QUESTIONS ABOUT SIGN UP AND INSTALLATION
I have signed up. Now what?
Between June and October you will be contacted to make your installation appointment. We realize this is a wide span of time for installations and we ask for your patience. Almost 750 homes in Shutesbury need to be connected so the order of installations will be coordinated to maximize efficiency. The first homes will be connected in June when network testing is complete. Your home could be in the last batch so nobody should expect to have service before October to avoid disappointment.
Here are the steps of what to do and what to expect:
STEP 1: Sign up
STEP 2: Return your forms to Crocker
Every household that signs up needs to return a “Right of Entry” form to Crocker. This form gives our installers permission to be on your property. If you haven’t returned this form please do so as soon as possible. If you haven’t received this form yet contact Crocker to have it resent to you: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 413-654-1703. Households that are getting phone service must also return a Letter of Authorization if they are transferring their phone number.
STEP 3: Set up your monthly billing with Crocker
You’ll receive an email from Crocker with directions on how to set up your billing profile. This can be done online or over the phone. You will not start being charged until your service is installed and active. Write down your Billing/Account ID # and save it. (If you have not received an email from Crocker by June 15th with instructions on how to set up your billing information, please email email@example.com or call 413-654-1703 to let them know you have not received it.
HINT: Check your spam/junk mail folders for missed emails before contacting Crocker!
STEP 4: Wait to be contacted by our installation company
Between June and October the installation company (Sertex) will call you to make an installation appointment and confirm your chosen services. We realize this is a wide span of time for installations and we ask for your patience. The order of installations will be decided by Sertex to maximize efficiency. If Sertex doesn’t hear back from you after attempting to reach you for scheduling three times, they will alert the ShutesburyMLP so we can follow up. You won’t be left behind if you’ve signed up! (Note to renters: Your landlord will be the person contacted for installation and will be expected to be present on installation day or can appoint you as the agent. Your landlord is responsible for notifying you of the installation date.)
Payment for the installation is due via credit/debit card by phone (no cash or checks) when your installation appointment is scheduled. This will be done 2-3 weeks in advance of your installation day.
Before giving out your credit/debit card information over the phone, please request that the agent calling from Sertex be able to accurately identify your Crocker Billing/Account ID # (from Step 3) for your own security.
STEP 5: Show up for your appointment
You as the homeowner must be present on installation day. A 3-4 hour time window will be provided to for when the installation will take place. If you can’t be present for the installation you can appoint an agent to act in your place. Your agent must be an adult over the age of 18 who can make decisions about the installation and provide additional payment if needed. Give Sertex your chosen agent’s name when your appointment is scheduled. Missed appointments incur a $50 fee.
Your installer will complete your installation and ensure your network and phone are up and running before leaving your home. After installation you’ll start being charged for monthly service by Crocker.
STEP 6: Enjoy your new ShutesburyNET connection!
I had a problem on the sign-up page like a technical issue or my address wasn't available. Who can I contact?
Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 413-654-1703
I haven't received my follow-up email. What should I do?
If you signed up more than 7 days ago and still haven't gotten your follow-up email, please check your junk email folder to make sure it didn't get filtered out. Still not there? Contact Crocker to make sure you signed up and ask them to resend the follow up. email@example.com or call 413-654-1703. If you need a copy of the right of entry form to allow installers on your property, get it here. If you need a copy of the letter of authorization to transfer your phone number, get it here. Completed forms should be sent to Crocker Communications.
I've read all these FAQs and still have a question. What do I do?
Send your question to firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a message in our mailbox: 413-345-2855 We're doing our best to respond to all questions within 5 business days.
What does the installation fee cover?
This fee covers your full standard installation to bring the fiber optic cable from the street to your home using the most direct path and/or lowest cost option and install all necessary electronics (including a WiFi router!). It includes all parts, labor and materials regardless of your driveway length and if you have aerial or underground service. It’s everything you need to get broadband in your home.
