Taking care of customers and the community
By Abigail Thorpe
Photo by Rachel Adair
In 2015, Ting Internet (a division of Tucows) “lit up” its first customer in Charlottesville, Virginia, launching a mission to bring fast internet and great customer service to others across the country in efforts to correct the challenges of an outdated internet industry. Today, Ting operates in more than a dozen towns, bringing best-in-class, fast fiber internet to both residents and businesses—one of those towns being Sandpoint.
Kari Saccomanno saw an ad for the Ting Sandpoint city manager on Facebook, thought “What the heck,” and applied. As she found out more about Ting’s vision and values, and the importance of community to the company, she fell more in love with the position.
Today, Ting helps our community not only by providing reliable, fast, free and open internet, but by giving back through time, donations and incredible customer service.
Q. How has Sandpoint been instrumental in Ting’s growth, and what makes this area such a special place to live and work?
A. Ting decided to build in the Sandpoint area because of its lack of reliable, fast internet (and the fantastic pie from The Pie Hut didn’t hurt either). Internet isn’t a luxury anymore; it is a necessity for everyday life, and not all internet is equal. We knew that we had a service that could benefit the residents and businesses in our community.
Sandpoint has been an instrumental region in Ting’s portfolio since 2018. Since first launching in Sandpoint, we have expanded our services to Dover, Ponderay and soon Kootenai, thanks to the incredible support from our community. Today we have a full roster of local employees who help with marketing, fiber installation and customer support. We are also active members within the community, supporting dozens of local nonprofits, events and business organizations.
We love the Sandpoint region and are so proud to call it home—both for our business and for our team.
Q. How is Ting actively involved in giving back to the community?
A. In our three years of being in Sandpoint, our team has supported hundreds of local events and organizations, charities and fundraisers. We are always looking for ways to give back to the community, whether that’s installing free Wi-Fi hotspots; sponsoring special events like Kinderhaven’s Festival of Trees; sitting on local councils or boards like Bonner General Health Advisory Board and Ponderay Rotary; or volunteering locally, like we’ve done as a team with the Bonner Community Food Bank.
Our Ting team is all about our community and customers. We want and do provide a quality product and service, but the importance we place on people makes us unique. We are happy to help out however we can, wherever we can.
Q. How is community central to the work and mission of Ting?
A. We believe so strongly in the benefits of reliable internet access. Fiber internet benefits all of our local shared services, including schools, hospitals, the local economy and overall quality of life. Notably, fiber internet: retains and attracts new businesses; stimulates economic development and growth; and helps reduce costs and increases access to, and quality, of education, public safety, health care, transportation, energy and government services.
With everything Ting does, we have the community in mind, whether that involves better internet, better customer service, or being a better community member.
Q. What does Ting hope to accomplish in the future?
A. We want to continue to offer a world-class internet product and spectacular customer service everywhere we go while also being a positive contributor to society. Locally, we’re busy preparing to light up Dover, Kootenai and Ponder Point—a big undertaking for a short amount of construction time due to the weather and seasons.
Q. What basic tenets or values is the company founded on, and how is this reflected in the work you do here is Sandpoint?
A. The basic values of Ting—and why I love being a part of Ting—are to offer a quality product, be real people, treat others well, and help our customers and our communities to the best of our abilities.
Over the years, Ting has been involved with and/or helped to sponsor the Sandpoint Rotary Club CHAFE 150; Music Conservatory of Sandpoint; 7B Women; Pend Oreille Arts Council Art Walk; Selkirk Realtors Association Affiliate; Festival at Sandpoint; Bonner Community Housing Authority; 24 Hours for Hank; Bonner County Fair & Rodeo; Ponderay Easter Egg Hunt; Kootenai Easter Egg Hunt; Pend Oreille Bay Trail Fun Run; Ponderay Neighbor Days; Ponderay Bike Rodeo; Jacey's Race; Kinderhaven Festival of Trees; PFLAG Pride Festival.
They have also provided donations to Sandpoint Elks, Habitat for Humanity, Panida Theater and the Bonner Community Food Bank. Kari serves as a board member on the Bonner County Economic Development Corp and the Ponderay Centennial Rotary Club, plus holds advisory or ambassador roles for Bonner General Health Advisory Council and the Greater Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce.