PMT Pays $337,612 to Customers

PMT is proud to announce that $337,612 was approved by the Board of Directors to be paid out to the cooperative’s members. Project Mutual Telephone Inc. is a non-profit cooperative that pays dividends back to customers based on the Board’s discretion in regard to their annual net revenue. The more services used by each member, the larger their patronage check. This year’s dividend payment will be issued in December and represents a portion of patronage earned in 1995 and 2018.

“We are very proud to be able to return this money to our members. We are the only communication company in the area who pays customers back,” says PMT Board Chairman Dan Lloyd. “Paying customers patronage is a tangible way to say, ‘thanks for doing business locally’ because, without our members, we don’t exist.”

Checks will be mailed the first of December. For those members receiving dividends in the amount of ten dollars or less, the credit will be applied to their December bill.

What is Patronage?

Did you know that as a member of a cooperative you are part owner? Each time you subscribe to one of PMT’s services like High Speed Internet or TV you are not just a customer; you are making an investment in a company that you actually own!

As an owner of a telephone cooperative, you are entitled to benefits that are not available to customers of private or big name telephone companies. These benefits include:

  • You elect each representative on the Board of Directors. Their role is to ensure the cooperative provides the highest quality, best value and latest technologies for you and protect your investment.
  • Any net profit is allocated back to members in the form of patronage dividends. Your percentage is tied directly to what you’ve invested.
  • You can be sure that we aren’t out to make a profit, but rather invest in our communities including members, business and schools that depend on the latest technologies to remain competitive and be successful in today’s global economy.

In order to operate the business, patronage remain with the cooperative for a certain amount of time before they are retired, or returned, to members in the form of patronage dividend checks. Dividends are typically paid during the month of December.

If you do move to an area outside of our service area, your membership status is canceled; any patronage earned will remain with the cooperative until they are retired. It is the former member’s responsibility to notify us of any address changes. In the event that we cannot locate you, after a certain amount of time, unclaimed monies are transferred to the PMT Foundation – our charitable foundation that awards community grants and scholarships. Members can see if they have unclaimed patronage here.

The only exception for paying out an account early is death of a member. There are forms and documentation to submit in order to pay the estate of the deceased member — contact the business office for more details.

 

PMT Delivers $2,200 to Local Elementary Schools

Local elementary schools in Minidoka and Cassia counties recently received a boost in funds as PMT donated $2,200 to the schools. PMT donated the money to the schools as part of a back-to-school promotion they ran. In September and October, PMT customers choose a local elementary school to receive a $50 donation, made on their behalf from PMT, when they signed up or upgraded their PMT Internet.

“This promotion is a win-win for both the schools and our customers,” states Dan Hoover, PMT CEO. “Our member customers are getting the fastest, most reliable internet for their day-to-day needs like homework, work, and entertainment.  At the same time, the schools are benefiting with a much-needed boost to their funds.”

Here is how much each school received this year.

Acequia Elementary received $100

 

Rupert Elementary received $750

 

Paul Elementary received $250

 

Heyburn Elementary received $250

 

Oakley Elementary received $150

 

White Pine Elementary received $200

 

Mountain View Elementary received $100

 

Dworshak Elementary received $250

 

John V. Evans Elementary received $100

What’s a Guest Wi-Fi Network and Why Do You need One?

As most of us are aware, home network security is extremely important. If your Wi-Fi network is not properly secured, it leaves you vulnerable to a variety of security threats. Determined hackers can use your Internet service for free, introduce malware onto your devices, and steal your personal data. It’s even possible for a hacker to hijack your Wi-Fi router and use it, along with thousands of other hacked routers, to launch a large-scale cyberattack on a company, government agency or other organization.

Fortunately, these threats can usually be addressed with some simple measures, like using the right type of Wi-Fi security (the WPA2 security protocol), setting a strong Wi-Fi password and changing it every few months.

 

Your house guests may pose a threat to your home network

But there is another type of threat to your home network you may not be aware of: your house guests. If your network is not set up correctly, visitors who access your Wi-Fi network pose a potential security risk to your devices and data.

