FAQs

FAQs2020-04-30T20:02:12+00:00

General

You will need a photo ID and the physical address of where you are requesting service.

It is based on customer’s past credit history.

We conduct a credit check for new customers to determine the level of deposits.

We have this system in place now using a three-star indexed credit rating as follows:

  • 3 star = good credit and credit score above 959
  • 2 star = fair credit and credit score above 484
  • 1 star = poor credit and credit score between 0-484

The star ratings will dictate the deposit amount for these services:

  • Triple Play & Security: 3 star – $0, 2 star – $150, 1 star – $300
  • Triple Play (telephone, TV, internet): 3 star – $0, 2 star – $100, 1 star – $200
  • Television: 3 star – $0, 2 star – $100, 1 star – $200
  • Telephone: 3 star – $0, 2 star – $30, 1 star – $30
  • Security: 3 star – $0, 2 star – $100, 1 star – $200
  • Internet: 3 star – $0, 2 star – $50, 1 star – $100

WISP Customers – Our WISP customers pay a $99 up front installation charge and their first month’s service up front (pro-rated). There is no other credit deposit.

Installation time will depend on the services you are connecting to. It is 3-4 weeks for a typical residential installation. There are other factors that may increase or decrease this time and we will make every effort to have your installation scheduled sooner. If you have had prior service with FTC your service could possibly be restored quicker.

You will be given an installation date and time when services are ordered.

After being in service for one year and paying your bill on time, then your deposit will be refunded to you with interest.

Please visit this page to learn more about fiber availability in your area.

Account & Billing

Your first bill is typically higher than your average bill because of the following potential charges:

  • A partial month of service if you start service in middle of a bill cycle (prorated charges).
  • Your first full month of service billed in advance.
  • Any incurred activation fees and equipment charges.

If your bill is not paid on the appropriate due date, you will receive a late fee. After 45 days of not receiving payment, services may be disconnected.

The Access Recovery Charge, or ARC, allows incumbent local exchange carriers, such as FTC, to recover part of the revenues lost through FCC required reductions to access rates.

On the backside of your billing statement there is a CHANGE OF ADDRESS form. Fill out the information you would like to have updated/changed and mail the form back to FTC.

P.O. Box 217
Rainsville, AL 35986

Learn more about capital credits here.

Internet

A simple reboot to your router could save you a call to tech support.

Make sure to follow the order listed to turn the equipment off and back on in a particular sequence.

  1. Shut down the device you are using to connect to the Internet (e.g., a computer, laptop, smartphone, tablet, etc.)
  2. Unplug your wireless gateway, modem or router from the electrical outlet and leave it unplugged for at least 10 seconds.
  3. Check for loose cables.
  4. Plug it back into the electrical outlet and wait 30 seconds.
  5. Turn your computer (or other device) back on and try reconnecting to the WiFi connection.

If this does not resolve your internet connection issue, call technical support at 866.698.0926.

Run a speed test.

  1. Connect an Ethernet cable directly from your modem to your computer (testing with Wi-fi can significantly impact your results).
  2. Click Here, then click “Begin Test” in the box that appears at the top of your screen.
  3. We recommend that you run the test several times, at different times of day for an accurate sampling.
  4. Please let us know if your download speed does not reflect the tier of service to which you subscribed.

What could adversely affect my test results?

  1. Run the speed test over a wired connection directly to your modem. Performance over a Wi-fi network is greatly impacted by a number of things not within FTC’s control. Try connecting directly to the modem before running your speed test.
  2. Multiple devices on the same connection in your household could affect the reading. Try to run the test at a time when the only running device is the computer you are using to run the test.
  3. Run the speed test at different times of day. If you test during the hours with the highest network traffic, there is no way to guarantee your speed unless you subscribe to a dedicated connection.
  4. What is the age of your computer? Just like all technology, computers and equipment advance at a rapid pace. It is possible that if you use an older computer, it will be unable to fully utilize the speeds delivered over your internet connection.
  5. Make sure all programs are closed on your computer before running the test. If any programs were running when you ran the first test, shut down all programs and run the speed test again to see if it affects your results.
  6. Re-start your device to ensure an accurate reading. Try to run the speed test right after restarting your computer, or check your Task Manager to shut down any active processes before running the test.
  7. Virus and malware could also impede your computer from running at full speed. Be sure that you keep your computer protected from these malicious programs by installing virus and malware protection.

