The Vision of HCS

 

A Note from Director Imming

Welcome to Highland Communication Services. We are your Hometown Communications’ Provider, providing you with the fastest Internet speeds in the area, from 20 Megabits to a Gigabit or more.Angela Imming

As one of the only municipally owned Internet service providers in the nation, we have embraced the pioneer spirit this city embodies and led the charge to provide information equity to our citizens. Established in 2010, HCS was developed in response to overwhelming support from citizens to create a fiber-to-the-premises system. The growing, enthusiastic organization strives to improve Highland’s quality of life and strengthen business opportunities. We currently provide Internet services to more than 2380 customers, a saturation rate of 54% over our competitor, Charter Spectrum, AT&T and Dish Networks. 

In 2019, HCS was recognized as providing the 8th best customer service in the nation and in 2018, an in dependant study conducted by Harvard University found us to be the 5th best valued service in the country, saving 44% over Charter Spectrum.

I have been a change leader in the industry for more than 27 years having served SIUE for 16 years as Director of Telecommunications and serving as Global Director of Telecommunications for SAVVIS Communications I joined the city team in 2014 and find great enjoyment and pride in serving our community. In 2018, I was honored by being voted the Local Smart City Executive of the year. The whole team is dedicated to the success of HCS and connecting you to the world around you quickly, cost effectively and with a smile. For a contact list of the HCS team members, click here.

Please visit our Residential or Business pages for a complete breakdown of price plans and testimonials. Browse our pricing plans for more information and as always, contact us at hcs@highlandil.gov if you have an questions.

We have plans to suit all your needs and offer discounts to both businesses and residents alike when subscribed to multiple services.

HCS continues to test new products and deploy technology that rivals that of our competitors. For the latest information on new products check our our Blog and check this Cheetah Chat to learn more:

HCS Team
Highland Communication Services: A Catalyst for the Future

“Proud of our history, confident of our future”--------- First said more than fifty years ago, this statement is now all the more relevant to the City of Highland’s vision for tomorrow. Located approximately 35 miles east of St. Louis, Highland is home to nearly 9,919 residents. It has a long history of being a progressive municipality, successfully blending industry within a small town atmosphere. Since its conception in 1831, the citizens of Highland have fervently supported innovation in its various forms: public safety, education, job creation, technology, and medicine. The City of Highland contains a large base of highly-skilled, educated, creative and entrepreneurial population, giving rise to new industry and development. The residents of Highland take pride in being self-sufficient; they don’t rely on outside sources. This mentality is evident by the fact that the City provides its own power and water for its citizens.

So, where does the City of Highland see itself in 10, 20, even 50 years? And where does Highland Communication Services fit into the City’s vision to enhance the quality of life for its residents? It’s simple. The fiber-to-the–premise system and municipally-owned, Highland Communication Services, plans to revitalize and enhance the spirit for innovation that Highland has been known for for 175 years. A rural community utilizing communication infrastructure, Highland Communication Services is the first of its kind in the state of Illinois.  HCS provides long-term strategic benefits for the City of Highland by bestowing advanced fiber optic services, including voice, data and video, to the community in order to better serve the needs of the local businesses and residents. Since HCS is owned by the City, the system’s revenues are reinvested back into the community, providing for a stronger economic foundation for all. The City anticipates Highland Communication Services serving as the catalyst to further develop and enhance the quality of living for its residents through: public safety, education, job creation, technology, and medicine. 

Public Safety

Public Safety is a top priority in Highland. Highland’s outstanding public safety record is a testimony to its residents and professionally trained police force, EMS and fire departments. Highland emergency service departments are committed to serving the citizens with a community policing concept while maintaining the latest law enforcement strategies and innovations to deter crime. The heart of public safety is the communications center, which provides dispatching services for the police, fire and emergency medical services in the city of Highland. With a state of the art 9-1-1 Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) located at the Highland Police Department, residents have access to highly efficient and quicker services. Highland Communication Services will be able to continue this progression of public safety by leaps and bounds. The fiber-to-the-premise system will enhance the efficiency and reliability of public safety services.  Since fiber is unaffected by the elements as weather, High Voltage equipment or power lines, HCS will be able to assist the police, fire, and EMS departments maintain their efficient and reliable services to the public. Though fiber cables can be cut occasionally by accident - just as cable and phone lines can be cut, well designed fiber networks are redundant -- meaning a network has to fail in multiple ways to cause an outage. Due to the locality of HCS, the organization also guarantees more rapid service and assistance. Hence, HCS services guarantees more rapid deployment of service technicians and allows customers to hold HCS accountable.  HCS will continually work to employ the optimal means of delivering services. As with other industries, use of robust two-way communications, advanced sensors, and distributed computing technology will improve the efficiency, reliability and safety of power delivery and use. It also opens up the potential for entirely new services or improvements on existing ones, such as fire monitoring and alarms that can shut off power, make phone calls to emergency services, etc. It is the City’s hope that HCS reliability will be a great asset to Highland’s emergency service departments, who protect the well-being of its citizens and future generations to come.

Education

The City of Highland anticipates that Highland Communication Services will drastically benefit and develop the educational climate within the area. An affordable, quality education is cherished as a fundamental right in Highland. Highland is proud of its excellent schools, which provide ongoing training and educational opportunities to its residents. With this in mind, the City foresees Highland Communication Services playing a major role in connecting Highland residents with higher education resources. The City of Highland recognizes that the future of higher education is steering towards online learning. The fiber-to-the-system would be an attractive feature to colleges and universities who would like to build satellite schools in the greater St. Louis area. HCS has the capacity to offer fast, reliable services to any institution who would be interested in the area. The City would like to utilize HCS’ dependable services by joining with colleges/universities in the St. Louis area; the City is currently reaching out to local colleges and universities who may be interested in building. Another benefit of HCS is that its services would grant Highland residents the capacity to access higher education online. Students would be able to continue their education within the luxury of their homes. Highland residents then could afford to finish their education without the headache of a long commute. It is the hope of the City of Highland to partner with several colleges in the St. Louis region and work together to create an environment in which Highland students and citizens have the opportunity to reach their full potential.

