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Brent Groome receives Order of the Palmetto

Left Photo (L to R): Representative Kevin Hardee, Senator Luke Rankin, Brent Groome, Senator Greg Hembree.  Right Photo: Brent Groome

CONWAY, SOUTH CAROLINA – On Friday, January 29, Brent Groome received the Order of the Palmetto, the highest civilian honor in the State of South Carolina. Representative Kevin Hardee, Senator Greg Hembree, and Senator Luke Rankin presented the honor on behalf of Governor Henry McMaster, recognizing Groome for his 30 years of service to HTC and his contributions to the state and the telecommunications industry.

Throughout his career, and most recently as Chief Executive of Corporate Communications and Government Relations, Groome has led HTC in supporting the local educational system, staying true to the Cooperative’s values and mission, and being the industry leader for improving broadband access to rural communities across South Carolina.

“As Horry County has grown, and our region has grown, it has been critical that HTC be on the front end of the newest, greatest technology,” said Senator Greg Hembree. “Brent has been a leader on broadband in South Carolina and in our area to the point that nearly 100% of Horry County is served by broadband. Brent also has a passion for education and our children and understanding how critical the opportunity for a high quality education is for every child in South Carolina, particularly in Horry County.”

“At the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, Brent was at the forefront of the conversation with state leaders and internet providers to help connect our students at home and facilitate collaboration across the state,” said Senator Rankin. “Horry County shines in many ways statewide, particularly in the telecommunications world, and that is not accidental. HTC and leaders like Brent have helped us shine by helping people get things done and helping us advance our region.”

“Our state and local leaders have always looked to Brent for insight on industry-related issues,” Representative Hardee said. “He has a keen ability to see every side of the issue, and propose alternative solutions that few have considered.”

“The impact HTC has on its local community, the integrity of its employees, and the changes seen in South Carolina’s movement toward broadband for all would not be what they are today without the leadership and expertise Brent brings to the table,” said HTC CEO Mike Hagg. “He has guided the Cooperative through three decades of change and pioneered innovation that will shape the future of HTC.”

Groome was both surprised and humbled by the honor.

“It’s not about me,” he said. “My accomplishments pale in comparison to what HTC employees do every day to improve the communities where we live and serve. My time has been richly rewarded and I have been truly blessed to work with some terrific people over my tenure on the local, state, and national level.”

Carolina Trust Federal Credit Union, HTC partner to offer scholarships

Carolina Trust Federal Credit Union and Horry Telephone Cooperative, Inc. (HTC) have partnered to offer two scholarship awards to graduating high school seniors from Horry, Georgetown, Marion, Williamsburg, and the southern part of Florence County. Two $1,000 scholarships will be awarded to rising college freshmen seeking a four-year degree from Coastal Carolina University or Francis Marion University. The scholarship may be renewed for an additional three years in the amount of $500 per year should the award recipient continue to meet qualifying criteria. The amount a Key Scholarship recipient may be awarded over a four-year period is $2,500.

Download the application here


Applicants must:

  • Be a graduating high school
  • Have at least a 3.0
  • Be accepted by and plan to attend either Coastal Carolina University (CCU) or Francis Marion University (FMU) for at least four
  • Be enrolled in a minimum of 12 college credit hours (full-time status) at either CCU or

Application Instructions

  • Type (preferred) or print all requested
  • Complete the scholarship application in full and mail by March 5, 2021. If any information is incomplete, the application could be rejected. If the application is postmarked after March 5, 2021 the application will be
  • Submit one letter of recommendation from a school faculty member on the form
  • Submit one letter of recommendation from a local community individual (other than an educator or family member) on the form
  • Provide a copy of Parents/Guardians’ most recent IRS Income Tax Return and list of miscellaneous benefits received (in the form of government or parental support).
  • Include your most recent high school grade transcript with all seven semesters represented including cumulative GPA and Senior Class
  • All signatures must be provided where indicated on the

