Hardy Telecommunications’ Youth Advisory Board began its fourth year on October 7 with an expanded group of eight students.
For the first time, the board has eight members instead of six. Hardy Marketing/Human Resource Director Derek Barr said the board is expanded this year due to last winter, when several meetings had to be cancelled because of snow.
“We brought back all of the students from last year and added one freshman each from Moorefield and East Hardy,” he said. “We felt that last year’s board would be shortchanged with the meetings being cancelled, so we invited everyone to return. This way they’ll get the full experience.”
Hardy’s 2010 Youth Advisory Board: (Front row, left to right): MHS Freshman JoBeth Delawder, MHS Junior Tori Burdette, MHS Senior Mary Mumford, EHHS Junior Tressa Parker; (Back row, left to right): EHHS Sophomore Tyler Bradfield, EHHS Freshman Stephen Hott, MHS Sophomore Garrett Keller. (Not pictured) EHHS Senior Ashley Dove
Derek said the board would return to six members next year.
The purpose of the Youth Board is to educate the students about Hardy Telecommunications and its operations as well as to get information from the students as to what uses of technology are most important to them. The group discusses different Hardy services, including telephone and Internet, with the goal of offering services that today’s youth most value.
JoBeth Delawder, a Moorefield High freshman new to the board, said she saw the Youth Board as a chance to find out more about the company.
“I thought it was a good opportunity to learn more about Hardy Telecommunications and how they serve our county,” she said.
The eight students on the board will serve one-year terms. The board has one student each from 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th grades from both high schools in the county.
Besides JoBeth, the other members of Hardy’s 2010-11 Youth Advisory Board are EHHS Senior Ashley Dove, EHHS Junior Tressa Parker, EHHS Sophomore Tyler Bradfield, EHHS Freshman Stephen Hott, MHS Senior Mary Mumford, MHS Junior Tori Burdette, and MHS Sophomore Garrett Keller.
At the first meeting, Derek described to the students how the wireless system and mobile phones rely on the landline telecommunications network in order to operate. By drawing a diagram, he explained that It’s quite common for a cellular telephone call to travel over wirelines built by companies like Hardy that do not offer their own cellular service. Hardy Telecommunications is an authorized retailer of Sprint wireless service but does not have its own mobile phone service.
“For cell phones to connect, the calls are routed over the landline system,” he said. He said Hardy provides fiber-optic cable connections to cell phone towers so that wireless calls can enter Hardy’s landline network as quickly as possible. That process is called backhaul.
“Without a company like Hardy Telecommunications providing backhaul for the cell towers, the wireless system would not function,” he said.
When a cellular call is made, the caller’s cell phone sends a signal to the nearest cell site, such as a tower. That cell site generally corresponds to a wireline carrier’s local loop. A mobile switching center (MSC) acts as the control center for the wireless call, routing the call to its intended destination and keeping track of all usage data. In some cases the MSC is located hundreds of miles away from the cell site and wirelines are used to connect the MSC and the cell site.
Derek also told the students about Hardy OneNet, the company’s fiber-to-the-home project that will provide fiber-optic connections directly to customers’ homes in Hardy County. Hardy Telecommunications received a $31.6 million grant/loan combination from the federal government to build the network, which will take two to three years to complete.
“By having a fiber connection directly to homes, we will be able to offer high-definition digital television with local channels and faster Internet speeds,” he said.
Fiber-optic technology has the capability to transmit far more information at much faster speeds than any other transmission method, including traditional copper cable and wireless, and the signal doesn’t degrade as it does with other connections.
“Hardy County will have one of the premiere telecommunications networks in the entire country,” Derek said.
In subsequent meetings, the board will learn more about Hardy’s operations, such as how the Internet works and how a telephone call can be connected anywhere in the world in just seconds.