FTC provisions our modems and engineers our network to provide our customers the speed to which they subscribe. However, we cannot guarantee that you will achieve those speeds at all times, which is why the service is advertised as “up to” a specific level.

Voice

You may contact FTC to change your number at any time. Changing your number may incur additional charges on your subsequent bill.

Learn more about calling features here.

  1. When using a cordless phone, make sure all connections are tightly connected and that there is power to the unit. Perhaps even try a different outlet to see if that restores service.
  2. Plug a corded phone into the phone jack to see if you receive a dial tone.
  3. If there is still no dial tone please call us at: 256.638.2144

Cordless phones are susceptible to lightning. Unplug all cordless phones and keep a corded phone plugged in. If the line works once all the cordless phones are unplugged, begin plugging in one cordless phone at a time to determine if one was affected by lightening.

This is usually an indication something inside the home is not working properly, such as a cordless phone, answering machine, fax and/or satellite. Unplug everything from the jacks and use a regular phone to see if there is a dial tone. If unsuccessful, contact FTC at 256.638.2144.

Backup Power Information

If your home phone service is provided with our state-of-the-art fiber optic network, it requires electric power to operate. To avoid a disruption of home voice service during a power outage – and to maintain the ability to connect to 911 emergency services — we at Farmers Telecommunications Cooperative, Inc. (“FTC”) offer you battery backup power option(s).

Where to Obtain Your Battery Backup

FTC would like to ensure that our customers are provided reliable backup batteries that allow you to continue to use your home voice services during a power outage. That is why we currently provide and maintain a backup battery at no charge. If you have any questions or experience trouble with your battery backup, please call 256-638-2144 and we will provide helpful information about how to self-monitor and self-test the backup battery. In addition, FTC will arrange for a replacement battery if required.

What Your Backup Battery Can – and Can’t – Do for You

The battery backup provided by FTC is approximately 6.5 pounds (with battery) and is about 6.5” L x 7.5” W x 3.25” D.

Our backup batteries are expected to last at least 8 hours on standby power. That means the backup battery should give you approximately 6 hours of talk time.

Our backup battery does not provide power to any services other than voice. Home security systems, medical monitoring devices, routers and other equipment will not run on a home phone backup battery.

Instructions for Proper Care and Use of Your Battery

Please follow the more detailed instructions included with your battery for proper use, storage and care of your battery to ensure that it will function as needed during a power outage. If you do not store your battery correctly, it may shorten its useful life. Environmental factors such as temperature can shorten your battery’s useful life. We recommend that you store your battery above 41°F and below 104°F.  These batteries are rechargeable. They will not last forever and should be replaced every 2 to 4 years, or when your device starts to make a loud beeping sound. That sound means that the battery is depleted, and must be replaced. As instructed above, please call FTC at 256-638-2144 to schedule a replacement. You should also periodically, as described in the instructions included with your battery, remove and test your battery to verify both the operation of the backup battery and its condition.

It is the information that FTC obtains that relates to the quantity, technical configuration, type, destination, location, and amount of use of the telecommunications services you subscribe to from FTC, including broadband Internet access service (“BIAS”).  It includes the information that is found in your bills, but it does not include subscriber list information (name, address and telephone number).

Examples of CPNI would be the telephone numbers that you call, the times you call them, the duration of your calls or the amount of your bill.  Certain information relating to your use of our BIAS will also be considered CPNI and subject to additional privacy protections and use restrictions, including your broadband service plans, geographic location information, MAC and IP addresses, domain name information, device identifiers, traffic statistics, port information, application headers, usage and payload, and certain consumer devices capable of connection to broadband services, such as smartphones, tablets, computers, modems and routers.

To register by telephone, call 1.888.382.1222. For TTY, call 1.866.290.4236. You also may register or obtain additional information online here.

Learn more about international rates here.

Security

This depends on a few things. If your system is currently operational and not locked out by another monitoring company, FTC may be able to configure your alarm panel to work with our monitoring station. This is commonly referred to as a “take-over”. Before you convert your existing system, be certain that you are no longer under contract with your previous monitoring company.

If you want to use our automation and interactive Total Connect Remote Services features, the system must be a Honeywell capable system.

    1. A signal immediately alerts our Monitoring Station.
    2. Your alarm notification is received by our FTC Response Team.
    3. A member of our team will call you to verify if you are in need of help or if it was a false alarm.
    4. If help is needed, we will immediately contact the police, fire department or other emergency service.