I want to get service built to my home, but I don’t want to sign up for service. What will that cost?
We’re only installing to homes and businesses that will be taking service.
I understand that to keep costs affordable for everyone, the town will pay entirely for the “most direct path and/or lowest cost option” to bring the fiber-optic cable to my home. But what if I don’t like the installation option offered?
There will be no cost to you to bring the fiber optic cable from the curb to the outside of your home in the most direct path and/or lowest cost option available. If you want a specialized installation you will pay the difference between the “lowest cost” option and the option you choose. An example of this is if the lowest cost option is to bring an aerial connection to your home, but you instead want it to go underground. Another example is if you need an underground conduit put in and you want the conduit to go around your garden or another landscaping feature instead of the shortest distance through it. You can discuss these options and get estimates during your installation consultation.
What if I miss the sign up period?
If you don’t sign up by May 1st there is a grace period until June 1st when you can still sign up. If you don’t sign up by then you will be charged the full cost of installation which will be well over $700 for basic installations (by installing when everyone else does, there are huge savings in installer efficiencies). Long driveways, underground installations and special situations could cost you thousands of dollars so be sure to sign up before June to get the sign-up period discount. Contact the Shutesbury MLP if you missed the sign up deadline.
I want to sign up for Internet service now, but am going to wait a few months until I see that the network is running well before taking the phone service. Will signing up for phone service still cost $50 at that time?
If you choose to wait to take phone service after installation of your initial internet service, the cost will be $150 instead of $50. If you add the phone service later the installer has to make a second trip to your home which increases the cost. Note this ONLY applies if you want wiring done at your home. If you don't want wiring, you can switch your home phone to ShutesburyNet at any time later for no additional installation fee. The single phone port on the ONT can be activated remotely at any time by Crocker.
Can I do the installation myself?
Yes, you are welcome to find and pay your own technicians/electrician to do your in-home installation (or do the work yourself) but you will still need to pay the $200 fee. This covers the cost of the additional coordination required with the ISP and the electronics (provisioned Optical Network Terminal (ONT) and router) that will be provided to your technician to be put in your home.
What if I’m a renter? What if I'm a landlord?
On the sign up form you will see an option to identify yourself as the "Homeowner" or the "Renter." The person who signs up should be the one who is going to be billed for the monthly service (usually the renter unless the landlord is going to include internet in the rent or the unit is currently empty). You and your landlord can decide who will pay for the installation fee.
You will give the contact information for your landlord on the sign-up form and your landlord will be contacted for the necessary installation permissions. The homeowner (landlord) MUST be present on installation day since both the Outside and Inside installation involves work on the property and changes to the wiring and drilling through walls or floors. Thus, installation can only be approved by the property owner.
If the property owner can't be present on installation day, s/he can appoint someone who will be on site on installation day and be authorized to make decisions about the installation and pay for any upgrades.
We encourage all renters and homeowners to discuss installation details and ongoing service before sign up.
Can you explain the installation process?
THE INSTALLATION PROCESS
STEP 1 - SIGN UP: Click the sign-up link on the Broadband Home Page. Enter your home address. You’ll be asked for your contact information and a few questions such as which service/s you want.
STEP 2 - INSTALLATION: The installer will contact you for next steps and schedule an installation appointment at your convenience.
Installations typically take 2-3 hours. An adult who can make decisions about the installation and provide payment via credit card must be present for the installation. (Missed appointments incur a $50 charge).
The fiber optic cable will be brought from the curb to your home and will enter your home through a small box mounted on your home near where your existing utilities are located. The technician will then set up the interior electronics.
As soon as the technician is finished, you will have broadband in your home!
SPECIAL CASES: If your home needs a new underground conduit (pipe) installed, you’ll have two home visits. The installer will first contact you to make an appointment for an installation consult. They will visit your home and stake out the proposed dig route. You will need to sign off on the plan which will then be provided to the Shutesbury MLP for approval. After DigSafe permit is done, the installers will notify you of the day they'll put in the conduit in the ground (you don't have to be home for this). Finally, they'll make a second appointment with you and return to install the service inside your home.
