D & P BLOG

Advanced Services - Cable in the 21st Century Category: Blog

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There was a time when Cable TV wasn’t really much different from over-the-air television. You switched on your TV and watched whatever was being broadcast at that moment — and although the picture might have been clearer and the channel choices more plentiful, it otherwise wasn’t all that different from what you would have experienced watching TV with an antenna.

That was the past. But Cable TV in the 21st century comes with more flexibility than viewers a few years ago would ever have expected.

The result? A much more convenient TV experience.

One example is Video on Demand. It used to be that if you wanted to watch a show that you wouldn’t be home for, you had to set your DVR — or, before that, your VCR — and record it as it was broadcasted. But if you forgot to do that, the opportunity was gone.

With Video on Demand, if you forgot to record a show you wanted to watch, you can just pull up your Video on Demand menu and see if it’s one of the thousands of programs that have been stored for you to watch whenever it’s convenient. At D&P Communications, we launched our Video on Demand service in 2014, and in recent months we’ve more than tripled the amount of content that’s available for you to watch.

(A special note to our Tecumseh customers: You may have signed up for service before Video on Demand was available in your area. If you’re in Tecumseh and don’t have Video on Demand yet, just give us a call and we’ll evaluate your options.)

Of course, Video on Demand is great if you miss a show, but what if you want to watch it live — but just don’t happen to be at home? That’s where another part of our advanced residential services comes in: TV Everywhere, which lets you watch your favorite Cable channels no matter where you are.

TV Everywhere is accessible from your computer, tablet or smartphone — anywhere with an Internet connection. And it’s so easy to set up that you can do it right now. Just go to WatchTVEverywhere.com and select D&P Communications from the dropdown menu. You’ll need to give the website your D&P email and account number for a one-time signup process, and then all you need to do is click on the channel you want to watch.

The Cable TV industry is changing fast, and one thing we’ve heard a lot about is “cord-cutting” — people giving up Cable TV entirely and turning to services like Netflix and Hulu for entertainment. Some people have done that, but we’re finding more and more that both Cable TV and streaming services have a part to play. You might watch Netflix for your favorite movies or old TV shows, then turn on the TV (or fire up TV Everywhere) to catch new shows or the next Lions game.

With our high-speed fiber network, we’re equipped to deliver the bandwidth you need for streaming — and the advanced services you need to enjoy a modern Cable TV experience.

Realities of the Cable Industry Category: Blog

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Behind the scenes of the Cable TV industry

Have you ever wondered what goes into determining how much you pay for Cable TV? This week, we’re going to go behind the scenes and give you a look at the economics of the Cable industry.

Because of the amount of technology and infrastructure involved, the Cable industry is an expensive one to be in. As a result, in order to keep prices as low as possible for our customers while keeping our quality of service high, we have to constantly negotiate with content providers for the best possible deal.

When it comes to local channels, we negotiate rates on our own with station owners in markets like Detroit and Toledo. On a national level, D&P Communications is part of the National Cable Television Cooperative, a network of over 850 independent Cable providers across the United States. Being part of NCTC helps us level the playing field between ourselves, a small local company, and huge multinational firms like Viacom or Disney.  This helps us get the best possible rates for the Cable channels we offer, which in turn helps us keep prices reasonable for our customers.

Sometimes these negotiations are simple. Other times they’re not. One ongoing example you may have already heard of involves AMC Networks, which owns not just the AMC channel itself, but also IFC, SundanceTV and WeTV, in addition to providing access to BBC America.

AMC Networks recently told us they wanted a 10-year agreement that would include a massive hike in the price of their channels. Negotiators with NCTC are working on our behalf to reach a deal that will allow us, along with 850-plus other independent Cable providers, to continue offering AMC channels without a price increase that would be unreasonable to ask our customers to pay. A January 1 blackout date was averted when AMC agreed to continue talks with NCTC past the midnight deadline, and the negotiations are still ongoing.

We know that the networks need to make money, and we understand that some cost increases may be reasonable. But our first priority has to be looking out for our customers. By negotiating with content providers and banding together with other independent Cable providers, we are able to keep prices low for you while providing the best service we possibly can.

Custom Packages For Your Business Category: Blog

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Every business is different. That’s why, in addition to the business services you can see on our website, D&P Communications offers customized voice and data packages so we can meet your needs as efficiently as possible.

Let’s say you run a small store with just a few employees. You may not need any more than a data connection for your credit card machine and a few phone lines. We’d probably set you up with a static IP address for your credit card reader, a 10 Mbps data connection, and whatever level of phone service makes the most sense for your call volume.

Or maybe your situation is more complicated. You could be running a multisite car dealership with software that needs to be shared between all of your locations and employees, but closed off from the general public. And of course you’d need a way to reliably connect all of your offices to each other. Our experts will come in, meet with you to assess your needs — how many phone lines you need, what speed you need for your interoffice connections versus what speed you need to the outside Internet, and many more factors — and develop the best package for you.

How many different departments does your phone system need to serve? Do you want a round-robin system where calls switch over to a new number if the main line isn’t answered, or do you want all of your extensions to ring at once? Do you want direct lines for each of your workstations or not? These are just some of the questions we’ll help you figure out when customizing your phone package.

We’re also working behind the scenes, optimizing our technology to make sure we can provide the service you need as cost-effectively as possible.

If you’d like to learn more about having D&P Communications customize a communications package for you, please call our Business Services Group at 888-536-2933 and we’ll set you up with a quote! 

Building for the future Category: Blog

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If there’s one thing about technology that never changes, it’s that change is constant. Information that once filled enough hard drives to take up an entire room can now fit on a card the size of a fingernail. The average personal computer ten years ago was probably less powerful than the phone in your pocket right now.

That’s just as true in the world of communications. And because we know how important reliable Internet, Phone, and Cable access is to your work and your life, D & P Communications is committed to not just being on top of the game — but two steps ahead of it as well.

You’ve probably seen D & P trucks around town, installing and repairing fiber and cable lines to serve our customers. But what you may not know is that we’re working just as hard to keep the backbone that serves those connections as robust as possible — making it strong enough to serve not just today’s needs, but tomorrow’s.

Here’s just one example. D & P has for many years maintained fiber rings connecting our central offices and service areas, providing redundancy and quality assurance. But in 2015, we decided  to take the next step in “future-proofing” the backbone of the D & P network. Although the high-capacity rings we maintain now provide multiple 10-Gigabit paths and plenty of capacity for our customers’ current needs, D & P has invested in a technology called Dense Division Wavelength Division Multiplexing. To make a long story short, the technology allows us to get more capacity out of every single fiber we have in the network, sending multiple signals and streams down pathways that could previously only carry one. Instead of a handful of 10-Gigabit paths being possible, we’re now able to support hundreds of 10-Gigabit paths as we move forward.

This not only allows D & P to provide more and more capacity to customers, but it also helps us provide higher and higher quality of service. How? With the increased ability to create segregated networks, our IT team can carve out dedicated paths for various types of services, making it easier to monitor, identify and resolve problems.   The details would take far too much space to go into here. But the important part is this: Our upgraded capacity is enough to serve our communities not just now, but for many years into the future.

That’s one of the things I’m most proud of about the work we do here. As your hometown service provider, we’re not just here to make a quick buck. And we don’t take shortcuts. We’ve made deep investments in serving our community so that we can continue to serve you — our friends and neighbors — for a long, long time.

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