Yes. Total Connect Remote Services allow you to control your security system, lights, locks and thermostats, and receive important alerts and system statuses in real-time on your smartphone or other Internet connected device. 

Our Total Connect Remote Services apps allow you to stay in the know wherever you go by just the tap of your finger. With our app you can control your security systems, thermostats, lighting, and locks. Have real time information with push notifications, text messages, and email alerts. View live video to see, hear, and even speak to visitors at your front door anytime, anywhere on compatible smart devices. Download here from iTunes. Download here from Google Play.

As long as you have your current Pass Code you can contact Customer Service at 256.638.2144 to change this information.

Duress codes should be used only when the system has to be disarmed under a “stressful” situation. When a “Duress” alarm is sent to the central station, police are immediately dispatched without alarm verification.

Normally, the entry delay is set to 45 seconds. The effectiveness of the alarm is dependent on this time being as short as possible. This time can be configured based on your need.

Not necessarily, but it is a good idea for someone to be able to gain access to the house in the event of trouble or if the system should malfunction.

Enter your four-digit user code followed by the bypass key (6) and the two-digit zone number you wish to bypass. Sequence must be entered continuously or the sequence will not be accepted.

If you hold down the panic or fire alarm buttons on the keypad for at least 3 seconds, an alarm is transmitted to the central station, and emergency services are dispatched immediately. An alarm received in this manner cannot be cancelled.

Any type of motion sensor should not be armed in the area you are sleeping. If motion sensors are armed in other parts of the house, your system will have to be disarmed before leaving the sleeping quarters. In most cases this has already been programmed for you. You can use the STAY mode while sleeping or are in the house. This feature turns off all interior devices and keeps your perimeter armed. The AWAY feature arms every device in the system and assumes you are leaving the house.

Enter your four-digit code followed by the chime key (9)

It is possible for you to experience an alarm from a strong surge. The equipment we install has been designed and tested to resist false alarms during power surges.

The battery will continue to operate the system until power is restored or the batteries are exhausted.

Battery life depends on the size of your system. In most cases a Lynx wireless system will stay active for 2-4 hours.

When your alarm system is triggered around 60 seconds of the sirens going off, our Monitoring Station will call your home/business first before calling local authorities. If it is a false alarm, answer the phone and give the proper password. If authorities are dispatched to your location and false alarms become excessive, local authorities may charge you.

Becoming familiar with proper arming and operation of your alarm system can reduce false alarms. Train everyone who uses your system. Be sure all devices are properly mounted and are clear of dust.

“AC” loss is an indicator that electrical power has been removed from the system. If you are not experiencing a power outage, check all of your circuit breakers. Service may be required.

This indicates an alarm has occurred. This information will continue to be displayed until you enter your user code and press “Off” (1).

The “Stay” mode also allows for Entry / Exit delay times. If no delay is needed, arm the system in the “Instant” mode. This will not allow any Entry time.

This normally means that electrical power has been removed from the system and the battery has been exhausted. Check all of the circuit breakers. If none are tripped and you have power in your home, service will be required.

“DC” will appear anytime the download software has been used to access the control panels programming.

Any time a zone is faulted it will display on the keypad. This could mean a door or window is open or there may be movement in the area of a motion detector. The system cannot be armed at this time. The fault must be cleared to set the alarm.

“FC” will appear on the keypad anytime the alarm system tried to report an event to the central station and the message was not received. The most common reason this may happen is due to phone service not being available, some type of call block being put on the phone line, or some other type of telephone line trouble.

Your system has an integrated message center. Press function key (#) and then press (3) to listen to your message.

OC” is displayed on the keypad when communication has been lost between the keypad and the control panel.

“Standby” or “E8” is displayed on the keypad when there are more wireless devices programmed than the system is capable of handling. Service is required.

Be sure to let the system stay in alarm with the sirens sounding for at least 30 seconds before silencing or canceling the alarm.

It is recommended you test your alarm system once per month. You should fully test your alarm system including each window sensor, door contact and smoke detector to ensure that each component is functioning properly. You should call the Central Station prior to testing and provide your account ID and pass code to put your account in test mode.