Terms and Conditions

  • Two $1,000 scholarships will be awarded to rising college freshmen attending either Coastal Carolina University or Francis Marion University for a four-year degree. The scholarship may be renewed for an additional three years in the amount of $500 per year should the award recipient continue to meet qualifying criteria. The criteria include maintaining a 3.0 GPA and a full-time semester schedule of at least 12 hours at either Coastal Carolina University or Francis Marion University. The total amount a Key Scholarship recipient may be awarded over a four-year period is $2,500.
  • Applications will be reviewed and winners selected by an anonymous qualified selection committee of business
  • Winners will be notified in May
  • Awards will be paid to the University upon proof of acceptance and registration at either CCU or FMU and verification of student application information
  • Scholarships will be awarded without regard to race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender or
  • Incomplete applications may not be considered. Refer to the checklist on the application form to ensure all components of the application have been
  • Employees of Carolina Trust Federal Credit Union and HTC, Inc. nor their children are eligible to participate in this
  • Neither the Key Scholarship Committee nor the partnering businesses are responsible for any applications that are lost, stolen, or destroyed during
Download the application here

Be wary of calls appearing to be from HTC seeking Social Security numbers

HTC has received reports that some members are receiving calls from an HTC corporate number claiming their account is being suspended due to an issue with the Social Security number. 

These calls are fraudulent and should be ignored.

Spam callers are trying to get you to divulge personal information. HTC would NEVER suspend an account over a Social Security number issue.

Please be careful when receiving automated calls asking you to enter information, or calls you are not expecting where someone wants you to divulge personal information.


AT&T to offer discount to medical, educational field workers

Beginning July 10, AT&T will offer a 25 percent discount on unlimited wireless plans to licensed nurses, physician assistants and physicians, as well as any K-12 or college/university faculty, members or instructors. The discount will also apply to family members.

The eligible plans are the Unlimited Starter, Unlimited Extra and Unlimited Elite, and the customer must be the owner of the account although the discount will apply to every line.

Forms of verification needed must be in the account owner’s name and can include:

  • State license/certification (for K-12 teachers and medical personnel)
  • Employee ID
  • Recent pay stub (no more than one month old)
  • Employment letter

Visit any HTC Retail Location or call 843-365-2154 to find out more about the amazing offer.


Microsoft warns of widespread scam around COVID

Microsoft’s Security Intelligence team has warned that it has been tracking a “massive” phishing campaign that attempts to install a remote access tool onto PCs by tricking users into opening email attachments containing malicious Excel 4.0 macros.

Microsoft said the COVID-19 themed campaign started on May 12, and has so far used several hundreds of unique attachments.

The emails being sent out claim to come from the Johns Hopkins Center bearing the title “WHO COVID-19 SITUATION REPORT.” If the recipient attempts to open the attached Excel files it will open with a security warning, and show a graph of supposed coronavirus cases in the US. But if allowed to run, the malicious Excel 4.0 macro also downloads and runs NetSupport Manager.

While NetSupport Manager is a legitimate remote access tool, it’s known for being abused by attackers to gain remote access to – and run commands on – compromised machines, Microsoft said.

“For several months now, we’ve been seeing a steady increase in the use of malicious Excel 4.0 macros in malware campaigns. In April, these Excel 4.0 campaigns jumped on the bandwagon and started using COVID-19 themed lures,” Microsoft’s Security Intelligence team said.

Loris High School Senior Receives The Foundation for Rural Services Scholarship

A senior from Loris High School was selected as the recipient for The Foundation for Rural Service (FRS) Roger Allen Cox Scholarship. Colby Gerald will receive the $500 award to go toward his expenses to attend Southern Wesleyan University, where he plans to study music education.

