Eighty years ago, the Northwestern Indiana Telephone Company began to specialize in voice systems. As decades passed and technology advanced, what began with telephone lines developed into digital voice lines, and within the last few years expanded into high speed broadband networks that connect many buildings. This is especially useful for school corporations where Wi-Fi and connectivity are crucial to success, and where NITCO has provided service for over 25 years.
“We are the best at what we do in Northwest Indiana, and that’s why we’re going to be pursuing more voice lines this year,” said Tom Carroll, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “We now have about 10 school corporations we consider close partnerships, including Jasper, Newton, Porter, and Lake counties.”
“The school City of East Chicago has 11 buildings scattered throughout the city. We interconnect all of those with a fiber system that has 10 gigabit capability to each school,” Carroll continued. “You want a phone in every classroom in case of an emergency. Cells don’t always work and there may not be the best coverage in buildings as large as a school, so landlines are important. The key is ensuring that every teacher can pick up the phone at the same time and get a line out. NITCO has some really cool systems with features that allow school corporations to utilize voice in a very special way.”
The Federal Communications Commission maintains that schools need to have at least one gigabit of internet capability for every 1,000 students enrolled. NITCO expects demand for internet capability to increase, and plans to be ready to accommodate the technological needs that come with that.
“I’ve seen recent requests in larger cities looking at 40 gigabit capability down the road. We need to make sure that our students have the highest speeds capable for the classroom,” Carroll said. “Every time a new app is created, or new software is developed it all relies on reaching the cloud and downloading data. You need systems that allow for that, and that’s what NITCO does. We work to make sure schools can age their infrastructure to support students and teachers.”
NITCO assists school corporations with access points for the critical tool of Wi-Fi, putting up managed Wi-Fi within the school and enabling open use for laptops, iPads, and other educational technology without the fear of a system crash.
“When you have thousands of students and faculty turning on devices at the same time, the last thing you want is for the system to crash, so we have to make sure these systems are really robust,” Carroll said. “Our relationship with schools goes beyond voice lines and networks, it gets right down into the classroom and the equipment the student is using. That’s what makes us special and separates us from other providers.”
Part of NITCO’s ability to provide quality service no doubt stems from its excellent staff and their years of experience in the field.
“We have 100 employees that work for us, and we have had folks with us for 40 years,” Carroll said. “These are people who have tremendous capabilities. They know voice internet fiber and the technology to make it all work because they were there when this was invented. They were a part of actually developing the internet for this country, and pioneered a lot of the installation and repair efforts.”
“We have a great team in our central office as well that manages all systems and electronics, and customer service members who are all local,” Carroll added. “I love to tell customers that your service representative could be your next-door neighbor. You know when you call NITCO you’re calling someone you can trust.”
With a well-rounded, educated staff and decades of experience, NITCO is prepared to provide our local schools with all the communications technology they need to grow for years to come.
“We were there when the internet and communications technology was first being invented,” Carroll said. “We’ve grown and developed with it for 80 years, and we understand and can build the technology for the future.”