How to Test My Alarm System:

  1. Dial our 24/7 Monitoring Facility at 1-888-635-9754 to speak to a live operator
  2. Have your Account ID number/password ready which identifies you as the authorized user of your monitored premise
  3. Advise the operator you would like to test your alarm system
  4. The operator will take your alarm system off line so that no dispatching will occur during your testing
  5. Close all doors and protected windows
  6. Arm your system and allow delay time to expire
  7. Activate your alarm by opening a door/window, pressing a panic button or crossing the path of a motion sensor
  8. Allow your siren to sound for 30 to 60 seconds
  9. Disarm the system
  10. Dial our 24/7 Monitoring Facility at 1-888-635-9754 to speak to a live operator
  11. Have your ID number/password ready which identifies you as the authorized user of your monitored premise
  12. Advise that you are calling to check test results
  13. The operator will describe the signals received by our Monitoring Station
  14. Ask the operator to take your system off test in order to put your system back on line
  15. You are done!

Yes, some insurance companies provide up to a 20% discount on your homeowners insurance by having a monitored security system. Please check with your insurance company for more information.

SmartHub

SmartHub makes it possible to access your FTC account — even multiple accounts— from your computer, table or smartphone. You can:

  • View and pay your bill online
  • Get accurate, timely account information
  • Make payments in a secure environment

Download the FREE app today that is supported for both Android and Apple devices.
(Search for SmartHub (must be all one word) in the Apple Store or in the Android Market. If duplicates appear, choose the app by National Information Solutions Cooperative.)

Click here or go to farmerstel.com and click on Customer Tools – Pay Your Bill. Click on “New User? Sign up to access our Self Service site.”A few things you will need to know when signing up is your FTC account number, last name of the account, mailing zip code, recent bill amount and/or your CPNI password. Most of this information can be obtained from your most recent bill or by calling a FTC customer service representative. You will also be asked to select a hint question and answer for security purposes. After you accept the terms and conditions and click submit, you will receive an email with a temporary access password. You will be required to change your password to access your account.

If you need assistance please call our customer service representatives at 256-638-2144.

Our Mobile Apps are native Applications that can be downloaded and installed on your compatible mobile phone or tablet device. The Web version is internet accessible from any web enabled device. Both the Apps and the Web version give you secure access to maintain your account information, view your bills, see payment history, make payments on one or more accounts, set up recurring payments and report problems.

The Web has a Profile page available for you to maintain your personal information, password, security pass phrase and stored payment methods.

The Apps allow you to find and get directions to office locations and payment drop boxes using the map feature on your device.

Our Apps are supported on the following platforms:
IOS 5.1 and above (iPhone and/or iPad)

Android 2.2 and above (Smartphones or tablets)

Yes! All critical information is encrypted in every transaction run and no personal information is stored on your mobile device. Mobile devices do offer you the ability to store your login information for Apps installed on the device. If you choose to store your login information, any person who has access to your mobile device can access your account.

Simply look for SmartHub in the Apple Store® or in the Android® Market.
Search: SmartHub (not case sensitive but must be all one word), if duplicates appear the correct App is provided by our partner, National Information Solutions Cooperative.

No. Our App is free to download and install.

No. You can take advantage of all of the features of SmartHub and continue to pay your bill as you currently do.

Yes. The Web home page shows all of your accounts with the amounts due and hyperlinks to other detailed information. On the App, tap the Bill and Pay icon. The total due of all accounts shows and below it you can select different information by account, such as partial payment option, billing history and payment history.

Web: To pay the total amount owed on all accounts, click the Pay Now button in the upper right corner of the screen or the Make Payment button on the home page. You can also make a payment to a single account or partial payments to all accounts by clicking on the Billing & Payments button. It will allow you to check the accounts to be paid and change the amount for each account by clicking on Other Amount. After entering the amounts to be paid click the Pay Now button.

App: Tap the Bill & Pay gadget. If paying the total amount due, tap the Pay button. If paying a partial payment, tap the Pay Partial Amount, tap on the account and adjust the Pay Amount.

The information you see in the App and in the Web is shown in real-time, so it’s always accurate. However, if you keep your App or the Web version open for an extended period of time, you should refresh the page by selecting a new option in order to ensure the information is still current.

On the App, tap the Map and you will see all the office and payment locations available to you. To get directions, tap the location and an address box comes up. Tap the address box and the Map/GPS Navigator options appear. Tap on the preferred method and follow the instructions.

Your password is case-sensitive. Use the same password as when you set up your account. If you cannot remember the password, you can call or stop by the office during regular business hours and we will be more than happy to assist you.?

