Armstrong Cable has been in the business of providing excellent telecommunications services to customers in and around Pennsylvania since 1946. Longevity like that means they’re doing something right. Family owned and operated since its founding, the company has evolved from being a small telephone company to being a regional power in the Cable TV, Internet, and Home Phone industry. They also own properties specializing in commercial real estate development, and even restaurants.
Armstrong Started Out by Stringing Telephone Lines for Others
The company started life with the name “Armstrong County Line Construction” by brothers Jud and Ned Sedwick in Kittanning, Pennsylvania, and originally strung wire and cleared right of ways for the fledgling telephone industry. The company, now headquartered in Butler, Penn., bought and operated several small independent telephone companies in the ’50s and expanded into Cable TV in the ’60s.
Switch to Armstrong Phone Service and Keep Your Number
In the landline and cellular industries, it’s called porting when you switch providers and keep your phone number. In the early days, when as a landline customer you might be lucky to have three choices, you didn’t always get to keep your old number when you switched. However, with Home Phone service through Armstrongonewire.com, you can.
Customers get Caller ID and ID Block, Speed Calling, Call Forwarding, Voicemail, and several other calling features we have grown accustomed to and to expect from our Home Phone service. Armstrong customers, with an International calling plan, have different rates for different countries. For example, Brazil is .24 cents per minute and calls to mobile phones in the United Kingdom will run .20 cents per minute.
Armstrong Cable TV Offers Several Perks
Armstrong advertises their TV service as having the best picture quality around. More tangibly, there’s no equipment to buy or rent and no contracts to lock you in for the long term. Being a family owned company, all support is free and local. It’s also why everybody with TV service has access to a plethora of local programming as well as national and international sporting events. There are several package options offered by Butler Armstrong Cable:
- Television Plus
- HD Advantage
- Variety Pack
- Extra Pack
- Armstrong HD
- Premium Channels
- Pay Per View
- Sports Networks
Television Plus is your basic cable package with local programming and nationwide favorites like NickToon, Cartoon Network, Comedy Central, TNT, USA, and Discovery — almost 100 channels in all. Armstrong HD brings you your favorite networks (more than 80) in HD. HD Advantage adds HD Sports from NFL Networks, NBC Sports Network, and HD programming from Lifetime Movie Network, Universal, and more.
The Variety Pack, which adds another 80-plus channels includes such favorites as National Geographic, Boomerang, Science Channel, BBC America, and several ESPN and MTV channels. With the sports package, you’ll get access to NHL Network, NFL Redzone, Sportsman Channel, and more. There are also local access channels from local high schools to enjoy.
You can also get the Armstrong PVR to record and watch your shows when you want. With the PVR, you can watch one show while you record another, schedule recording of your favorite series, and pause and rewind live TV. Armstrong also has mobile apps that let you view customized TV listings and control your PVR. The mobile app doesn’t appear to let you watch any programming on your mobile device, however.
With service from Armstrong Television, the first two adapters for standard definition (SD) digital TV are free. They are currently running a promotion where additional adapters are free until 2015. It looks like additional adapters (above the first two, which will remain free) will cost one dollar apiece.
Armstrong Cable Internet Delivers Exceptional Internet
The Armstrong Cable Internet website says they offer, “Unsurpassed speed and reliability.” But they don’t qualify that statement. There are other companies that offer speeds of up to one gigabit per second (Gbps) while Butler PA’s Armstrong offers a maximum speed of 50 Megabits per second (Mbps) or 20 percent of one gigabit. However, these speeds aren’t available everywhere, so the 50 Mbps quoted may be the highest available in their service areas.
Armstrong Internet pricing is the easiest to find on their website. There are three packages available: Zoom Express, Zoom Internet, and Zoom Pro.
For about $27 a month, the Zoom Express Plan gives you 1.5 Mbps download and 512 kilobytes per second (kbps) upload speeds. This should be fast enough to stream a movie if you allow it to buffer for about 30 seconds or so before starting it. You also get Trend Micro antivirus and security protection for a year on up to three computers. The Express Plan also gives users up to three email accounts.
The Armstrong Internet Zoom Internet Plan, which runs about $45 a month bumps download speeds up to 15 Mbps and upload speed up to three Mbps (Man, I wish my service gave me that much!). 15 Megs is enough to comfortably and easily stream three or four movies, or two movies and allow someone to play World of Warcraft or Tour of Duty online. Six email accounts are available with this plan.
The Zoom Pro Plan, at about $60 monthly, is confusing. Their Zoom Internet landing page says that maximum download speeds are up to 50 Mbps, but the plan pricing page shows it as 30 Mbps. Upload speed stays at 3 Mbps, which is still pretty awesome, while the number of email accounts and computers jumps to 10.
It appears, however, that there’s a data cap on monthly usage. Under the pricing structure there is a statement that says that what you’re charged on your bill is dependent upon a monthly data allowance. This sounds like the data caps that cell phone operators have, but I’m not sure. If I am right , it would severely limit the number of movies you could stream per month without incurring overage charges. Also, for the Zoom and Pro plans, there’s an additional charge of $5 a month for Zoom Share, which just seems to be a wireless router, which you can buy for as low as 20 bucks, if you look around.
Internet Hotspots Are Also Part of the Service
Armstrong Internet subscribers also have access to a huge wireless network for Wi-Fi Internet access. This network is available at many select businesses throughout Pennsylvania in cities such as Warrendale, Slippery Rock, Grove City, and, of course, the home of their headquarters, Butler, Penn. The network is also available in a number of cities in Ohio like Youngstown, and North Lima, as well as Rising Sun, Maryland.
What Are These “Other Services” They Offer?
Email and Internet security and access aren’t all that Zoom Internet customers get when they sign up with Armstrong Cable. You also get a toolbar that helps block popups (although, Firefox and Nightly do this quite well, already) and a home page of your own over at Armstrong mywire that puts your box scores, news, weather, traffic and other information at your fingertips.
There’s also an SPAM filter built into the Armstrong mail servers, so you won’t have to worry about receiving as much SPAM. Parents are going to love the Learning Edge. This is like a free tutor that’s available when your kids are available. There’s help from such educational sources as:
- Encyclopaedia Britannica
- Clever Island
- Boston Test Prep
- DK Learning
The educational resources alone are awesome, but they aren’t the last of it. Zoom Internet subscribers also get Livewire. This subscription to premium content includes things like The Weather Channel, Nick Jr. Boost (also available with the educational package). There;s also NHL Premium Video and my favorite, NASCAR TrackPass. I can’t tell if The Learning Edge and Livewire are included with your basic Zoom Internet subscription.