Who will be contacting me about installation? I don't want to miss that call!
Between June and October the installation company will call you to make an installation appointment and confirm your chosen services. Sertex will show on the caller ID.
Before giving out your credit/debit card information over the phone , please request that the agent calling from Sertex be able to accurately identify your Crocker Billing/Account ID for your own security.
But WHEN will I actually have broadband in my home?
You'll have broadband as soon as installation at your home is complete. We expect all home installations to be scheduled and completed by the end of October. Which homes and which areas of town get installed first will be at the discretion of the installer based on efficiency.
What if I change my mind later about which services I want after I've already signed up?
When you are contacted by the installation company you can confirm which services you chose and make any changes to your order.
On installation day, you can also choose to add (or remove) installation upgrades by telling your installer. Any additional work that is outside of the original order will be billed by the installer directly on your installation day. This is why someone who can provide payment must be present on installation day.
Please note, you cannot add or remove phone service on installation day. If you are transferring a phone number that was not on the original order, Crocker requires 7 business days’ notice. This allows for Crocker to coordinate with Verizon (or your alternate phone provider) and ensure that the numbers are transferred on the same day as your install. Please give 48 business hours’ notice if you wish to cancel an originally requested phone transfer. This allows for Crocker to stop the transfer prior to installation date.
When do I have to pay?
When you schedule your installation, Sertex (the installation company) billing department will obtain your payment information. This will be 2-3 weeks before your installation happens.
You will not be billed for the monthly service until Crocker has confirmed that everything is installed and working at your home. You will be receiving log in information to the Crocker billing portal prior to the installation. This will also allow you to make changes to your preferred billing method at any time.
What will actually get installed in/on my home?
Outside your home near to where your current utilities enter the home a small gray plastic clamshell box will be attached. This is called the NID (Network Interface Device) and it is where the fiber optic cable will enter your home. It is about the same size as the box on your home now for your phone service. One cable will run from the NID to the inside of your home (a hole may need to be drilled for this by the installer).
Inside the home, you will have an ONT (Optical Network Device) and a wireless router placed near each other. These will be optimally located in a central spot so the wireless signals can reach throughout your home. The ONT is about the size of a deck of cards and the router is about the size of a small cereal box. The router is the piece of electronics that will broadcast the broadband signal throughout your home so you can wirelessly connect all your devices (computers, laptops, iPads, phones, TVs, etc) to the internet.
Where will the router and ONT go inside my home?
The installers are trained to work with you to find the best placement for the inside the home electronics. Things like the size of your home, wall thickness, electrical outlet locations, and aesthetics for the location can be considered when you are working with your installer to decide where to locate the electronics.
What is the make and model of the equipment you'll provide?
You will get a Calix 803G Optical Network Terminal and a Linksys EA7300 AC1750 MU-MIMO Gigabit WiFi Router.
This is a good quality gigabit router which you will own.
Can I instead use my own router?
Yes, you can install your own router if you wish and decline the router offered on installation day. This will not reduce the installation cost.
What if I have data jacks in addition to my phone jacks?
The standard installation for phone wiring only upgrade only includes phone jacks. Connected your special data jacks wiring to the router will be an additional installation charge or you can do this work yourself.
QUESTIONS ABOUT PHONE SERVICE
Can you explain the phone options again?
Since we have limited cell phone coverage in Shutesbury, a Verizon home phone number is how most people get telephone service now. Getting broadband in your home will give you more options.
Option 1) Keep your Verizon landline phone. If you’re happy with your Verizon service and the rates you’re paying for phone service you’re welcome to keep your current service.
Option 2) Transfer your Verizon landline phone number to ShutesburyNET. This is just $14/mo if bundled with internet service and includes voice mail, call waiting, long-distance throughout the US and other standard phone features.
