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These stories are hot off the press!

Nex-Tech employee receives national award

Hays, Kan, 11-11-16 —Nex-Tech’s Economic Development and Networking Specialist, Mendi Alexander recently received the 2016 NREDA President’s Award. The award was presented to her at an awards luncheon at the annual conference of the National Rural Economic Developers Association (NREDA) held in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina in early November.
Nex-Tech’s Economic Development and Networking Specialist, Mendi Alexander accepting the 2016 NREDA President’s Award
The President’s Award recognizes outstanding support of NREDA and its mission and purpose through leadership in their own economic development position, committee work or participation on the Board. Recipients go above and beyond in their efforts on NREDA’s behalf to grow rural America.
 
According to NREDA president, Trista Fugate, Alexander was chosen for the award in honor of her service to NREDA on the Public Relations and Marketing Committee and her input on the NREDA News Brief, a newsletter distributed twice monthly. She was also the co-chair of the 2015 annual conference, served on the Nominations Committee and was elected to the NREDA Board in 2014. Alexander is recognized as a champion for rural America and has been featured in the video on the home page of NREDA website. Nex-Tech has been a longtime sponsor of the annual conference and Alexander’s attendance at NREDA events such as conferences and board meetings has been consistent.
 
NREDA is an organization of economic development professionals focused on the issues and opportunities of rural America. It is dedicated to meeting the unique needs of its membership through ongoing education and networking programs, while serving as an information source and conduit for business retention and expansion efforts for NREDA members and the areas they serve. For more information about NREDA visit www.nreda.org or contact NREDA headquarters at (515) 284-1421.

Kansas City Magazine Features Nex-Tech Exec

Lenora, Kan, 6-28-16 —Nex-Tech CEO/General Manager Jimmy Todd was named one of 50 Kansans You Should Know, in the May issue of Ingram’s Magazine, a Kansas City-based business magazine.
Todd, who hails from Georgia, enjoys the rural lifestyle while navigating the fast-paced broadband and technology company based in Lenora. “I’m a small-town guy, and I prefer a small-town life,” says Todd. “I felt at home when I came to Kansas.”
 
Todd told Ingram’s Magazine he relishes the challenges of connecting rural Kansans to the world. “It’s vital out here,” he says. “When you start thinking about today’s economy and the local market touching the global market, your connectivity and being able to be online through a broadband connection is vital.”
 
Ingram’s list of prominent Kansans includes men and women who are making their mark in politics, education, business and industry. This year marked the sixth installment of the magazine’s 50 Kansans You Should Know feature.
 
The entire feature, and profiles of the 50 accomplished, colorful and influential Kansans can be found online at www.ingrams.com/article/50-kansans-you-should-know-3.

Nex-Tech brings Netflix content closer to home

Lenora, Kan, 5-9-16 —More people than ever are turning to the Internet for video entertainment. The most popular option for Internet-accessed movies and TV shows is the streaming service Netflix.
The exponential growth in customers has created network challenges for both streaming services like Netflix, and Internet services providers like Nex-Tech. To minimize network traffic issues and improve the user experience, Nex-Tech is partnering with Netflix in its Open Connect program.
 
“With this partnership, Netflix has deployed their Open Connect Appliances, or video content servers in our data center,” said Justin McClung, Nex-Tech Director of Development, Innovation & Administration. “Having the servers closer to the user results in a more responsive experience for Netflix viewers, with less latency and buffering,” McClung added.
 
Instead of accessing video content from servers thousands of miles away, Netflix subscribers with Nex-Tech Internet service are viewing content from servers virtually in their backyard, McClung said.
 
“The Netflix Open Connect program is a win-win for both Netflix and Nex-Tech,” McClung said. “Nex-Tech minimizes expensive long-haul network traffic, while Netflix is able to offer a better customer experience to their streaming customers,” he said.