Colby Gerald

The FRS Roger Allen Cox scholarship award is named for the late Mr. Cox, former Chief Operating Officer and General Manager of Atlantic Telephone Membership Cooperative in Shallotte, NC and is intended to honor Mr. Cox’s passion and endless drive to help ensure that rural Americans have equal access to quality technology and education. HTC supports the youth of our community and is proud to be a part of this worthy program.

The FRS scholarship program is open to all graduating high school seniors who receive local telecommunications service from HTC and have a desire to return to their community once their studies are complete. Applicants must be enrolled in an accredited two-year or four-year college or university, or vocational technical school, and have at least a C-grade point average.

“We are honored to be a part of this program,” said Tom Vitt, HTC director of public relations. “The FRS Scholarship program is one more way telecommunications providers show their support of the youth living in the communities they serve. We are proud to have a local candidate selected this year.”

Scholarship recipients were selected by an independent team of national reviewers from the education field.

Isn’t It Time Your House Got a Little Smarter? 

Living in a smart home may sound like a futuristic idea, but it’s much closer and more accessible than you might imagine. From programming your garage door to open when you pull onto your street, to being alerted to an open window or door in your home, or seeing who’s on your porch with a doorbell camera — the benefits of a smart home aren’t reserved for the movies. You can easily add safety features to your home while controlling nearly every aspect of how it operates with HTC Connected Home Security. As our community begins to re-open and we attempt to return to a sense of normalcy, now is the time to transition to home security and automation.

Simplifying Safety

HTC home security is even more important as you transition back to work and your older children are allowed to spend time alone. With an integrated security system, you’ll have complete access to the home and your child’s movement. HTC Connected Home Security uses motion sensors, video monitoring and automated door locks. This lets you, for example, watch live video of the interior or exterior of your home with high-definition cameras that operate via your high-speed Internet.

Home security and automation work together to protect your loved ones. With a smart home smoke detector, you’ll get professional monitoring for emergency response and real-time text alerts if smoke is detected. When you or your children are home, you can use the 7-inch color touchscreen keypad, when integrated with a doorbell camera, to speak to an unexpected visitor without opening the door. Whether your concern is for children or elderly parents, the HTC Connected Home Security features make your life exponentially easier and give you peace of mind.

Convenient Accessibility

The days of leaving a spare key under the welcome mat are long gone. HTC Connected Home Security allows you to reduce the chance for a crime of opportunity while still making your home accessible to guests. As we all become more comfortable with visits from friends and family, you’ll be able to remotely unlock and lock your doors. With the touch of a button on your cell phone, you can welcome guests into your home or allow the neighbor to set a delivery inside the house. Once the package is delivered or guests are inside, you can lock the door remotely.

Enhance Energy Efficiency

The average home spends north of $2,000 each year in energy costs, according to Energy Star. As you may have guessed, the majority of that is spent on heating and cooling, especially during the heat from South Carolina summers. When 43% of your energy cost revolves around your home’s central heating and air, finding a way to make the system operate more efficiently can be a welcome relief to your wallet. 

The EPA’s Energy Star program has determined that homes with programmable or smart thermostats can save up to $180 per year on heating and cooling. As we enter the summer season, a smart thermostat allows HTC Connected Home Security to automate and remotely control your home’s climate. This allows you to schedule your energy settings — in the warmer months, for example, increasing the temperature when no one is home and cooling your home when it’s time for everyone to return. Plus, you’re alerted to any opened windows or doors, letting you know when energy is being lost. 

All the features of HTC Connected Home Security work together to make your life easier and more secure. Turn lights on and off, alarm your home, respond to a visitor’s knock, and much more. Gain peace of mind this summer as your children spend time at home, guests arrive for weekend visits, and you’re returning to life back in the office. Explore an interactive map of the HTC Connected Home Security possibilities.

Phishing attempt targets @sccoast email users

The following message has been received by some with @sccoast email accounts.

The message is a phishing attempt and users SHOULD NOT click on the link. HTC would never send a message asking you click a link to proceed.

Always be wary of unsolicited emails attempting to scare you into taking action.