If you choose to get your landline phone through ShutesburyNET, you have two options for installation:
A) Get your house wired (Adds $50 to the installation fee). All phone jacks in your home will be made active so you can plug a phone into any one of them and get a dial tone.
B) No wiring (No additional installation fee): Plug your cordless phone base unit into the back of the modem. The installer can show you how. You will have one active phone jack in your home and will rely on your cordless phone system to make calls in all rooms.
ShutesburyNET phone service will not work in a power outage without a battery backup. We recommend that if you choose to get phone service through ShutesburyNET you also get optional battery backup so that if the power goes out you will continue to have phone service for about 8 hours.
Option 3) Get rid of your landline all together and only use your cell phone/s. If your cell phone has a WiFi calling feature, you may choose to get rid of your landline home phone altogether because you can make calls over your new in-home network. Instead of relying on the cellular phone network, you will be making calls and sending texts over the internet.
Option 4) (Recommended for advanced users only) Set up your own VOIP: VOIP stands for "voice over internet protocol." You can set up your broadband connection with a third-party service to make phone calls over your internet connection. Some of them will charge you a monthly fee and for some you can also transfer your phone number to their service. They are totally separate from both Crocker and ShutesburyNET. Examples of VOIP services are Skype, Vonage, Ooma. (We're not endorsing any of these, just giving them as examples) There is lots of information online about these services if you want to do further research.
Can I get multiple phone lines?
Yes! Each separate line will incur an additional phone service charge. There will be a way on the sign-up forms to indicate you want multiple phone lines. You may need to purchase an Analogue Telephone Adapter if you want multiple separate lines.Each additional voice/fax line is $19.95 per month. This is for completely separate phone lines that can make calls or receive faxes simultaneously. Alternately, you can have multiple phone numbers all ring on the same phone line (with a distinctive ring for each) for $8.95/mo for each additional phone number (on that same line). If this is confusing and you're not sure what to choose for your multiple lines, please discuss with Crocker when you receive your follow-up email after signing up.
Can I get rid of my landline phone and just use my cell phone now? Will my cell phone work inside my home?
Yes, if your cell phone has a WiFi calling feature, you may choose to get rid of your landline home phone altogether because you can make calls over your new in-home network. Instead of relying on the cellular phone network, you will be making calls and sending texts over the internet. Be aware that Emergency 911 service on cell phones is not as robust as that which ShutesburyNet or Verizon would provide over the wired (landline) network.
ShutesburyNET does not replace the service you have with your mobile carrier (like AT&T, Sprint, Verizon). You still need to keep your mobile carrier service so you can continue to make calls when you leave your home.
Can you explain the battery backup? What is it and why do I need it?
Unlike traditional copper analogue phone wires ShutesburyNET requires powered electronics to run. So in the case of a power outage you will not have a dial tone on your phones unless you have backup power going to your ONT (optical network terminal). This is the small black box about the size of a deck of cards that your router and phone (and/or your whole home phone wiring) will connect into. The optional battery backup will keep the ONT powered up for about 8 hours if you have no electricity in your home.
If you are not getting phone service through ShutesburyNET and are instead relying completely on your cell phone to make and receive calls you will have NO phone service in the case of a power outage. This is because your cell phone relies on the wireless signal distributed by the router - which won't have power going to it. If you want to continue making calls over your wireless network (and keep using the internet during a power outage) you will need to get a battery backup for your router as well as your ONT.
You do not have to buy the battery backup from Crocker for either your ONT or the router. If you want a battery backup unit that has more than 8 hours of backup time and other options please shop around. Look for "UPS" or "Uninterruptible Power Supply" for computers and networks.You should wait to make your purchase until we can post the make and model number of all the equipment so you know what you're buying is compatible.
You do not need the battery backup if you have a whole-home generator that will power the outlet that the ONT is plugged into.