Nex-Tech Earns National Advertising Awards

Lenora, Kan, 5-3-16 —Nex-Tech’s Advertising Solutions Team recently received two TeleChoice Awards from NTCA—The Rural Broadband Association.
Dustin Schlaefli, Nex-Tech Director of Customer Engagement, second from left, is shown with other TeleChoice Award winners, May 2 during the NTCA PR & Marketing Conference in Charleston, S.C.
The annual awards program honors excellence in member telco public relations and marketing. Entries in seven categories—annual reports, complete branding campaign, complete marketing campaigns, customer newsletters, single-target print publications, websites and local video content—were judged on innovative strategies, design, writing, creativity and other elements specific to each category. In each category, a winner was selected from three divisions based on the number of access lines served by the entrant and two production divisions: “in-house” and “outsourced.”
 
Nex-Tech was awarded first place in the “in-house” division for the website, and complete marketing campaign categories. Of the 33 NTCA member companies that received TeleChoice Awards, Nex-Tech was one of only three companies that received awards in two different categories.
 
Dustin Schlaefli, Director of Customer Engagement, accepted the awards on behalf of the company, on May 2, during the PR & Marketing Conference in Charleston, S.C. “I’m extremely proud of our 15-member staff of marketing and media professionals,” Schlaefli said. “The TeleChoice Awards validate the high level of expertise, knowledge and creativity our teams possess and utilize, bringing value to both Nex-Tech and our Advertising Solutions customers every day,” he added.
 
Winning entries were on display during the conference and will be showcased in an upcoming issue of Rural Telecom magazine.

Nex-Tech CEO Participates In FCC Public Workshop

Lenora, Kan, 4-28-16 —Nex-Tech CEO/General Manager Jimmy Todd was a recent participant in the FCC Media Bureau’s second public workshop on The State Of The Video Marketplace April 26 in Washington, D.C. Todd was a panelist on the session entitled, “Challenges Faced By Smaller Multichannel Video Programming Distributors that Affect Carriage of Independent Programming.”
In his written remarks Todd stated, “Our goal is to provide excellent service at a reasonable cost, but in many ways, we are unable to impact the costs that our customers must bear for television service. One of the few ways we can control costs is to not add optional channels to the line-up. Most of our customers would like to have more al la carte options or at least the ability to choose smaller packages that align with their interests.”
 
Todd added that many content providers require Nex-Tech to take a bundle of channels within their portfolio, which he suggested forces the video provider to offer less desirable content and raises overall costs to customers.
 

Nex-Tech to Host Free Electronic Waste Recycling Event

Great Bend, Kan, 4-25-16 —Nex-Tech, in conjunction with ArchWay Recycling, will be hosting a free electronic waste recycling event on April 30, 2016, from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. The event will be held in the parking lot of the Great Bend Nex-Tech office, located at 3700 10th Street.
ArchWay Recycling is an electronic recycling company based out of Scott City, Kansas. Accepted items include computer towers and servers, cell phones, routers, printers, wire, laptops, LCD monitors and TVs, fax machines, electronic typewriters, lithium ion and lead batteries, power backup supplies, keyboards and speakers and generally anything with a cord. CRT TVs or monitors, the type with the tube, cannot be accepted.
 
“Nex-Tech is pleased to present this opportunity to area residents. As a technology company, we understand the positive impact electronic recycling can make on our environment,” stated Dustin Schlaefli, Director of Customer Engagement. According to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, E-waste contains many valuable materials that can be reused and recycled and kept out of our landfills. It can also contain toxic materials such as lead and mercury that can seep into the soil and water if not properly recycled.
 
For questions about recycling items that can be accepted, contact ArchWay Recycling at 620-874-8463. For questions about Nex-Tech, call the Great Bend office at 620-792-3908 or visit 3700 10th Street.
 

Nex-Tech Staff Participate in National Conference

Lenora, Kan, 4-13-16 —Nex-Tech CEO/General Manager Jimmy Todd, Economic Development Specialist Mendi Alexander and Chief Operating Officer Mike Pollock were panelists at last week’s IP Vision Conference in Las Vegas, Nev. Sponsored by NTCA—The Rural Broadband Association and the National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative, the IP Vision Conference was geared toward broadband professionals seeking to keep pace with the latest technological and marketplace developments in Internet-based applications and the networks that carry them.
Todd participated in ‘Video Regulations: Net Neutrality, Retransmission and DSTAC’ where panelists discussed how recent or impending reforms, including the FCC’s set-top box recommendation, can influence business decisions and network planning, especially as they relate to video services.
 