Here’s how. Let’s say that you have two laptops, four smart phones and a tablet in your home, any of which could be connected to your Wi-Fi network at any given time. Let’s say you also have several smart home devices connected to Wi-Fi, and you have a portable USB hard drive plugged into your Wi-Fi router to share files with other family members. Whenever a guest logs into your primary Wi-Fi network, they will also have access to every one of these devices. While it’s unlikely any of your friends would intentionally sabotage your network, there’s a chance that the device they are using to connect to your network is infected with some sort of malware. If so, there’s a possibility that this malware could be spread to other devices connected to your network.

 

Why you need a guest Wi-Fi network

Fortunately, there’s a simple way to address this particular threat. Most Wi-Fi routers give you the ability to create what’s called a “guest Wi-Fi” network. Unlike your regular Wi-Fi network that you and your family members use, the guest  Wi-Fi network restricts what your guests can do in your network. Specifically, it gives visitors access to your Internet connection and nothing else. They can’t see any of your devices on the network and they don’t have the ability to access them.  Most importantly, they can’t accidentally introduce malware or compromise your devices or data in any other way.

 

How does a guest Wi-Fi network work?

Here’s how a guest Wi-Fi network works. Anyone looking to connect to your Wi-Fi will see your primary Wi-Fi network name as well as your guest network name. For example, if your primary network is called “MyWiFi” your guest network might be called “MyWiFi-guest”. Each of these networks has a separate strong password: one you share with guests and the other that you only share with family members. When a guest asks you for your Wi-Fi password, you simply give them the guest Wi-Fi password and ask them to connect to “MyWiFi-guest”. Once they’re connected, they can use the Internet and you don’t have to worry about any security threats.

 

How to set up a guest Wi-Fi network

MiHome managed Wi-Fi from PMT makes setting up and managing your guest network a breeze through the simple to use NetValet app. In addition, MiHome provides whole-home Wi-Fi coverage, with no dead zones, and comes with many features, such as parental controls, and letting you prioritize what devices can access your Wi-Fi and when. For more information on MiHome visit www.pmt.org/

For off-the-shelf routers, follow the instructions provided by your router manufacturer to create and set up the guest Wi-Fi network.

 

Share your guest password with your visitors

Once your guest network is setup, keep a record of your guest Wi-Fi password and make sure it’s the password you share with visitors to your home, rather than your primary Wi-Fi password. And don’t forget to change your guest Wi-Fi passwords every few months.

For more information about guest networks, contact a PMT representative.

2019 Grant Recipients Announced

The PMT Foundation awarded over $15,000 to organizations in the Magic Valley, each seeking to help sustain and improve our community.

“Once again we received grant applications from many worthwhile and deserving organizations from all across the area served by PMT,” states Marianne Welch, PMT Foundation Chairman. “We are pleased to announce our 2019 grant recipients and wish them continued success in their efforts to positively impact many in the communities they serve in the Magic Valley.”

As a customer-owned cooperative, Project Mutual Telephone (PMT) pays patronage dividends back to customers every year based on services used. When those monies go unclaimed for a number of years, they are transferred over to the PMT Foundation, which focuses on furthering education through a scholarship program and supporting community projects through grant awards.

The 2019 recipients were:

  • Oakely Valley Senior Citizens – $4,000 – To purchase tables and chairs for the Heritage Center, as the number of seniors using the center continues to rise.
  • Mini-Cassia Shelter – $3,500 – To replace aged appliances in the safe house
  • Friends of the DeMary Library – $2,534 – To install a set of Handicap Automatic Door Openers on the west side of the Library.
  • Mini-Cassia Search and Rescue – $2,500 – To purchase thermal imagers to help aid in search and rescue missions. The thermal imagers are useful in that they can expedite searches as they work in the dark, and in inclement weather.
  • Wilson Theatre – $2,500 – To purchase a scrim screen to project scenery on the stage for plays, concerts and productions.

 

PMT Grant Applications are awarded once a year and will become available again in the summer of 2020.

 

About PMT Foundation

The PMT Foundation was created in 2006 by the PMT Board of Directors as a charitable foundation. The Foundation helps further education in communities served by PMT through its scholarship program.  It also supports projects and programs that sustain and improve those communities.