If phone service is critical for your household you may want to consider continuing using Verizon for phone service.
I have an alarm system in my house. Can I use ShutesburyNET with it?
Unfortunately telephone-based home security/alarm services generally do not work well over non-analogue digital telecommunications systems. These types of home security and alarm systems are not supported and many of these systems require you to rely on traditional phone service. Please check with your home security company and follow their recommendations for your specific system.
This only applies to traditional telephone-based security and alarm systems. There are lots of other home monitoring systems that are designed specifically to work over the internet.
How long will my phone be unavailable if I’m choosing to transfer my phone number?
Crocker will request that your phone vendor transfer your phone on the same day as your installation. Your phone will be without service for a few hours during the installation. The installer will test your phone and internet prior to leaving the premise.
What features come with phone service?
All the standard phone features you expect will be included with phone service such as voice mail, call waiting, call forwarding, caller ID, free unlimited local and long distance within 48 states, Canada & Puerto Rico. Click here for a list of phone features.
What about international rates?
Phone service includes unlimited local and long distance within 48 states, Canada & Puerto Rico. Click here to get the top five commonly requested international rates. International rates change regularly so you can contact Crocker to get up-to-date rates or if you don't see your country listed.
I don't have a Verizon number to transfer to ShutesburyNET service. Can I get a new phone number?
Yes. If you do not have a landline phone currently and want one (or want another line) there is no additional set-up cost for this.
Can I keep my Verizon line and ALSO sign up for a phone number with ShutesburyNET?
Yes, you can keep paying for your Verizon service and also get a phone number with ShutesburyNET. However, only one phone line can be wired to your home service at one time. You'll need to decide if the phone jacks in your home will continue to be connected to Verizon - or to your new ShutesburyNET service. If you decide later (after installation has already happened) that you want your phone jacks connected to ShutesburyNET instead it will incur an additional charge because the installer has to visit your home a second time.
Is there a limit to how many phone jacks become active in my home with the $50 wiring installation fee?
No, there is no limit. The home wiring upgrade connects ShutesburyNET to your existing home telephone wiring so there will only be one connection point to get your telephone wires working with ShutesburyNET.
QUESTIONS ABOUT SERVICE AND BILLING
How do I pay my monthly bill?
You can link your bill to your bank account or credit card and have your monthly charges deducted automatically. Or, you can opt to receive a paper bill and mail in a check.
What if I don’t pay my bill?
Our vendor will follow up with additional emails and phone calls reminding you to pay your bill. You will be charged late fees for missed bills. Service will be terminated for invoices over 90 days past due. If you have phone service you’ll still have a dial tone and be able to call 911 and the billing department for up to 120 days.
What if I live in a duplex or my neighbor lives really close to me? Can I share my signal with my neighbor and we split the bill?
No. It’s important that every premise sign up and pay for its own service. Sharing service with another household is a violation of our policy and is essentially “stealing” from all residents in Shutesbury because you’re making other people pay for your share of the service. If we discover that you’re sharing service with another household we reserve the right to shut off your service.
What if I only live in Shutesbury part-time and want to shut off my service while I’m away?
You can shut off your service at any time but when you re-activate it, you will incur a $250 reactivation fee. We must charge this amount because even if you’re not using the service, we still have to maintain the network connection to your home in your absence.
If you cancel your phone service, your phone number will be released and you may not be able to get it back. We have no control over released phone numbers.
How do I turn off service?
Contact our customer service support line to terminate your service. There is no charge for this, but there is a reactivation fee of $250.
How do I transfer service to someone else? For example, one tenant leaves and another one moves in or I sell my home and someone else takes ownership?
There is a $49.95 charge for a new activation which is billed to the new customer. As long as there is no gap between transfer of services, the $250 reactivation fee for part-time service (see above) can be avoided.
How do I use the internet to get TV?
