At FTC, we are taking measures to ensure the health and safety of our members, their families, and our staff. We have been closely monitoring events concerning COVID-19 and have made the decision to restrict access to our business office by the general public beginning Monday, March 23 until further notice. Although access to our office will be restricted, customer service representatives will still be available at our drive-thru during regular business hours and by phone at 866.638.2144.

While taking protective measures may not prevent people from getting the virus, it can help reduce the number of patients our health care system must treat in a short period of time. As the graph below shows, taking measures to protect against COVID-19 can spread the number of cases across a longer period, ensuring that health care providers have the resources to help everyone who needs it.

Covid-19 Number of Cases

Clear, accurate information is vital during times of crisis. FTC is making every effort to keep you informed about how we are responding to the COVID-19 outbreak, along with ways you can protect yourself and your family.

Here’s how we are responding and helpful resources:

Our Pledge to Keep Americans Connected

FTC Joins FCC Pledge to Keep Members Connected During COVID-19 Crisis

FTC is joining with the FCC’s “Keep Americans Connected Pledge” to ensure our members can stay connected during this COVID-19 crisis.

As the novel coronavirus disrupts our daily routines, many are turning to the Internet for solutions. Businesses are allowing employees to telework, schools are trying out new distance learning tools, and doctors are relying on telehealth to care for some patients remotely. All of those services are made possible by high-speed broadband connections.

“This current health crisis underscores the importance of broadband in our lives, and we understand that so many of our members will be relying on our services now more than ever,” says Fred Johnson. “They need access to high-speed Internet. Whether they are working or learning from home, or if they simply need to communicate with family and loved ones, FTC wants to make sure they have the tools they need.”

Any members needing assistance with their account should call FTC at 866.638.2144.

Access to broadband is becoming more important than ever, and fiber broadband is the fastest, most reliable and most advanced Internet technology available. Our construction crews continue working to increase access to this life-changing technology, with the goal of providing a fiber optic Internet connection to everyone in our service area.

Ways to Pay Without Leaving Home

There are many ways you can pay your bill without coming into the office or leaving the comfort of your home. Please rest assured that all methods are safe and secure.

Service Call Policy

At FTC, the only thing greater than our commitment to customer service is our commitment to the safety and well-being of our members, employees and community at large. Based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, the National Institutes of Health and other agencies, we have developed a simple set of questions to guide how we interact with customers in their homes. Please remember, our employees travel from home to home and from business to business. We must not play a role in spreading exposure to COVID-19.

Before any employee will be dispatched to a customer’s home for a service call, we will ask the customer a series of questions to determine the risk of exposure. If our team believes that any risk exists, the service call will be further evaluated or rescheduled if possible. If the service call is an emergency, special precautions must be taken by our employees and our customers before a visit can be made.

Our employees will use their best judgment before scheduling a service call and after arriving at a customer’s home to determine the best approach for protecting everyone involved. Again, we are committed to the safety and well-being of our members, employees and community at large, and this policy is in keeping with that commitment.

We continue to monitor updates from federal, state and local officials regarding the COVID-19 outbreak, and we may make adjustments to this screening policy as appropriate. Thank you for helping us keep our community safe!

Free Internet Access Hotspots

As we respond to COVID-19, we remain committed to keeping you connected. We are turning up free Internet Access Hotspots in communities throughout our area for the benefit of those in need during this crisis. Hotspots will be accessible from the listed locations parking lot and there will be no need to enter the location for Wi-Fi access.

Connect to network: FTC Hotspot

Available Now:

Alabama Walking Park • Rotary Pavilion Parking Lot: 555 Williams Ave NE, Fort Payne, AL 35967

Albertville Farmer’s Market Parking Lot: 314 Sand Mountain Drive, Albertville, AL 35950

Boaz Outlet Center-Trinkets N’ Treasures: 425 McCleskey Drive, Boaz, AL 35956

Collinsville City Hall: 39 Post Office St, Collinsville, AL 35961

Crossville City Hall: 14521 AL-68, Crossville, AL 35962

Flat Rock Grocery: 21471 AL-71, Flat Rock, AL 35966

Fort Payne High School Parking Lot near Central Office: 201 45th St NE, Fort Payne, AL 35967

Fort Payne Middle School: 4910 Martin Ave NE, Fort Payne, AL 35967

Fyffe Senior Center: 413 Graves St, Fyffe, AL 35971

Geraldine City Hall: 41343 AL-75, Geraldine, AL 35974

Guntersville Chamber of Commerce: 200 Gunter Ave, Guntersville, AL 35976

Henagar Ruritan Building: 150 Barron Drive, Henagar, AL 35978

North Sand Mountain High School: 29333 AL-71, Bryant, AL 35958

Pisgah Town Hall: 80 Ollie St, Pisgah, AL 35765

Section Pharmacy: 5295 Tammy Little Dr, Section, AL 35771

Tom Bevill Enrichment Center: 115 Main St W, Rainsville, AL 35986

Valley Head FTC Central Office: 728 4th Ave, Valley Head, AL 35989

Williams Avenue Elementary School • VFW Parking Lot: 151 18th St, Fort Payne, AL 35967

