Posted: 06 Dec 2018 12:00 AM PST
CS Technologies is an example of a company that provides services that weren't around 20 years ago. However, it owes its existence to its parent company that started more than a century ago.
Central Scott Telephone was founded in 1902 and started serving communities of Eldridge, Long Grove and McCausland. It provided phone service at a time when the main provider, AT&T, wasn't going into smaller communities.
"Ma Bell was not providing adequate service to many rural communities so small independent phone companies like Central Scott Telephone were established to serve these underserved communities," said Jim Neyen, director of sales with CS Technologies.
"These small phone companies sprang up all over the country. In Iowa today, there are still about 120 independent phone companies with Central Scott Telephone being one of the larger ones."
A lot has changed with Central Scott since it started. The company knew long ago that the times were changing.
"In 2002 we realized phone lines in the home were going to the wayside," Neyen said. "We started putting in DSL service, so people still had phone lines, but we now provided internet. For us to grow, however, we knew we needed to get beyond the four little towns we were taking care of. So that is how we came up with CS Technologies — to serve businesses in larger markets."
Central Scott Telephone reached an interconnect agreement with Qwest, now CenturyLink, to lease its copper facilities in the ground and build into central offices in Davenport and Bettendorf, Iowa. This agreement allowed CS Technologies a way to provide competitive business phone and Internet services outside of the original service area.
Just as Central Scott Telephone filled a void, so does CS Technologies.
"We began offering business phone and internet service to Davenport and Bettendorf, Iowa," Neyen said. "Then in the fall of 2009, we used this same interconnect agreement to begin providing business phone and Internet services to Dubuque and Peosta, Iowa."
In 2015, it entered into an agreement with AT&T to provide business phone and Internet service to Moline and Rock Island, Ill. Then it purchased a phone company in Wisconsin.
"We bought Cuba City Belmont telephone company," Neyen said. "We wanted to get some leverage from them as far as our using their service techs and office personnel. And it was a way for them to also grow their footprint. To grow they have to go outside their territory."
Although CS Technologies provides phone and internet services to businesses, the technology is constantly evolving.
For example, the company offers analog phone service, but "customers are moving away from traditional analog phone lines and going to SIP Trunk or VoIP — Voice over Internet Protocol. With this trend occurring, having a reliable Internet provider that offers QOS — Quality of Service for voice, combined with a robust fiber network, is critical to running a business.
"As far as the internet we can do fiber to the business or ethernet over copper capabilities where fiber is not available," Neyen said. "This gives us a fiber-like product and we also do DSL. We have gigabyte e-transport for some local business or 8 mg or 5 meg."
There are many reasons businesses and organizations pick CS Technologies.
"Businesses choose us not only because of our robust data and voice services but because they appreciate our local easy-to-work-with customer service," Neyen said. "You work with a local sales consultant that helps you evaluate your current services and then customize a solution based on the future business needs."
"Customers call a local number and talk to a local customer service representative if a trouble or billing question should arise. Unlike calling a national carrier whom the person on the other may not live or be familiar with your city."
It serves more than 500 businesses in the Dubuque area and 1,000 in the Quad Cities. Customers include city and county governments, school districts, health care providers, insurance agents and restaurants. All Dubuque schools use its phone system.
Among the many businesses they serve is Kanndo Professional Services.
"We like that they are local," said Tom Kann, owner. "I try to buy local as much as I can, and they are just down the street. I can stop in if I have a problem. And if there is a problem, they are Johnny on the spot. They always take care of it right away. It's nice knowing who you're working with and can put a name to the face."
Another reason that businesses work with CS Technologies is the peace of mind. Most businesses can't afford to be without the internet.
"CS Technologies has a ringed fiber network and we have redundancy built into our network," Neyen said. "For example, if a fiber cut happens, our fiber network will automatically redirect the traffic and move it to the alternate route with minimal to no interruption of customer service. This is a huge benefit for many businesses because they can't afford to have their phone and Internet down."
Its service is an added layer of protection for some of the companies they work with.
"We are backup for many businesses for a monthly fee," said Neyen. "You're basically paying for an insurance policy or a backup plan. They like the price of some of the bigger companies because of the lower price, but not the reliability. Over time we might become their primary connection if they decide they like the security."
Fiber has changed the efficiency of their service.
"The advantage of fiber is its capability to transmit larger pools of data, offers lower latency and isn't distance sensitive like copper," said Neyen. "With copper loops, once you get so far from the main office you either need a booster or a remote to boost the signal strength. For this reason, CS Technologies has been adding miles and miles of fiber both in the Quad Cities and Dubuque to better serve their customers.
"Once you have that fiber backbone, you can start building to businesses. In Cuba City we put in a couple million dollars' worth of fiber in the homes up there."
Dubuque County is another customer that has benefited from the technology the company delivers.
"CS Technologies has been a good service provider to Dubuque County both technology wise and as a partner in helping solve our connectivity needs," said Nathan Gilmore, IT superintendent for the county. "Specifically, their ETS, Ethernet Transport Service, allows us to use Layer2 connectivity to simplify our network design versus having to implement yet another Layer3 hop."
Although they do a few homes in the area, it's not something the company actively pursues. It focuses on services to businesses.
Neyen compares the company to a utility service.
"CS Technologies operates as a utility that provides business phone and Internet service to the customers and from that point forward the customer or a third-party IT provider sets up their internal cabling and wiring, firewalls, WiFi and etc.
"I relate this to how Alliant Energy as an electrical utility provides electricity to a customer structure and then all internal wiring and electrical drops the customer would contact an electrician for outlets and things."
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