Job Creation

The Highland community has a solid history in job creation and innovation; it is home to numerous industries created by creative entrepreneurs. These entrepreneurs are local residents who have successfully helped pave the way for expansion in the City of Highland. The City proudly maintains and furthers the legacies of entrepreneurs who built the strong foundation within this region.   Our community’s economic future depends on our ability to create new business opportunities and the ability to efficiently incubate and grow companies. With this in mind, the City foresees Highland Communication Services contributing to the economic development of the community and strengthening Highland’s role as a leader in job creation. The City is proud of the innovative spirit that has grown in this area and plans to further its growth by keeping an eye on the future of industry. With the creation and implementation of HCS, Highland now has the capacity to present companies with the most beneficial environment to fulfill their business needs. The City anticipates that Highland Communication Services will greatly attract high-tech clean energy industries, such as data centers and call centers, to build and grow in the area. These types of industries are interested in locations which have a large amount of bandwidth and cable. Fortunately, Highland Communication Services can provide both. As broadband needs continue to grow, fiber emerges as the only last-mile technology capable of meeting ultra high-speed needs. Communication infrastructures are a critical component of the global market. Because the City possesses its own high-quality telecommunications system and affordable high speed internet connections, Highland offers businesses enhanced mechanisms for transferring knowledge from one location to another or quickly connecting with other businesses throughout the world. In terms of current Highland businesses, HCS produces the opportunity for the use of technology to traditional industries that can improve productivity that would otherwise not have been available to them. Hence, HCS creates opportunities within workplaces for businesses to expand their technological abilities. Because of the close proximity to St. Louis and other larger metropolitan communities, Highland Communication Services will allow present and future local businesses various ways to stimulate their ongoing investments and explore different options for facilitating organizational growth and development. With the creation of HCS, the City can support large-scale business and investment networks that create economies of scale in absorbing and extending innovation. The hope is that future businesses will take advantage of Highland Communication Services’ capabilities and expand, which will ultimately create more jobs for the Highland community. The establishment and implementation of HCS will allow for the continuance of economic growth by attracting business, creating more opportunities for our current businesses, increasing City revenues, and allowing for the implementation of progressive technology.

Technology

Not only does the development of HCS provide economic growth opportunity, but it allows residents and businesses to have more options in technology and its services. The City of Highland is excited and optimistic for what the future of technology holds and its effect on residents. The creation of Highland Communication Services has already opened doors to the public and has paved the way for the City’s plans to become a first class city. One way the City hopes to achieve this is through the development and implementation of smart grid technology in the area. The City anticipates that this type of advanced technology will greatly benefit all parties involved by improving the: efficiency, importance, reliability, economics, and sustainability of electricity services.  Smart grids have the ability to anticipate, detect, and respond to system problems, automatically avoid or mitigate power outages, power quality problems, and service disruptions. HCS will also help residents communicate and control various aspects of their home including: water consumption, AC/heat operating maintenance, climate control and electric. In addition, smart grid technology will have the capability to read residents’ meters, detect leaks, and have the ability to communicate with other meters. With this state-of-the-art technology, the City anticipates to cut costs of up to $500,000. This can be possible since the City provides its own electric and water power. The City hopes to equip the smart grid with information and devices to: automate grid management, improve service quality, reduce operating costs, promote energy efficiency and environmental sustainability, and increase the penetration of renewable energies and electric vehicles. The City of Highland feels strongly that HCS will be able to provide the resources needed to make this dream become a reality for Highland residents. And with Highland Communication Services’ help, the City of Highland will truly become a smart community.  

Medicine

With continuous advancement in technology, the medical field has grown exponentially in the last decade. This is apparent in the recent ground breaking of a new 60-plus acre hospital located in the heart of Highland. Having a new hospital capable of meeting the healthcare needs of tomorrow is essential to the health and safety of the community. The Medical Campus of the future may also include a Cancer Treatment Center, Dialysis Center or other complementary services. The new St. Joseph's Hospital will provide the local community with a state-of-the-art facility and contemporary healthcare without having to travel far from home.  Hence, all residents will have access to high-quality health care services. In addition, St. Joseph's Hospital and the Medical Office Building will be wireless and paper free. Highland Communication Services will become the backbone of this enormous operation. Through its services, the hospital will have the ability to provide physicians the ability to communicate with nurses, other physicians and clinicians, and patients and their families from their office or home. In fact, through the use of the intranet and web-based technology, the hospital will allow physicians to view their patients' medical records including lab tests, cardiac images and x-rays anywhere they have a phone or computer. Likewise, patients will be provided the needed computers and technology to see and speak with their family worldwide.

The establishment of the first municipally owned fiber-to-the-premise system in the state of Illinois exemplifies the true essence of building success during economic distress and paves the way for other municipalities throughout the state.  The City of Highland remains committed to thinking globally, while modifying technological advances on a local (and tangible) level.  Fortunately, Highland Communication Services has the capacity to assist the City to remain competitive in a digital economy. More importantly, HCS is able to provide every essential residents need in order to maintain a quality lifestyle. Highland Communication Services’ vast capabilities ensure that the City of Highland will have safe neighborhoods, progressive education resources, economic development and a clean environment for years to come.