There is a lot of information about this and it’s not a quick answer. Please see below (Frequently Asked Questions -Part II for a more extensive answer about TV). Also, we’ll be holding a few learning sessions this summer so you can learn more about your options to get television, movies and other entertainment over the internet.
What about TV? Will I be able to get television service through the high-speed internet that is coming to Shutesbury?
In short, yes. You will have various options.
History - traditional options: The delivery of TV service is changing rapidly nationally - and more and more television is moving to the internet. In the early days, all TV came through the airwaves, at no charge. Then cable companies (Charter, Comcast, Time Warner, et al.) came along and distributed TV at a fee (and with a municipal monopoly) on cabling that they owned and maintained. To compete with that, and for those of us without cable, TV was then offered from (expensive) satellite delivery, through companies like DirecTV and Dish. Satellite options charge for the delivery of content and for the content itself, at high prices.
Now - Over the Top: As a result of the wide availability of broadband internet, media companies are now choosing the internet as their preferred delivery vehicle for the future. DirecTV has just announced DirecTV Now, offering equivalent packages as from their satellites, but coming into your home via your internet connection. Packages start at $35/month. Similarly, Dish Network has offered SlingTV, with basic packages of $20-40/month. Hulu and others are reportedly prepping similar packages for public release. These "over the top" (means television that is delivered over the internet) bundles look almost identical to cable packages. The word "almost" is used here because the bundlers have to negotiate with the content creators (ABC, NBC, CBS, HBO, ESPN, et al.). The gaps in packages are due to early phase snags in negotiating the licensing of the content - most expect that this will be cleared up in the next year or so as more and more consumers prefer the lower costs and convenience of internet delivery.
For example, CBS offers streaming service, but NBC and ABC have not yet launched theirs. DirecTV Now and SlingTV have some missing channels in their streaming packages, due to the negotiation of content licensing (see this article for who had what as of Dec 2016). We anticipate that by the time Shutesbury's high speed internet is operational, most of this will be settled, and you will have a wide range of options for TV - "over the top."
Note that there are some shows currently that ONLY available over the top, such as Netflix series. You currently can’t watch Netflix shows through cable or satellite packages.
So how does it work? If you’re getting your television signal via the internet, you will still watch TV directly on your TV. It doesn’t mean you have to watch TV on your computer! Most TVs now come "smart" - ready for internet-delivered content. In addition, Apple TV, Roku, Chromecast, Amazon Fire Stick, and others are small, inexpensive devices that connect older TVs to the internet (DirecTV Now can use most of these, and will currently give you a free Apple TV or Amazon Fire Stick if you commit to 3 months of service!). These devices act just like your cable box where you can use a TV guide listing of channels. It also comes with remote control, recording, etc.
Additionally, the internet allows the possibility of unbundling - a la carte options where you can just choose the specific channels you want. Cable and satellite bundles often include a relative few interesting channels and hundreds of paid advertising channels (Home Shopping Network, QVC, Jewelry Television, etc). Individual content providers now offer "over the top" subscription packages, so that you can pick and choose what you get. For example, "CBS All Access" offers all CBS content (including their NFL games) for $5.99/month with commercials or $9.99/month – all commercial free(!). ESPN and MLB networks also offer content so you can get national sports. You can stream shows live while they are broadcast nationally or at a later time at your convenience. Watching shows later, even just a bit later, allows you to stream the show without commercials.
With a la carte or bundled packages, you can also typically access shows from your smart phone, tablet, or computer when you are away from home with a high speed broadband internet connection. While at home, it also means that just about any device can become a television. And finally, the "over the top" solutions typically do not require annual contracts like cable and satellite. As options change, you can change your packages to best suit your needs.
If you want to start thinking about this now, search on-line for streaming service options (DirecTV Now, Hulu, and many other options - currently expanding by the month!).
