“We have been super, super busy,” said Lisa Greene in a phone interview on Thursday, April 24. “We’ve had 1,000 new installs since March 9. One hundred of those are in Detroit Lakes … We’ve had close to 1,400 customers upgrading their speed.”
Greene is the marketing director for Arvig, the internet/television/phone company with headquarters in Perham. The increased internet demand has technicians doing about 50 installs every day, mainly at residential locations, she said. Almost all of Arvig’s business right now is internet-related.
“We’re seeing an increase (in use) of about 30 to 40%, depending on the time of day,” Greene said. Year to year, Arvig usually sees a 60% increase in use. During the pandemic alone, internet use is about two-thirds of the way to that yearly mark.
Part of that increase comes from the Education Assistance Program that Arvig launched when schools started distance learning. The program offers free internet access for families that do not have access now, so their children can complete their online schooling. The program ends when school ends in just a few weeks, and families will need to get in contact with Arvig to decide what to do with the internet access then.
Lisa Greene has worked for Arvig since 2009, according to the Arvig website. (Courtesy photo)
Problem-solving during pandemic
Arvig technicians come into homes for more than just installs. If customers are experiencing any kind of problems with their internet, technicians will work quickly to get everything back to normal, Greene said.
“We’ve got a lot of people working really hard to make sure the network stays up,” she said.
If a technician does need to come into a home to fix a problem, Arvig contacts the customer to make sure the situation is safe during the pandemic.
“We ask (customers) questions … whether anybody’s been traveling, anybody’s been ill,” Greene said. “(Employees) all have masks and sanitizer … All of our employees take their temperature every day; if they have a fever they stay home. All of those guidelines are being followed.”
If an employee has traveled recently, they are quarantined for 14 days but continue to do other work that doesn’t require in-person interactions. Some employees are watching social media channels to troubleshoot problems remotely.
With the boom in business, Greene said that Arvig employees have hardly had any time to miss working in the office. Weeks into the pandemic in Minnesota, Green said that business is starting to slow. She’s expecting that April will “be our telling month” for the effect of the pandemic on Arvig.
Website of source