Getting to Know Heidi Pittman/Topsham Communications

Heidi Pittman of Topsham Communications

We were pleased to speak with Heidi Pittman of Topsham Communications in East Corinth, VT. Topsham Communications provides Internet, phone and digital television services to parts of Fairlee, West Fairlee, Bradford, and Orford. You can contact Heidi at (802) 439-5235, email her at heidip@tops-tele.com or stop by their offices at 113 Fairground Road in East Corinth, VT.

Q. Topsham Communications is not actually located in Topsham. Was the company originally located in Topsham? What’s the Topsham connection?A. Topsham Communication is a division of Topsham Telephone which is where the name comes from. Topsham Telephone originally started in 1899 to establish a link between two isolated farmhouses Topsham, VT which is where the name originated. Topsham Telephone continues to serve Topsham as well as other surrounding towns. Topsham Communications adopted the parent company name although it is not located in Topsham and does not provide services in Topsham. Topsham Telephone is currently owned by Citizen’s Telephone Company of Hammond, NY.

Q. What differentiates your services from other communication providers?A. We offer not only VOIP (voice over IP) telephone services but also high speed Internet and digital TV. We expanded from the traditional copper lines that serve many towns in the area and brought fiber optic lines directly to peoples’ homes. We offer speeds up to 20 megabits per second. We also own our own satellite dishes allowing us to provide a quality digital television product through the same fiber optic connections that provide Internet and phone service. Our fiber optic connections are a very steady and dependable product. We really have not had too many outages. I don’t think there is anyone else in the area providing fiber optics to the home.

Q. Customer service is important to all clients. Can you tell me a little bit about your customer service support?
A. Topsham Communications is committed to putting the customer first and because we are local, we know a lot of our customers. We have really good customer service. A lot of us get calls at home or are stopped when we are out and about. We will also come in at a different time if a customer needs us to do that. We have a lot of customers that come into the office even though they can mail us their payments, just to visit. We also have customers who come in with technology questions and although that is not really part of our service, we always go above and beyond to help them if we are able. One gentleman recently came in and needed help with his tablet. Another customer recently came in for assistance in getting email on her cell phone. It makes us happy to be able to help our customers however we can. It is nice for them to put a face to a name. We always think “how would I like to be served?”

Q. What is one of your company’s biggest challenges?
A. It is really hard for us when we have to raise prices but often it is beyond our control. Recently, we had to raise some of our digital television product prices. We know the increase hurt our customers and we know that people don’t have a lot of money to spend. However, the increase was necessary to cover our costs and we have to pass along the costs from the channel providers. You hate to do it but you have to. For example, local channels cost quite a bit and their costs used to be minimal.

Q. Can you tell us about your staff?
A. Don Ceresoli is our General Manager and is based out of our home office in Hammond, NY. We have 5 1/2 employees in our office here. We have two technicians (Chris Davis and Justin Martin) and are currently searching for a third. Dianna Hayward and Dona Welch provide Customer Service. Sharon Darling is our Office Manager and I handle Marketing as well as Customer Service.