 

 

About PMT 

Project Mutual Telephone (PMT) is a full-service communications company providing local telephone and its associated features, including long distance and voicemail, cell phone service, cable TV, IPTV, high-speed internet, directory publishing and computer networking and repair for home and office.  Headquartered in Rupert, Idaho, PMT has been serving the Magic Valley since 1916.  PMT serves 8,000 member customers and has offices in Rupert, Burley and Twin Falls, ID.

Community Donations

PMT is committed to serving the residents of Southern Idaho, and our dedication to this area is fundamental to who we are as a customer-owned company.  Unlike our national competitors, we care about more than just making a profit.  We care about making a difference.  Here are some recent contributions PMT has made in the community:

 

Homecoming Tailgate Parties

PMT provided free food during tailgate parties held at Minico High School and Oakley High School prior to their homecoming kick-offs.

 

Trunk-or-Treats

PMT employees dressed up in costumes and handed out candy to thousands of children this Halloween during Trunk-or-Treats at Fabri-Kal in Burley and at the Rupert Square. This helps ensure a fun and safe experience for trick-or-treaters.

 

High School Sports Schedule Posters – $1,800

PMT sponsored posters for Minico, Burley and Oakley High Schools. The posters feature a schedule of games for the various teams at each school, along with the players. They are distributed throughout the community, and a portion of the money goes back to each school.

 

Rupert Police Department – $1,750

PMT and Minidoka Memorial Hospital teamed up to each donate $1,750 so the Rupert Police Department could purchase a drone to help in police work.

 

High School Basketball Team Sponsor – $1,900

Each player on the OHS girls basketball team and MHS boys basketball team will have an individual banner to hang in the gym, as well as a team banner, sponsored by PMT. The proceeds raised go back to the respective basketball teams.

 

Paul Panther Power Dash – $250 Executive Sponsor

PMT partnered with Paul Elementary in their 5K Run/Walk held on September 21, 2019. The money raised provides for needed technology equipment and training for teachers and students at Paul Elementary.

 

Harry Potter Experience at the Wilson Theatre – $2,000

PMT helped sponsor this fundraising event where over 2,000 participants gained entrance into Hog- warts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Money raised goes back to the Historic Wilson Theatre.

Business Spotlight: Mountain West Optical

Vision. That’s what Terry Tranmer had in 1984 while employed by a lab that made glasses in Salt Lake City. He’d started in the optical business 12 years previously, working with a true artisan who trained him in the art of making eyewear. Tranmer decided he wanted to start his own lens manufacturing business because no two person’s eyewear needs are the same.  He moved to Twin Falls, Idaho, and opened Mountain West Optical in the Lynwood Plaza.

Mountain West Optical specializes in custom-made eyewear as unique as each individual. By focusing on a customer’s needs, wants, personality, occupation, and hobbies, it goes a long way toward the proper eyewear and perfect fit. Other optical businesses come to Tranmer when they have difficulty matching a customers’ request with the type of prescription lenses they need.

The staff are trained, certified, and licensed opticians who are experienced in the true art of making and fitting exceptional eyewear. They offer customers a large selection of high-quality frames and lens materials for every lifestyle. Specialty products include swim and ski goggles, prescription scuba masks, custom reading glasses, bike and motorcycle eyewear, and creating ballistic eyewear for Oakley.

Tranmer’s vision continued to expand.

In 2001, he built a new building for Mountain West Optical on the corner of North College Road and Fillmore Street. Its Southwest architecture sets it apart from the “big box” stores and conveys the message of “local owner, local store, and customized eyewear.”

In 2016, Tranmer invested in digital machinery to modernize his manufacturing of eyewear. The equipment provides more accuracy and has helped Mountain West Optical supply industry-specific glasses to other optical businesses, both locally and across the United States.

Also in 2016, Tranmer switched to PMT for his fiber Internet, phone and TV services. Many of the reasons for this change are also the hallmarks of his business — reliability, local customer service, and up-to-date technology. PMT provides a much faster and more consistent Internet speed than their previous provider, and the 100×20 internet circuit allows the manufacturing companies that work with Mountain West Optical to communicate seamlessly as well as quickly create and check on orders.

