “Gigabit download speeds seem a luxury today, but may be tomorrow’s necessity.”

Using a 32-channel cable modem, Conway Corp residential customers will be able to experience download speeds that were once only possible with a direct fiber connection. The 1 Gig package, with equivalent speeds up to 1,000 Mbps down and 50 Mbps up will be priced at $94.95 per month and will replace the current Broadband 200 package.

The new speed option will not affect pricing for other tiers of service.

Conway Corp has been an innovative leader in broadband offerings for more than 20 years. In 1995, the company began construction on a city-wide cable conversion to a fiber-coax hybrid, a project cost that was estimated at $5.6 million. Upon completion in 1997, Conway became the third company in the country and fifth in the world to offer high-speed, broadband cable Internet service.

“For several years, we have been on a strategic path toward gigabit service,” Chief Technology Officer Jason Hansen said. “With this initiative, Conway Corp is embracing its position as an internet technology leader.”

Click here more information about internet service from Conway Corp.

Blog & News from Conway Corporation
Today is February 21, 2018

Employees recognized for customer service

Conway Corp was recognized for excellence in customer service when 20 of its customer service and cable installer professionals were awarded Customer Service Excellence Awards at the 2016 Mid-America Cable Show held recently in St. Louis. 
 
Customer Service Specialists Tracy Ferrell and Elizabeth Harmon, Lead Customer Service Specialist Jane Harrison, Customer Care Specialist Rachael Myers, Commercial Sales Account Executive Eleise Wood Myers and Senior Customer Care Specialist Kelly Wirtz earned five-star Customer Service Awards in the sales category.These awards recognize presentation of features and benefits while helping customers find the correct products and services for their needs.
 
Business Class Services Specialists James Buggs and Jason Fleming, Marketing Coordinator Beth McCullough Jimmerson, Broadband Premises Expert Tony Lemke and Customer Service Specialist Shelly Smith earned five-star awards in the service category. These awards recognize the ability to remain calm and professional while showing concern for the customer’s individual needs and resolve the situation.
 
Customer Care Specialist Michelle Hatfield was recognized with five-star awards in both the sales and service categories. 
 
Cable System Technician Jonathan Booth, Cable Senior Service Technician Brent Brown, Broadband Premises Technician John Davis, Broadband Premises Installer Aaron Julian, Customer Care Specialist Nicole Pizzolato, Broadband Premises Installer Aaron Reynolds and Cable System Technician Brian Robinson received four-star awards in the service category. 
 
Customer Care Specialist Eric Bell received a four-star award in the sales category. 
 
The Mid-America Cable Association was formed in 1958 in part to help promote superior customer service in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Iowa, Arkansas and Texas. The award program was established in 1986 to recognized excellence in the cable television industry. 
 
Five-star awards recognize master performance that are clearly exceptional with outstanding skills that far exceed position requirements. Four-star awards recognize a superior performance with presentation skills that are considerably above industry competency.
 
Blog & News from Conway Corporation
Today is February 21, 2018

Remembering James H. Brewer

Our thoughts are with the family of James H. Brewer today as we remember the life and impact of Conway Corp’s former General Manager. Mr. Brewer, age 89, died today (Wednesday, Oct. 19), at his home in Conway.

Mr. Brewer became a part of the Conway Corp family in 1955 as assistant manager. He was named General Manager in 1966 and held that position until his retirement in 1991. Our community and our company continue to feel the benefits of Mr. Brewer’s leadership.

“Conway lost a legend today,” Conway Corp CEO Richard Arnold said. “Jim was one of the most intelligent, hard-working men I ever knew. We all benefit from his vision.”

When Mr. Brewer joined Conway Corp in 1955 there were 39 employees serving 3,400 customers. That grew to 101 employees serving more than 12,000 customers at his retirement. He saw the growth that would come to Conway and he helped pave the way for Conway Corp to be able to continue to provide quality, reliable services to our customers.

Under his leadership the Gleason Water Treatment Plant (now Roger Q Mills Water Treatment Plant), originally designed to provide 1-million-gallons of water daily was raised to a capability of 15-million-gallons-daily.

In 1966, Mr. Brewer led Conway Corp to recommend that the city reserve the cable franchise for the city of Conway. That held a place for cable television (and after his retirement Internet services) to be offered in Conway. In 1981, the city’s cable television system was completed.

In 1980, Conway Corp began receiving power from its 2 percent interest in the White Bluff and Independence Steam Electric generating plants. Total electrical energy consumed that year was 208,689,200 kw hours, almost ten times the amount consumed in 1960. Ownership in these plants meant better electric rates for Conway Corp customers for many years.

In 1983, following 20 years of negotiations, work was completed on a new water reservoir for the city. In September of that year, Conway’s primary water source was dedicated and named James H. Brewer Lake.

“Without Jim Brewer we would not have the water source that has served us so well and will continue to serve us well for years to come,” Bill Hegeman said. Hegeman followed Brewer, serving as Conway Corp CEO from 1991 until 1998. “Jim’s persistence to stay with that project and make it happen is the only reason we have the lake.”

In June 1991, just prior to his retirement, Mr. Brewer wrote these words, “But Conway Corporation is not an event; it is an ongoing process, one that requires the dedication of each employee, each day. You, my friends and fellow employees, are possessors of that type of dedication. And because of that, the Conway Corporation will continue, as always to grow and be a vital part of the community it serves.”

Conway Corp retiree and former Chief Operating Officer Roger Mills added, “Jim’s goal was to always provide the best service for the citizens of Conway. I lost a good friend and our community lost a man of great impact.”

Upon the occasion of Conway Corp’s 75th anniversary in 2004, Mr. Brewer was interviewed for a video providing the history of Conway Corp. During that interview, he said “The spark of vision that the 1929 leaders infused in to the woof and warp of this community has lasted all through the years and I would say to them, ‘Thank you very much for your ability to put something together that had the capacity for lasting like this has.’”

Thank you very much Mr. Brewer.  For your leadership, your vision, your commitment to Conway Corporation and for leaving a legacy of dedicated service to our community. 

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