Alexander participated in ‘Telehealth and Broadband’ where panelists explored how technology, demographics and regulations are changing how broadband providers can help enhance health care in rural communities.
 
Pollock participated in ‘Practical Steps in Cybersecurity’ which focused on practical steps providers can take to minimize network security risks, and the status of government efforts regarding information sharing, best practices and potential regulation.
 
Approximately 500 broadband company managers and executives attended the three-day technology conference.

Nex-Tech CEO Participates in White House Event

Lenora, Kan, 1-1-16 —The future of rural health care through telemedicine was the topic of the day March 30 at an event hosted by the White House at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C. Several NTCA members including Nex-Tech CEO/General Manager Jimmy Todd participated in the event which also included perspectives from individuals representing government, healthcare, and academia.
Jimmy Todd, CEO, Nex-Tech, back row, first from the left, is shown with other conference participants at the March 30 White House Event.
The conference highlighted the essential role of telemedicine in reaching high-need rural families and communities. Participants identified and made recommendations on eliminating barriers and enhancing opportunities to increase deployment and participation in telemedicine services.
 
Shirley Bloomfield, CEO of NTCA—The Rural Broadband Association said her organization was pleased to partner with the White House Rural Council to promote the event. “Access to health care is a key component for a rural community, and it is clear that broadband can play a vital role in that regard,” stated Bloomfield.
 
“Nex-Tech is ahead of the game when it comes to facilities and infrastructure,” stated Nex-Tech CEO/General Manager Jimmy Todd. “We have a state-of-the-art network that will enable telehealth services in the future.”
 
While all stakeholders see the potential benefits of telemedicine, Todd identified three significant challenges to universal telemedicine deployment. “Economics are always a factor,” Todd said. “Who will pay for the services? Having a consistent broadband platform across the nation, with interoperability between various health related systems will be critical to widespread adoption,” Todd added.

KWU showcases $1.2 million technology upgrade

Salina, Kan, 1-15-16 —Kansas Wesleyan University marked the recent completion of a $1.2 million campus-wide infrastructure upgrade last night at a Salina Chamber After Hours reception. Nex-Tech was the contractor for the project, which was funded in part by a $1 million dollar gift from Sunflower Bank.
Pictured left to right: Dr. Matt Thompson, President, KWU, Mollie Carter, CEO, Sunflower Bank and Jimmy Todd, CEO, Nex-Tech
Dr. Matt Thompson, President and CEO of KWU, commented and thanked Sunflower Bank and Nex-Tech for their efforts and the success of the project. He mentioned that due to the success of the new technology, Wesleyan has been approved to provide a number of online degrees. The upgrade, which includes new single-mode fiber optic cable to each building on campus, provides a 10Gb connection between all buildings.
 
“Nex-Tech has been a terrific partner in our technology upgrade,” said Thompson. “We are excited about continuing our partnership and look forward to the many benefits of having the highest level of technology on campus.”
 
Nex-Tech Sales Engineer, Darren Walters, said the installation included a new IP-based telephone system with voicemail and call accounting features. “We completely re-cabled two of the buildings on campus and built two new network rooms, in addition to installing all new gigabit switches, as well as wireless access points to cover the entire campus,” Walters said. Other highlights of the upgrade include the installation of a new firewall, content filtering system, new servers and the launching of Microsoft Office 365 in the cloud.
 
“Nex-Tech is pleased to be a part of the project allowing Kansas Wesleyan students and staff to have state-of-the-art technology services across the KWU campus,” stated Jimmy Todd, Nex-Tech CEO/General Manager. “This project is a great example of the Nex-Tech, KWU and Sunflower Bank organizations working together to accomplish the extraordinary.”