“I’m very pleased with PMT and how they support my business. They know our communication needs and help us create a network so we can be successful every day. I know if there’s ever an issue, I can call PMT and talk to a local person to get it promptly resolved,” states Tranmer.

Here’s to Mountain West Optical and its clear outlook on the future!

Automatically Finding the Best WiFi!

Automatically Finding the Best Wi-Fi Signal Wherever You Are In Your Home

We know how important it is for you to have a strong Wi-Fi signal throughout your home. That’s why many modern gateways (also known as routers, modems or access points) have powerful features designed to help you get the strong connections you want. Here are two of them:

Band steering: keeping you on the road less traveled.

Imagine a single lane highway that carries all the traffic both in, and out of, a town. If it’s a fair-sized town, that road could get pretty congested at times, and vehicles traveling on it can interfere with each other.

Now imagine if that same road was widened into two lanes. Congestion would be halved, and it would be able to carry twice as much traffic.

Wi-Fi is a lot like that.

In the beginning, there was only one Wi-Fi frequency: 2.4 GHz—a single road. As Wi-Fi became more popular, the 5 GHz band was introduced, doubling the amount of traffic a Wi-Fi network can handle.

Older devices can still only operate on the 2.4 GHz band, but newer ones can operate on both. However, in most cases, the device chooses the band. For example, your brand new phone might stay on the 2.4 GHz band as long as it can connect to it, even though there may be less congestion on the 5 GHz band. It will only switch to the 5 GHz band if you tell it to or if it can no longer connect to the 2.4 GHz band.

Some modern gateways don’t leave the choice up to your devices. They monitor how much traffic there is on the 2.4 GHz band and, if it’s too congested, will steer your devices to the less traveled 5 GHz band. Of course, if you still have old devices that can only connect on 2.4 GHz, these gateways will leave them where they are.

Node steering: finding you the best connection.

If you’ve installed a MiHome, a Whole Home Wi-Fi solution from PMT, in your residence, you may have one or more smaller boxes in different parts of your home. These units ‘mesh’ together to expand your Wi-Fi coverage across your entire property—perhaps even to your garage and front and back yards. They receive the signal from your primary gateway and transmit it further afield. In this situation, both the gateway and each of your additional units are referred to as “nodes”.

When you move around with your devices, you’ll move away from your primary gateway and towards one of the other units. Or you may move from one unit’s coverage area to another. In each case, the system will automatically steer—or switch—your devices to the gateway or unit that delivers the strongest signal. You don’t have to do a thing.

Community Donations

PMT is committed to serving the residents of Southern Idaho, and our dedication to this area is fundamental to who we are as a customer-owned company.  Unlike our national competitors, we care about more than just making a profit.  We are making a difference.  Here are some recent contributions PMT has made in the community:

 

Rupert 4th of July – $5,000

PMT was a major sponsor of the Rupert 4th of July Celebration. The money was used for the free entertainment and concerts in the Rupert Square.

“On behalf of the Rupert 4th of July Committee, I thank you so much for the continued support!  We know we are so lucky to have a company like PMT in our community that goes the extra mile to give back. We are grateful for the PMT employees and for their hard work to help make this a great community event! Thanks so much,” said Alan Johnson, Rupert 4th of July Committee Member.

St. Luke’s Golf Scramble – $1,500

St. Luke’s Magic Valley Heath Foundation puts on an annual golf scramble to raise funds to help improve the health of people in our region. The money earned from this year’s scramble benefited the Magic Valley Children with Special Needs Fund.

Magic Valley Folk Festival Youth Cultural Day – $1,000

International dancers will be arriving and performing in the Mini-Cassia area July 22- 27 as part of the Magic Valley Folk Festival. PMT is co-sponsoring the Youth Cultural Day on July 24 at Burley High School. This event is free to children of all ages. Small groups rotate to participate in workshops presented by our international guests. They see dances and costumes, hear different languages, learn about the different countries and cultures and ask LOTS of questions. Each child in attendance is given a “passport” with a page for each country they visit throughout the day. At the end of each presentation, there’s time for the dancers to sign the children’s passports. This is a day that you and your children will never forget! To learn more, visit magicvalleyfolkfestival.com

Women at the Wilson Conference – $700

This two-day conference on June 14 and 15 had participants laughing, crying and celebrating womanhood. Participants enjoyed inspiring speakers, entertainment and good food. The keynote speaker was Detective Ellis Maxwell, the lead detective from the Susan and Josh Powell disappearance case and the COLD podcast from KSL. Detective Maxwell addressed domestic violence and the podcast. Participants left feeling inspired to seek light, life, beauty and more purpose.

