Quick Answers to Our Most Frequently Asked Questions
Will I have a local number?
All new activations that are not ported will have a number that is local to St. Cloud. Any ported numbers will be local to the area they originated from.
Can I keep my current cell phone number?
Yes, nearly all cellular numbers are portable. Even landline numbers from some of the larger carriers can be ported to Nationwide Cellular. Ported numbers typically take anywhere from 15 minutes to 3 hours depending on how busy the call centers are.
What towers will I be using?
Nationwide Cellular has a partnership with Verizon and uses their tower network to deliver services.
How long does it take to port a number?
Upon ordering your service with us, it takes from 15 minutes to 3 hours depending on how busy the call centers are at the phone company we are porting from. During this process you have the choice to wait, or come back to pick up your phone later.
What is VoIP service that I’ve heard so much about? Is it available here? Will it allow me to make phone calls from my computer? Do I need High Speed Internet or other broadband connection to use it?
VoIP service refers to "Voice over Internet Protocol," which in a general sense means using Internet technology (protocol) to transmit and deliver voice communications. Rather than using the traditional "circuit-switched" (two-way) analog telephone network, VoIP "digitizes" the voice signal into information "packets" that are sent over the Internet or computer network, like data or e-mail. The packets are reassembled at the other end of the connection to produce the voice signal. VoIP is one of the individual components of a larger, more wide-ranging concept of "IP-enabled services" that have developed as an offshoot of the Internet and its technology.
As most Americans are well aware, the growth of the Internet has generated intense interest and popularity in individual access to a boundless sea of web sites. In turn, the availability of broadband (high-speed) network facilities has fed the growth of additional web-based applications and services, including video. In addition to its data/web surfing applications, IP network technology also is able to transmit voice signals - by breaking them down into information packets just like data (e-mail).
Until recently, however, IP network-delivered voice service has been constrained by very poor quality and limited reliability. Recent advancements in IP technology have improved the quality of digitized voice service, and IP networks are becoming more and more capable of carrying voice communications on a par with the traditional network. In fact, VoIP services are increasingly being used to carry long-distance traffic, as well as to meet many business-related applications.
Currently, most VoIP service is what's known as "peer-to-peer," which means computer to computer; i.e., both parties must have the same type of IP software and both must be logged on at the same time.
Also becoming more widely available are computer-to-phone and phone-to-phone VoIP applications. From a technical starting point, users must have a broadband connection (High Speed Internet, cable modem, or other) to take advantage of VoIP and other IP-enabled services, so policymakers hope that the benefits of "Internet voice" and other such services will increase American consumers' acceptance of high-speed, broadband service - and its cost - and, thus, hasten broadband deployment across all segments of the economy, rural and urban.
Why is security important on my computer?
If you store any data that you would not like publicly broadcast to the world it is in your interest to provide a level of security which protects that information.
With recent epidemics of viruses, trojans, and worms, it has become increasingly important to keep your computer protected.
Do I need to use Windows Update?
Yes, it is important. Every operating system needs to be maintained and updated on a regular basis to ensure its functionality and security.
The Microsoft Windows Update site provides critical updates, security fixes, software downloads, and device drivers for your Windows-based computer.
When you use Windows Update, your computer is analyzed to determine your current setup. You are then given a list of possible updates for your computer.
Use Windows Update at least once a month to keep your Windows computer current.
Do I need the Internet to have VoIP Service?
Yes, you need a high-speed Internet connection to take advantage of VoIP and other IP-enabled services.
What is Spam?
Spam is unsolicited "junk" e-mail sent to large numbers of people to promote products or services. For more information on how to stay safe online visit Stay Safe On Line.
Why do I get Spam or Junk E-mail?
E-mail addresses posted on the Internet in some way, like an ad on Craigslist, attract the most spam. Some spam is generated through attacks on mail servers, methods that don't rely on the collection of e-mail addresses at all.
In "brute force" attacks and "dictionary" attacks, spam programs send spam to every possible combination of letters at a domain, or to common names and words. While these attacks can be blocked, some spam is likely to get through. It is often difficult or impossible to tell how a spammer acquired a user's e-mail address. For more information on how to stay safe online visit Stay Safe On Line. I'm new to the Internet and technology.
How do I learn about Internet safety? For more information on how to stay safe online visit Stay Safe On Line.
There is a wealth of information there. Also, ask friends and family members who can help.
How can I check my Internet Speed?
Use the Speed Test link in the sidebar menu in the Internet section or Check your Internet speed. It will tell you what speed your device is running at.
If your device is connected using Wi-Fi it will be slower than a hard-wired device. Also, the further you are away from the wireless router the speed will be lower.
The number of devices connected will also slow down the connecting speed.
The best speed test would be a hard-wired device where you will get the full speed you signed up for unless the computer has issues.
What is slamming?
You have the right to choose any certified long-distance carrier that offers you service and to change your preferred interexchange carrier (PIC) whenever you wish. Slamming is the unauthorized and illegal switching of a customer’s preferred long-distance company. By implementing a PIC freeze you are protected from slamming. If you’ve been slammed, you have the right to be switched back to your chosen carrier at no cost.
What is the Federal Universal Service Charge on my long-distance bill? Do all long-distance companies charge the same fee?
This charge (also called the Universal Connectivity Fee or Carrier Universal Service Charge) is similar to the FUSC for local service. All telecom providers, including long-distance companies, are required to contribute to the support of Federal Universal Service. Federal regulators are responsible for assessing, currently on a quarterly basis, the long-distance FUSC as a percentage of your state-to-state and international toll charges.
How do I sign up for the Do-Not-Call list that prevents telemarketers and others solicitors from calling me at home?
In response to consumer concerns about unwelcome telemarketing calls, the FCC and the Federal Trade Commission established the national Do-Not-Call Registry.
The registry applies to all telemarketers (with the exception of certain non-profit and political organizations) and covers both interstate and intrastate telemarketing calls.
Commercial telemarketers are not allowed to call you if your number is listed on the registry.
You can register your phone number for free, and it will remain on the national Do-Not-Call Registry. You may remove your name from the list at any time.
The Do-Not-Call Registry will not prevent all unwanted calls.
- Calls from organizations with which you have established a business relationship;
- Calls for which you have given prior written consent;
- Calls which are not commercial or do not include unsolicited advertisements;
- Calls by or on behalf of tax-exempt non-profit organizations.
- Consumers may register their residential telephone number, including wireless numbers, on the national Do-Not-Call Registry at no cost by telephone or on the Internet.
To register by telephone, you should call 1-888-382-1222. For TTY, call 1-866-290-4236.
You must call from the phone number you wish to register. You may also register by Internet at www.donotcall.gov. Inclusion of your telephone number on the national Do-Not-Call Registry will be effective three months following your registration.
Are there alternatives to the national long-distance companies?
We offer Albany Mutual Telephone Long Distance service that’s quite unlike what you may be used to: competitive rates and calling plans, but with the advantage of service from the people you know at Albany Mutual Telephone. We’re in the community … you’re not served from far-away, impersonal service centers.
How are PIC freeze orders accepted?
The FCC requires that customers be able to impose (or lift) a PIC freeze by contacting their local telephone company. Local companies may not accept freeze orders from a carrier on your behalf. You can make a PIC change and a PIC freeze at the same time, but in such cases, we must verify both your carrier change and freeze requests.
Can I get one bill for my local and long-distance charges?
With Albany Mutual Telephone, you get the convenience of one bill for all your telecom services. It’s a great decision--thank you for choosing us today!
I still get telemarketing calls! Are there any other options to stop telemarketers from calling me at home?
Yes! Call our office to sign up for Terminating Call Manager (TCM). This is a free service that blocks telemarketers and any other numbers you want to block from calling your number.
How does being a member of a cooperative benefit me?
Anyone who purchases telephone, with TV and Internet options, becomes an automatic cooperative member. After we invest in and maintain your communication system, any net profit is shared with you and other members in the form of capital credits.
That means you automatically get cash back just by buying services you need anyway. Payments are less frequent in early years, but over time, the cash back really adds up. You'll probably average getting 20-30%, or more, of what you spend with us returned to you in cash payments over time. That money flows back to you and other community members, not private owners or shareholders.
Plus as coop member, you have a voting right to elect a local board member to represent you and guide activities at the cooperative.
How do I opt-out of receiving phone books?
Any customer who does not wish to receive phone books can opt out of receiving them by visiting the National Yellow Pages Consumer Choice website found at www.yellowpagesoptout.com. This site will provide you with a listing of the local phone books published in your area and will allow you to select those publications that you do not want to receive.
What is a PIC Freeze?
A PIC Freeze (Primary Interexchange Carrier Freeze) is an option with Albany Mutual Telephone to block your telephone line(s) from being switched to another long distance carrier without your prior authorization. It is designed to protect you from unscrupulous long distance carriers.
Do I need a set-top box for each TV?
I just purchased a new TV--How do I program the remote to work with it?
The instructions are located under Guides and Resources (link located at the bottom menu on every page of our website).
Is it possible to get free HD?
If you sign up for the 60MBPS Internet with TV all of your TVs will get HD for free.
How do I get service on an old TV?
If your old TV is a tube TV you can stop by the office and pick up an HDMI or composite cable for better sound and picture than the coax cable. Also you could sign up for HD at that time too.
How many programs can I record at once on my Cloud DVR?
You can record 12 shows at one time.
What is the maximum number of TVs I can connect?
You can connect up to 6 HD TVs in your home at one time.