Wills Valley Recreation Center • Side Parking Lot: 4220 Godfrey Ave NE, Fort Payne, AL 35967

Keeping You Informed

Clear, accurate information is vital during times of crisis. FTC is making every effort to keep you informed about how we are responding to the COVID-19 outbreak, along with ways you can protect yourself and your family. To ensure you see our information:

Helping with Economic Hardship

For many industries, the impact of COVID-19 will be felt immediately. Several of our customers may see their incomes impacted as they are told to stay home from work. 

As a service provider invested in our communities, we are committed to helping our members and customers get through these uncertain times. That’s why, until we know more about this situation and what the repercussions may be, FTC has pledged to keep our customers connected. If you are negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and need assistance, please contact our business office at 866.638.2144.  

Tips for Working from Home

As we try to curb the spread of COVID-19, many employers are giving people the opportunity to work from home. Here are some tips to stay focused and productive:

WFH Cybersecurity best practices to consider:

  • Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to access your company network
  • Enable multi-factor authentication
  • Make sure you are on secured networks (avoid public Wi-Fi)
  • Be wary of unsolicited emails and unknown senders (especially links & attachments)
  • Use strong unique passwords, and avoid sharing sensitive data like account logins and financial info via email and chat.

Watch out for coronavirus scams!

Criminals are opportunists. They will often capitalize on major news events to create scams to take advantage of unsuspecting consumers. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic is a perfect example. The fear evoked by the coronavirus creates the perfect opportunity for criminals to prey upon individuals with phishing, social engineering scams and more.

Some of the potential scams to watch out for include:

The U.S. Secret Service Agency offers the following advice regarding the above scams:

  • Phishing Emails/Social Engineering — Avoid opening attachments and clicking on links within emails from senders you do not recognize. These attachments can contain malicious content, such as ransomware, that can infect your device and steal your information. Be leery of emails or phone calls requesting account information or requesting you to verify your account. Legitimate businesses will never call you or email you directly for this information.
  • Always independently verify any request for information that appears to come from a legitimate source.
  • Visit websites by typing in the domain name yourself. Receiving “certificate errors” can be a warning sign that something is not right with the website.

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) encourages individuals to remain vigilant and take the following precautions.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the World Health Organization say individuals are already using the coronavirus to impersonate WHO officials to steal money or sensitive information. If you are contacted by a person or organization that appears to be from WHO, verify their authenticity before responding.

The World Health Organization will never:  

  • Ask you to log in to view safety information.
  • Email attachments you didn’t ask for.
  • Ask you to visit a link outside of www.who.int.
  • Charge money to apply for a job, register for a conference or reserve a hotel.
  • Conduct lotteries or offer prizes, grants, certificates or funding through email.
  • Ask you to donate directly to emergency response plans or funding appeals.

To learn more, visit information provided by the World Health Organization, CISA and the U.S. Secret Service.

Travel Tips

According to health experts, restricting travel is key to containing the spread of the coronavirus. However, if circumstances arise that require you to travel, please consider the following tips:

Secure your online accounts with a password manager

According to health experts, restricting travel is key to containing the spread of the coronavirus. However, if circumstances arise that require you to travel, please consider the following tips:

With the coronavirus pandemic changing how and where people are connecting to the internet, online security has become a greater concern. You can decrease your chances of losing access to an online account or becoming a victim of cyber crime by changing the way you manage your many passwords.

It’s happened to us all. You try to log into your online account for work or school — or maybe just your social media account — and your mind goes blank. You don’t remember the password, nor can you find that slip of paper where you wrote it down.

Having numerous online accounts may lead you to take shortcuts, such as using common words for your passwords or even using the same password across several accounts. These shortcuts could put your personal information at risk. But there is a relatively easy solution: a password manager.

What is a password manager?

Password managers store your login information for all the websites and apps you use, and help you log into them automatically. They encrypt your password database with a master password — and this becomes the only password you have to remember.

According to Wirecutter, which offers consumer tips on a variety of gear and gadgets, everyone should consider using a password manager. “It’s the most important thing you can do — alongside two-factor authentication — to keep your online information safe.”

Below is information on some popular password managers:

One of the best things about password managers is that they generate complicated passwords that would be impossible to guess. If you decide to create your own passwords instead, consider these tips from ConnectSafely.org, a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating users of connected technology about safety, privacy and security:

  • Make the password at least eight characters long.
  • Don’t use the same password for multiple accounts.
  • Create passwords that are easy to remember but hard for others to guess.
  • Include numbers, capital letters and symbols.