Minidoka Health Care Foundation Annual Golf Tournament – $500

PMT is a major sponsor of the 21st Annual Minidoka Health Care Foundation’s Annual Golf Tournament. The money raised from the scramble benefits the nonprofit Foundation to promote quality health care in Minidoka County.

Goose Creek Run-Off – $300

The Oakley Recreation District is holding their 34th Annual Goose Creek Run-Off on July 20, 2019. The run features a wide array of participants ranging from seasoned runners to individuals simply looking for a fun day with friends. The funds raised from the run help benefit the Oakley Recreation District maintain and manage the Oakley swimming pool and other recreational activities in the Oakley Valley.  To learn more about the race, emailgoosecreekrunoff@yahoo.com.

Wee Links – $200

Wee Links is a six-hole youth focused golf facility located adjacent to the Rupert Elk Lodge. The $200 donation goes towards helping keep operating costs low at the facility, so all youth have an opportunity to play with minimal green fees and club rentals.

Business Spotlight: Idaho Equipment and Sheet Metal

If you eat food, there’s a high probability that at some point you’ve eaten a product that’s come from Idaho Equipment and Sheet Metal (IESM) equipment. In 1982 Ron Jensen started IESM in Rupert, Idaho. In 2012 Shane Kloer, Bud Jensen and Justin Young bought the business, and with the foundation work laid by Ron, have been expanding into their niche market ever since, allowing them to build an additional facility in Nampa.   

IESM is a one-stop shop for custom food processing solutions for food manufacturers. From the beginning of an idea to installation, IESM works with their customers to design, engineer, machine and fabricate equipment to be installed in food manufacturing facilities both locally and across the globe.

“We take pride in the continuous improvement process we’ve developed to provide a quality work environment for our employees and products for our customers,” states Bud Jensen. “From remodeling our building, to providing a good work culture, to embracing the latest technology, it all ties together. If we can do 1% better than the day before, that adds up every day and compounds year over year, and we’ve seen the positive yields it brings to our company.”   

Recently PMT was able to build our fiber optic network out to IESM, and the company jumped at the chance to connect to PMT fiber Internet and upgrade their phone system to keep improving their communications.  “Now we can seamlessly connect to our office in Nampa,” states Kloer. “In a matter of seconds, we can transfer large files between our offices as if they were next door.  There’s no wait time or lost productivity.” 

PMT is happy to be able to help IESM continually enhance their communications and run efficiently as possible.

PMT Foundation Accepting Grant Applications

The PMT Foundation is seeking applications from organizations in the Magic Valley to receive financial funds that help support, sustain and improve our community.  Favorable consideration will be given to:

  • Projects that reach a broader segment of the community.
  • Requests for seed money to realize unusual opportunities that meet urgent to special needs in the community.
  • Stimulate and encourage additional funding for community projects.
  • Promote cooperation and partnerships within the community.

The deadline to submit grant applications is August 16, 2019.

Application forms are available at www.pmt.org or PMT offices in Burley or Rupert.

For more information contact Rick Harder at (208) 434-7124.

About the PMT Foundation

The PMT Foundation was created in 2006 by the PMT Board of Directors as a charitable foundation. The Foundation furthers education in communities served by Project Mutual Telephone through its scholarship program, and supports projects and programs that sustain and improve those communities.

To date, the Foundation has helped over 48 area students with funding to further their education beyond high school by continuing the scholarship tradition that PMT established in 1990.  The Foundation has contributed over $190,000 in grant awards to community organizations that help sustain and improve our local community through various projects.

 

2017 Recipients

2018 Recipients