Nex-Tech is fighting to keep your TV rates fair

Nex-Tech refuses to accept rate increase, additional costly demands
Lenora, Kan, 12-17-15 —Nex-Tech announced it may be forced to drop the suite of cable TV channels owned by AMC Networks on Dec. 31, 2015, unless major changes are made in the proposed contract renewal.
Nex-Tech, along with more than 700 other small and mid-sized cable operators across the nation, have been in negotiations with AMC to agree to a fair rate. In addition to a 350% rate increase, AMC’s contract proposal calls for Nex-Tech to carry additional channels and move its less popular channels to a more highly watched tier. Nex-Tech currently carries AMC, IFC and WE tv, but is being required to carry Sundance, BBC World and BBC America, channels that very few customers have requested.
 
“Nex-Tech strives to provide the highest quality television service at the best price possible,” said Scott Roe, Product Administration Manager. “We are fully prepared to pay a fair price for the AMC programming our customers want. Agreeing to the current proposed rate increase and being forced to add unpopular channels ultimately harms our customers and our efforts to avoid passing that increase on to them.”
 
“We hold out hope that AMC will modify its proposed contract.” Roe continued. “If an agreement cannot be reached by December 31st, however, AMC may remove AMC, IFC and WE tv channels from Nex-Tech TV until an agreement is reached.”
 
AMC has launched an aggressive campaign to scare viewers into believing they will no longer be able to watch their popular show, “The Walking Dead,” which draws strong ratings. However, “The Walking Dead” is currently on its mid-season break and new episodes will not begin again until February 14, 2016. Additionally, new episodes are available on iTunes, Amazon, VUDU, PlayStation® Store, Xbox Video and Google Play, among others. Other popular programs, such as “The Rifleman,” are also available on other networks.
 
“Nex-Tech is dedicated to protecting its customers from significant programming fee increases,” said Roe. “When a programmer like AMC demands an unprecedented increase in its monthly fees, we believe it’s our responsibility to take a stand for our customers.”

New non-profit focuses on area youth

Lenora, Kan. 2-17-15 —- The “Nex-Generation” name is no stranger to northwest Kansas. In 2011, Nex-Tech formed a youth services department and branded the Nex-Generation title to its many student-centered services. Recognizing the out-migration of youth and its future economic impact, Nex-Tech worked to develop a sustainable solution.
In 2014, and with IRS approval, the company helped form a new, non-profit organization that will focus on youth retention strategies for the entire northwest and north central Kansas region: Nex-Generation Round Up for Youth, Inc.
 
As a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization, Nex-Generation Round Up for Youth, Inc., is designed to fund, promote and support educational projects, scholarships and community programs focused on youth.
 
The organization operates under the direction of Executive Director Jacque Beckman of Lenora and a three-member Board: Rhonda Goddard, Nex-Tech’s Chief Financial Officer; Robert Muirhead, Midwest Energy’s Director of Community and Economic Development; and Scott Sproul, Executive Director of Norton City/County Economic Development.
 
Funding of Nex-Generation Round Up for Youth and its programs is made possible through grants, individual donations and round-up contributions through partnering businesses.
 
Beckman said Nex-Generation promotes a variety of youth-centric programs, including career development and entrepreneurship; internships and work-study; digital citizenship and Internet safety; and scholarships.
 
Nex-Generation works with local economic development offices, chambers of commerce, and schools to educate students about career opportunities within their communities.
 
“Some of our goals include providing summer internships for students within their local communities; scholarships for higher education; return-to-community incentives; and other programs that provide students with hands-on experience in business, entrepreneurship and other key areas,” Beckman added.
 
“Contributing to Nex-Generation Round Up for Youth is making a personal investment: an investment in your children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren; your nieces and nephews; and, ultimately, your own community, your businesses, your schools, your parks, your livelihood, your future,” Beckman said. “With this in mind, we hope many businesses and individuals will commit to helping with this investment. By partnering with Nex-Generation Round Up for Youth, Inc., you can help support projects that ensure the growth and sustainability of our small, rural communities into the future.”
 
For more information about Nex-Generation Round Up for Youth, Inc., visit www.nex-tech.com/nex-generation, by email at nex-generation@nex-tech.com, or by phone at 877-567-7872, ext. 1170.