Saturday, November 5, 2016

Link to Survey Monkey WINternet Suvey

In addition to the 3 question survey mentioned in the previous post, please consider providing more detail by participating in our longer survey.  It is approximately 25 questions.

You will be directed to that survey by clicking here.

Thanks everyone!  The response so far has been great.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

How's Your Service? Let Us Know!

After you have answered these 3 questions, consider digging deeper.  We have a 25(ish depending on your answers) question survey to help us get a clearer picture.  Click Here to be directed to the Winlock Internet survey on Survey Monkey.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

FCC Step One: Informal Complaints

We didn’t get the news we wanted from ToledoTel or CenturyLink at the meeting on April 8th.  We are moving to the next step.  It is time for each of us to start filing complaints individually to the FCC.  Mark Velasco has filed the first complaint and received a ticket number.  He has a contact at the FCC who will be following the complaint and watching out for additional complaints from Winlock.

Filing a complaint against CenturyLink with the FCC is pretty straightforward. Click here for a link to the online form.

CenturyLink will be served with your complaint directly from the FCC.  They are required by law to respond in writing and cc: the FCC with their response within 30 Days.  The more complaints they receive, the more pressure it will put on CenturyLink. Please note, this is not a complaint to CenturyLink customer service. This will be handled by a special department within that company with regards to their potential violation of Federal laws, specifically the Open Internet Order of 2015.
When you fill out the complaint form, Mark’s FCC contact suggested you choose "Open Internet" as the issue.  You must provide the company name you're filing a complaint against and your account number. If you have screen grabs from,, etc. or any other images that you'd like to include, you can upload them with your complaint.  Since this is a Violation of the Open Internet Order, our goal is to go after Transparency Issues.  Key terminology is important.  CenturyLink sold us service but didn't tell us about"overloaded lines" or "lines being over capacity" or "lack of bandwidth."  Concentrate on speeds slower than promised. Complaints need to stay focused on Lack of Transparency.  Here are some words/phrases that can be used.  Feel free to add or edit:

  • CenturyLink was not transparent about the ongoing major issues with their service
  • CenturyLink was not transparent about the fact that they have no intention of upgrading service or providing service at or near their advertised packages
  • They did not inform me speeds would not even be close to what I was paying for
  • If I would have known there were so many issues with their service, I wouldn't have signed up or would rather wait until the issues are resolved.
  • They never told me that having more devices on the connection would bog it down
  • They never told me they "oversold" the bandwidth
  • When I signed up, I was never informed that I wouldn't have enough speed to accomplish my work, or have the inability to download movies.
  • I wasn't informed the lines were oversold and nobody else could sign up

If you need help, please reach out the internet group here in Winlock and we'll do what we can to help you.

Time to Start Contacting Our Representatives

On Monday I mailed out letters, maps and newspaper articles about our community effort to solve our internet troubles.  A packet was sent to Senator Maria Cantwell, Sentator Patty Murray and Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler.  The body of the letter will be at the end of this post.  But first! They need to hear about this from more than one source.  Many of you have emailed me or posted in the Facebook group about your frustration.  Now is the time to also share your stories with our representatives.  Here is the contact info for each:

Senator Maria Cantwell
915 Second Avenue, Suite 3206
Seattle, WA 98174
(206) 220-6400
Online Contact Form

Senator Patty Murray
The Marshall House
1323 Officer's Row
Vancouver, WA 98661
(360) 696-7797
Online Contact Form

Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler
O.O. Howard House
750 Anderson Street, Suite B
Vancouver, WA 98661
(360) 695-6292
Online Contact Form

Here is the body of the letter I sent:
We are writing to ask for assistance with high-speed Internet access in our low-income, rural area, Winlock, WA. We know that we are not the only rural community getting left behind on the wrong side of the digital divide. It is our hope that you can help us with any or all of the following:
1.     Put pressure on CenturyLink, the only local, non-satellite ISP, to expand their service area and upgrade their existing infrastructure
2.     Direct us toward other rural areas you may know of that have found an Internet solution, particularly whitespace
3.     Help us organize a RuralInternet conference similar to Oregon’s (see enc. 1)
4.     Find out if there is a chance high-speed Internet might be a public utility in the future and, if so, what we can to do help bring that about.  Private industry is failing us.
 So far we have organized a community effort, Winlock Needs Internet (, and are working with residents to map out internet problem areas (see enc. 2). We tried to determine what help the FCC Connect America Phase II funds accepted by CenturyLink mean for our area but have not been able to get an answer to date. We looked to ToledoTel, an ISP in the next town over, for help but they referred us back to CenturyLink (see enc. 3 & 4)*. We have been investigating alternative ISP methods including microwave (impeded by trees and hills of which we have plenty), satellite (expensive, slow) and are now looking into utilizing abandoned UHF frequencies (whitespace) which will require creating our own non-profit to fund and operate.
 At a community meeting on April 8th attended by ToledoTel COO Dale Merten and CenturyLink rep Brad Althauser we learned that funding for 1 Gig fiber optic service in Toledo is not something that can be replicated in Winlock. We learned due to a minimum 20-30% natural loss over out-of-date copper lines CenturyLink cannot provide the 1.5 Mbps access current customers pay for. (Average reported speeds are closer to 50% of services paid for). We had reports of denial of service confirmed. Increased demand has created an over-burdened system and CenturyLink is denying new account requests. Buyers are now asking about Internet access before buying, impacting a housing market still struggling to recover from 2008. Mr. Althauser told us improvement was unlikely. Winlock cannot give the company a substantial return on investment. He gave us options including selling bonds thereby raising property taxes or crowd sourcing private funds to improve CenturyLink infrastructure. We are a small town with over 50% poverty facing a billion dollar corporation that just accepted hundreds of millions of dollars in federal money. Customers paying full price on less than half the promised service are being told the only path to improvement is to subsidize CenturyLink. We thought that was what the FCC CAPII funds were for. We have tried solving this on our own and now realize we face a task requiring the knowledge and support of more influential entities.  Any help would be greatly appreciated.
*enc 4 references the most recent article in the Chronicle about the ToledoTel/CenturyLink meeting.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

The Town Crier's Nolan Patching has a Solid Recap of the Meeting

"In impressive numbers, citizens of Winlock came together at the Winlock Community Building on April 7th to address the problem of high-speed internet around the area. While citizens for the most part inside of the city limits have high speed internet through CenturyLink, many outside the city limits and in the surrounding areas are cut off from this due to bandwidth limits. The meeting was much anticipated and it was shown in the enthusiasm of the crowd who eagerly wanted to speak to the representatives of ToledoTel and CenturyLink." Click here to read the full article.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Post Meeting Service Map Update

With 139 households having responded so far, this is what our resident reported service map currently looks like.  

Green = No Complaints
Yellow = Slow but Tolerable
Orange = WiFi, Streaming and Dowloads Nearly Impossible
Red = Within Service Area but Bandwidth Exhausted
Purple = Outside Current Service Area
Blue = Gave up on CenturyLink Service or New Construction, Future Status Unknown