Passing the Test

Posted: September 21, 2021 at 11:56 am

FlashFiber gets stamp of approval

Philip Terry was the first Joe Wheeler EMC member connected to FlashFiber.

Philip Terry describes himself as a “technical nut.”

He has good reason, as evidenced by the interesting life he’s led. He was a nuclear engineer in the U.S. Navy, a technologist at 3M, and a master sergeant in the Army specializing in communications.

All of this helped make Terry the perfect person to put FlashFiber through its paces.

Terry was connected to FlashFiber in May as a beta tester. Beta testers are used before the official launch of a service to make sure everything works properly prior to its release to the public.

Terry was randomly selected as a tester based on his address, located 3 miles from the main Joe Wheeler EMC office in Trinity. However, his experience dealing with technology and telecommunications showed he was exactly what FlashFiber needed in their first connection.

With some of the early glitches and bugs now worked out, Terry gives FlashFiber his stamp of approval and says others need to sign up for the service “as fast as their legs can take them.”

“FlashFiber has reached my expectations and then some,” he says. “I’ve had providers with speeds that were practically unusable, and then my last provider didn’t provide the speeds they promised.”

Terry has the 1-gigabit package, and during testing he has consistently been receiving 800 megabits per second upload and download speeds. “I can have seven people watch a 4K movie at the same time,” he says. “It literally flies.”

Heavy User

FlashFiber’s crews are working to bring fiber to all Joe Wheeler EMC members.

Terry’s past job experience isn’t the only reason he qualifies as an expert tester. He is also an avid internet user.

He is currently the president of the North Alabama Woodcarvers Association and teaches woodcarving and wood-burning classes from his house. He also is the president of the Living Art Bonsai Society in Huntsville and the commander of the American Legion in Moulton. He prints a newsletter for all three of these organizations right from his house.

“I teach woodcarving and wood burning in my carving studio behind my home, and I’ll stream YouTube videos during my classes to show different techniques,” Terry says. “I do the same thing with the bonsai society. I do a lot of emailing with the newsletter and a lot of online research. I maintain contact with the American Legion database in Indianapolis, and I have about 50 members in the Legion that I keep in contact with. I’m on the internet a lot.”

He also teaches an adult class at his church, Parkway Church of Christ, and preaches part-time. He uses the internet to do research for his lessons and sermons.

Through it all, FlashFiber has lived up to the challenge, which was a big shift from his previous providers.

Each FlashFiber subscriber will receive a fiber to the home connection and not have to share a connection with other subscribers.

“It was disgusting,” Terry says of his prior internet experience. “That’s the best word I can use for it. The screen would freeze, and I couldn’t even load a webpage most of the time. Especially in the evenings, when people are all on the internet watching movies or playing video games. It just wouldn’t run.”

He has a 4K television and streams movies through Netflix. Previously he had issues with buffering, but not anymore.

“I used to watch the little circle go by while it buffered, and now you pick a movie and once your finger comes off the button, it’s there,” he says.

Terry understands there can be challenges in providing internet, but he wants the speeds he’s been promised.

“I told everyone at FlashFiber not to stretch it, and they haven’t,” he says. “They’ve been out here several times tweaking things and getting the system right and getting the bugs fixed. So far, I’ve not had a glitch.”

Quality Customer Service

Philip Terry uses FlashFiber to connect with members of the Living Art Bonsai Society.

In addition to the speeds provided by FlashFiber, Terry has also been impressed with the customer service.

He was asked to provide feedback on his experience to the installers and technicians, which he has willingly done. He says they have been receptive to all of it, and that has helped provide a better experience than he’s had in the past.

“I feel like they are going to be very responsive and supportive of any issues,” Terry says. “The larger providers have people who may or may not listen to your issues. I would call with issues with my previous providers, and they would never listen. The FlashFiber folks listen.”

Terry has also seen an increased reliability in electric service in the last five to 10 years. He feels it will continue to improve as JWEMC connects the electric grid to fiber technology.

“I know some of the people at the cooperative, and I don’t see them promising something they can’t deliver,” Terry says. “They aren’t those type of people.”

FlashFiber will begin connecting subscribers in early June in the Caddo-Trinity area, with other areas to follow. To check your address and to preregister for service, visit the JWFlash website.