Take a moment to make a list of all the online accounts you have created, and you will quickly see the need for a better system of keeping track of them all. A password manager will bring that part of your life under control, while bringing a level of security to your life in these uncertain times.

Tips for Curbing Boredom at Home

Many people are spending much more time at home to avoid spreading COVID-19. We may be able to work from home and learn from home, but at the end of the day, we need a little entertainment in our lives. Streaming video is a popular pastime, and here is a guide to popular devices and services:

Popular streaming devices

Popular streaming options

Pros: Netflix is the gold standard for streaming services. It has a ton of original content to keep you entertained forever.

Cons: Netflix is losing some of its most popular content to other streaming services, including “Friends,” “The Office,” and “Parks and Recreation.”

Notable exclusives: “Stranger Things,” “Black Mirror” and “Seinfeld.”

Purchase options:

Basic ($8.99/month) — One screen at a time, standard definition.

Standard ($12.99/month) — Two screens at a time, high definition.

Premium (15.99/month) — Four screens at a time, HD and 4K ultra-HD.

Pros: Hulu is one of only a few streaming services with a live TV option that can serve as a substitute for a cable subscription, and it includes a large library of content.

Cons: Some of the more popular shows out there are already exclusive to other streaming services.

Notable exclusives: “The Handmaids Tale,” “Family Guy” and all FX content.

Purchase options:

$5.99/month with ads.

$11.99/month with no ads.

$54.99/month on-demand and live TV over 50 channels.

$12.99/month bundle with Disney Plus and ESPN Plus.

Pros: Disney Plus has an entire library of Disney content, from the most popular blockbusters to your favorite Disney Channel show from the ’90s.

Cons: If you are not a fan of typical Disney content, there’s not as much for you here.

Notable exclusives: Marvel, “Star Wars,” “Simpsons” and any Disney movie you can think of.

Purchase options:

$6.99/month.

$69.99/year.

Verizon customers get a year for free.

$12.99/month bundle with Hulu and ESPN Plus.

Pros: HBO Max has all of the HBO content you know and love plus more original content and old favorites.

Cons: It has a higher price point.

Notable exclusives: “Game of Thrones,” “Friends,” “Big Bang Theory,” “DC” and “South Park.”

Purchase options:

$14.99/month.

Pros: CBS All Access has available older CBS shows and live viewing of CBS programming.

Cons: It has a limited amount of content.

Notable exclusives: “Star Trek: Discovery” and “The Twilight Zone.”

Purchase options:

$5.99/month with ads.

$9.99/month without ads.

Free streaming

With the market saturated with pay subscriptions, new streaming services are offering programming for free to set them apart from the others. Some of the best free services include:

Pros: Hoopla has more than 9,000 titles of movies or TV shows and is a great choice for critically acclaimed dramas, classics and family movies.

Cons: You will need a library card from a participating library to access it. It is not a good choice for new releases.

Notable movies: “City of God,” “Memento” and “Good Will Hunting.”

Notable TV shows: “Planet Earth,” “Rick and Morty” and “The Vietnam War.”

Available on: Android TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Fire TV Stick, Roku.

Pros: Kanopy is a great option for movies, especially Oscar nominees, foreign and indie films, documentaries, and educational courses.

Cons: It also requires a library card to access programming. 

Notable movies: “Lady Bird,” “Moonlight” and “First Reformed.”

Available on: Apple TV, Chromecast, Fire TV Stick, Roku.

Pros: Locast is a great option for live TV programming on ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, PBS and the CW.

Cons: It is currently available in only 17 U.S. markets but is growing and expanding to more areas.

Notable shows: Includes 47 of the 50 most-watched shows in 2019.

Available on: Android TV, Apple TV, Fire TV Stick, Roku.

Pros: With more than 15,000 titles in its database, Tubi has the largest selection of any free streaming service. It is a great option for comedy, action, anime, horror and action films.

Cons: Not a good option for those looking for new releases or classics.

Notable movies: “New Jack City,” “Spotlight” and “Kill Bill.”

Notable TV shows: “Cowboy Bebop,” “The Beatles Anthology” and “Mr. Bean.”

Available on: Android TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Fire TV Stick, PlayStation 4, Roku, Xbox One.

Pros: Unlike many of the streaming services with on-demand options and movies, Pluto TV is primarily focused on live programming with hundreds of live TV shows. It’s an excellent source for news coverage and sports.

Cons: While Pluto TV does have a fair number of on-demand movies, it is not a good option for action or comedy movies.

Notable programming: “The King of New York,” “Election” and “Big Fish.”

Available on: Apple TV, Chromecast, Fire TV Stick, Roku.