Get to know our Ambassadors!


I’m starting this topic to introduce you personally to our Ambassadors. (If you’re not familiar with the Ambassador program, read this description.) Over the next few weeks, we’ll have some conversations with the Ambassadors to help you get to know them as real people rather than just usernames and funny avatars. Through the process, we’ll also launch a separate thread to get to know you, as well.

The Ambassador program has a long history, but instead of going into excruciating details about that history, I thought it would be fun to start with an interview from our “First and Favorite” Ambassador, just to kick things off.

@billmeek was one of our original Ambassadors, participating in the Republic Wireless Community before the first phone was ever shipped. He was the first member to earn 10,000 community “points” on the former platform and personally helped thousands of members with amazing speed and problem-solving skills. Although he no longer participates in our Community, he has remained a good friend and graciously agreed to help me get this topic underway. (Some of our current Ambassadors were feeling a little shy about being featured individually!)

Hi @billmeek! Thanks for being willing to answer some questions for our Community. Our longtime members still remember you and ask about you, even though it’s been a few years now since you’ve participated publicly in our Community. Let’s start with a question about how it all began: What first attracted you to Republic Wireless?

Welcome to the Republic Wireless Community
Greetings and Introductions!
Time for a little fun with a Kahoot! (Challenge 1: Get to know the Ambassadors)

The low cost of cellular service. I’m frugal… not cheap. If there’s a tool needed, I will willingly spend the money necessary to get a good (or preferably great) one if I am going to use it repeatedly. That’s why I use MVNOs like Republic Wireless for my cellular service rather than paying the high prices the big 4 like to charge. I get good service along with a significant cost savings.


Frugal is a good reason to become a Republic Wireless member, but it doesn’t explain all the time you used to spend helping out here in Community. Why did you participate as an Ambassador?


Because they let me? <grin> Actually, I started off as part of a group Republic Wireless called “The Founders” which eventually morphed into the Ambassadors program. This was back in the first beta days of Republic Wireless when everything was new and there were a lot of basic issues to resolve. A few of us were selected to be founders because of our willingness to help others in the forums which is something I really enjoyed doing.


What did you most enjoy about the Community?


The friends that I made there.


I think that would be my answer, too.
What was your first Republic phone and what is your current phone?


My first RW phone was the LG Optimus S which was the first beta phone offered by Republic Wireless. Compared to today’s RW phones, it was a nightmare: slow, buggy, limited space, etc. Yet at $19 per month for unlimited usage, no other provider could touch it price-wise. Unfortunately, it only worked on Sprint so there was limited coverage in my area.
My current phones (in no particular order) are an iPhone SE, a Moto E2, Moto X Pure, and I am currently mulling over a replacement for the Nexus 6 I sold off last week to a friend who needed a replacement immediately. I’m most likely going to buy the OnePlus 5t in the near future. By the way, the IPhone SE is my first iPhone ever. I was seriously looking at the 8/X, but decided on a much less expensive device that suits my needs. I’ve also come to enjoy having a smaller phone rather than carrying a big brick all of the time.


Our members are known for being skilled at using Wi-Fi whenever possible. How much Wi-Fi vs. cell data did you use last month?


Cumulative across all of my phones, I used 119 meg of cellular data. According to the router logs, I’ve used 2.3 gig of wifi data from the same devices of the 291.7 gig of data across the WAN (Internet connection) in the last 30 days. Most of my data usage on the phones is ordinarily email. This month I did view my security cameras on cellular and downloaded a large map update on wifi which made the numbers higher than normal. As you can tell from the figures above, I mostly use a PC.


That’s a lot of data… It has to be work-related! What is your vocation?


Long-time computer nerd. I’ve been playing with computers since the Commodore Vic-20/Tandy Radio Shack TRS-80 model 1 days. I’ve worked professionally with computers since the early 80’s. Most of my job these days consists of being the entire IT department for several local small businesses and a couple of not-so-close ones. Much of my computer tasks are done remotely via Teamviewer. I support desktops, laptops, tablets, and phones running Windows, OSX, Linux, Android, iOS. Whatever the customer needs support-wise I try to provide.


