Trent Boaldin, President & CEO of EPICTOUCH, talks about the growth and development of his Kansas-based company, and what is on the horizon.
Tell us about EPICTOUCH.
EPICTOUCH is a family business, which has been providing communications service to Elkhart Telephone Company customers since October 1956. EPICTOUCH has established itself as a proven voice, video and data provider.
Being the third generation President of EPICTOUCH I am proud of our heritage, and our commitment to employees and the friends and neighbors we serve. While my grandparents, Curtis and Reba Whitecotton, could not have predicted the changes in technology, they passed down through my parents, Bob and Dian Boaldin, the importance of taking care of the customer and anticipating their needs.
What’s your biggest or most recent corporate accomplishment?
In 2018 EPICTOUCH turned down traditional cable television service and transitioned our customers over to streaming on our broadband networks. I could tout that we built the largest unrepeated fiber network in the country back in the 80’s, but I’m proud that we read the tea leaves, and shed the loss that CATV was bringing our company and the cost to our customers. Our rural, aging community is leveraging the power of broadband, getting more choice for entertainment and saving money. It wasn’t an easy transition, but we worked together to make it happen and enable us to bring an increasing array of broadband services to our customers.
When you think about your company’s future, what, if anything, keeps you up at night?
What’s next… I’m constantly looking at the environment and looking for what is next. We must identify the needs of our consumers before they know them. When I started working for the company, we had a step-by-step switch, now we are delivering rural broadband to 100% of our customers with fiber optic communications. Internet connections are table stakes…what hidden needs do our customers have that we can meet and deliver now?
What unique challenges does your company face while serving rural communities in Kansas and Oklahoma?
It costs more to deliver broadband to rural America, and in no time in our history has there been a greater opportunity for America to benefit from ubiquitous broadband. Broadband truly is the great equalizer. Unfortunately for rural areas, public policymakers continue to vanquish support for rural areas and increase the capricious and volatile nature of the dwindling amount of support. We must continue to rapidly move our business model away from counting on policymakers’ support for rural markets.
Keeping our communities informed, engaged and enthusiastic about the opportunities for growth is our greatest challenge. A world class broadband connection means you can do anything from anywhere. Recruiting new talent to our communities, and teaching our neighbors about their potential to do what they want from right here at homes remains a challenge that we are committed to meeting at EPICTOUCH.
What are two websites that you can’t get through the day without checking?
My first stop every day is the bible… you can choose the site you like to read it on. I prefer paper. It helps me keep grounded in my daily life and fills me with the promise of our potential. I am a voracious reader and as such I’d have to say duckduckgo.com. I’m constantly looking for new information, and new ways to look at things.