Email

FTC has partnered with the Zimbra Collaboration Suite to provide our members with a new integrated email suite. This upgrade brings an efficient email hub for personal or professional task management. Each customer now has a customizable Web interface that makes it a breeze to add reminders to your calendar or pay bills online. App-style buttons allow you to easily navigate between social media pages, or to check the local weather before the kids head to the bus stop. You can login under Customer Tools – Email or by clicking here.

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Email – Managing Your Inbox

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Manage your Address Book

Your webmail is already setup. From a personal computer, you simply need to log into your mail with your full email address in the Username field and your Password. If you are using a mobile device (smartphone or tablet), you will need to follow the instructions specific to its operating system: Android | Apple

If you are using a mobile device (smartphone or tablet), you will need to follow the instructions specific to its operating system: Android | Apple

Look over our simple Q&A document to familiarize yourself with some basic webmail functions and FAQs.

Please refer to our SPAM FAQ page to get all of your junk mail questions answered.

Yes! Follow the below links to step-by-step instructions designed to help you set up your software email server settings.

Settings | IncrediMail | Mac Mail | Outlook 2007 | Outlook 2010 / 2013 | Thunderbird | Windows 8 | Windows 10 | Windows Live Mail

mail.farmerstel.com OR smtp.farmerstel.com OR smtpauth.farmerstel.com

Your myemail@farmerstel.com email address.

Please know that changing your email password is a simple process if you know your current @farmerstel.com password:

1.  Go to the farmerstel.com website
2.  Select Customer Tools in the top right corner
3.  Click on the Email box in the drop-down menu
4.  Input your username@farmerstel.com and your current password
5.  Once you have access to the Zimbra portal, click on the Account Settings icon in the top right corner
6.  Click on Manage Profile
7.  Click Change Password
8.  Enter your current password, then enter your new password with a minimum of 12 characters, verify by entering your new password again, and click on Change Password
9.  Click on Security/Account Recovery
10. Input requested information if needed or review to make sure the information is current and click on Save Security Information

If you do not know your current @farmerstel.com email password, you will need to contact our business office to make this change. For security purposes, you will need to provide your account information and CPNI password when changing your email password over the phone.

Troubleshooting Guide

Internet not working properly?

A simple reboot to your Smart RG WiFi router could save you a call to tech support.

  1. Shut down the device you are using to connect to the Internet (e.g., a computer, laptop, smartphone, tablet, etc.)
  2. Unplug your wireless gateway, modem or router from the electrical outlet and leave it unplugged for at least 10 seconds.
  3. Plug it back into the electrical outlet and wait 30 seconds.
  4. Turn your computer (or other device) back on and try reconnecting to the WiFi connection.

If this does not resolve your internet connection issue, call technical support at 866.698.0926.

FTC Security Home & Automation system not working properly?

Clear the trouble on your security system.

If FTC is your security system provider, refer to the instructions below that are specific to your security system model:

LYNX Touch L5210

  1. Press CLEAR
  2. Enter 4-digit user code

LYNX Touch L5200

  1. Press CLEAR
  2. Enter 4-digit user code

ADEMCO VISTA 21IP

  1. Enter 4-digit user code
  2. Press OFF
  3. Re-enter 4-digit user code
  4. Press OFF again

ADEMCO VISTA 20

  1. Enter 4-digit user code
  2. Press OFF
  3. Re-enter 4-digit user code
  4. Press OFF again

If this does not resolve the issue, call technical support at 866.698.0926.

Capital Credits

Your capital credits are your amount of patronage capital. Learn more about capital credits here.

Patronage capital is the margin, or profit, left over each fiscal year after FTC pays all of its expenses.

Patronage capital is allocated and assigned to members as capital credits based on the amount of business
they conduct with FTC during the year, and therefore represents a member’s investment in the cooperative. The more business a member does with FTC during the year, the larger their portion of the capital will be.

FTC mails a patronage statement in August of each year to everyone who did qualifying business with the cooperative. The statement shows the total amount of patronage capital allocated and assigned to you for the year.

FTC is proud of the fact that in its history of 60-plus years, the cooperative has returned more than $18 million to members. This year, FTC is refunding patronage from a portion of 1988. The total amount being refunded is approximately $232,000. Refund checks are mailed to members in July of each year.

Capital credits must remain with your cooperative for a certain amount of time. They are used to invest in facilities necessary to keep the company operating.

Remember, capital credit refunds are based on the amount of business each account holder has done
with Farmers Telecommunications Cooperative. If your neighbor’s refund check is larger than yours, then your neighbor did more business with FTC during the period of time covered by the refund.