My first computer was a TRS-80 Model 1! That was a long time ago…

What region do you live in?


In Middle Tennessee about 70 miles south of Nashville in a little patch of dirt called Summertown. Most notable because on one side there’s the oldest hippy commune in the USA called “The Farm” and the other has a massive Amish community. So in the past you’re likely to see rednecks with oversized pickup trucks, tie-dyed VW microbuses (which have now been replaced electric or hybrid vehicles), or horse and buggies on the road. Many of the local businesses (including the closest Walmart) have watering troughs and hitching posts for the Amish horses.


That’s an interesting mix!

Tell us about your hobbies.


Rather than use the term hobbies, it might be better to call them “phases” as I pick a new hobby, go overboard with it for a while, and then move on to the next phase. Over the last few years, I was really into quadcopters, then home automation (i.e control all the lights in my home via Amazon Echos), playing an Akai EWI (Electronic Wind Instrument) which is basically a wind synthesizer, coffee (which I have an unhealthy addiction to) from roasting beans to dozens of brewing methods, smoking meats (chicken, whole turkeys, pork loin, brisket, etc.), and currently have made the egregious mistake of starting shooting again after a 20 year hiatus. To give you an example of “overboard”, I went to the local range June 11th of this year to fire a few rounds and since that time, I’ve bought 14 guns, 18,000 rounds of ammo (of which I have less than 5,000 left), 2 memberships to ranges, numerous (a vast understatement) related accessories, a gun trust (for NFA items), concealed carry permit, and also now have a severely depleted bank account. See how the term “overboard” is apt?


Ok, so next time I’m in middle Tennessee, I’m meeting you at the range, unless you’ve moved on to a new “phase” by then! With your interest in coffee and smoked meats, what are your favorite foods and/or beverages?


Favorite food-like item has always been mom’s hand-decorated X-mas cookies. They’re not really nutritious, but boy are they good! And during the holiday shopping season, what adult doesn’t want to bite the head off of a Santa cookie?


As mentioned before, I’m also a coffee-o-holic and consume considerably more than I should. I’ve had somewhere in the neighborhood of a half of a gallon today… so far. I refuse to drink the swill that the largest chain in the USA calls coffee.
If you ask what the favorite food I prepare is, that’d likely be either smoked brisket or pork loin. The brisket is better when first cooked, but the pork loin is still good when reheated. Then again there’s steak. A nice cut of Piedmontese beef cooked to medium-rare perfection via sous vide and then lightly seared using a cast iron skillet. Yum.
Dang it! Now I’m getting hungry. <goes off in search of BBQ, baked beans, and southwest potatoes in the refrigerator>


Ok, Bill, we’ll leave you to enjoy your snack! Thank you for taking the time to let us get to know you. You’re missed in Community, by both members and staff!

Now we’ll continue the conversation with our current Ambassadors with the first question I asked them for this series:
What first attracted you to Republic Wireless?


Are we posting in this thread? “tap, tap, tap” Is this thing on? If so, here’s my first answer:

In 2012, I moved to a house in the country. Cell reception was non-existent indoors and I was paying Verizon way too much money for 800 minutes of talk spread across three phones. No text, no data. I knew about VoIP from working in the communications industry. I also knew about smartphones where calling worked over WiFi and cell. These existed for corporate networks that could afford all the software and servers to make it happen.

I started looking for a cell phone company to replace Verizon just to reduce my monthly bill. I was really looking for a company that offered that same VoIP over WiFi on a smartphone to consumers. My research led me to Ting. They had interesting / better pricing but when I asked about WiFi calling, they said no. The very helpful person at Ting then suggested I look at Republic Wireless.

I found Republic Wireless, started hanging out in the Community and eventually convinced Mrs. 5 that this is something we should do. We’re been very happy customers since July 2013 and my wife is still rocking her Defy XT.