But I thought that regular TV packages were going to be available? Yes. WiredWest was planning on delivering traditional television packages initially in 2015. However, because of the state policy changes mentioned above this became impossible, since each town is required to own its own infrastructure. Towns on their own cannot afford the equipment and licensing fees required to deliver TV the traditional way. However, as mentioned above, the landscape of television delivery is changing very fast due to the evolution of technology. There may be other ways we can deliver more traditional television by banding together with other towns. Our primary directive is to deliver internet to all residents, and if it is possible we’ll do our best to add that to the list of services. In the meantime, with internet access you’ll always be able to get TV shows by downloading them (see above).
Can I get a static IP address?
Yes, this is $5.00/per month additional charge. (If you have no idea what this is, you don't need one!)
Can I get a Crocker email address?
Yes, you can get an email address with Crocker for no charge. Your Crocker.com email will be free as long as Shutesbury continues to use Crocker as their ISP. If a new ISP is chosen in the future you can keep your Crocker.com email but it will incur a $48/year charge to continue using it. Your welcome letter from Crocker after you sign up will have information about how to set up email addresses with Crocker if you wish. Alternately, you can use gmail. yahoo, hotmail or any number of free email services.
I already have my own router. Can I use it instead of the one you're providing?
Yes, you can use your own router if you choose but the technical support options may be limited if you're using a special router.
I don't want a wireless system in my home. Can I hardwire the equipment instead?
The ONT (optical Network Terminal) (modem) will be hardwired to the fiber optic cable coming into your home and to the router. The router is the piece of electronics that will transmit a wireless signal. You can choose to turn this off and instead put in a completely hardwired system if you wish following installation.
I already have DSL at my home. Why do I need this? The internet itself is constantly evolving. Websites are adding features, videos and other content which require a fast connection to run. Remember the days of dial-up and how there were some websites that either took forever to load or wouldn't load at all? That will become the plight of regular DSL as web content evolves and becomes more sophisticated. The DSL speeds we have in Shutesbury now (1-3 Mbps) likely will have trouble handling the internet that's coming in the next few years. Even now, many Shutesbury residents cannot load data-heavy websites or stream video content through their current DSL service at certain times during the day when system usage is high. Read more about the phasing out of DSL here.
If you are pleased with the service and price that DSL offers you now through Verizon you are welcome to continue to use it as long as it is offered.
How will this project affect our property taxes?
The current plan is to use subscriber monthly fees to fund the repayment of the construction debt so the broadband project will NOT raise our property taxes. A portion of the $75 monthly fee paid by each subscribed household will go towards debt repayment. However, if fewer homes than expected take service, and we can’t cover the full amount then the remainder of the tax burden will need to be picked up by town funds.
I don't use computers or the internet. Why should I care about broadband? Even if you don't use the internet yourself there's a compelling reason to support the plan because it will affect the future value of your home. Many of our residents have already encountered difficulty selling or renting their homes because fewer and fewer people are willing to move to an area that lacks adequate internet service. When it's time to sell your home you'll possibly receive up to20% less if high-speed internet isn’t available. (Source: The Guardian [New York] 1 Mar. 2014: "Fast broadband now considered vital by increasing numbers of homebuyers." Online. Estimate confirmed by professional local realtors at Jones Realty, Amherst, Massachusetts.) Read an article in the Greenfield Recorder here about how the lack of internet is affecting our area.
Will Anybody Be Left Out? No. You can choose whether or not to sign up for service, but if you live in Shutesbury, the network will be available to you as a subscriber.
Can I keep my existing Verizon phone / DSL service? Yes. You are under no obligation to use any service provided by the town. However, Verizon has stated publicly that they plan to phase out DSL service for existing customers.
What Parts Of This Cost Money? Building the network involves paying for many different aspects of a town-wide infrastructure project. It is similar to bringing electricity to every home. Costs include:
- A network design - i.e. where the fiber will run and what splitters or other equipment is needed. The design is also a prerequisite for making detailed cost estimates.
- A project manager or project management company to coordinate and schedule the work, ensure contractors are paid, ensure work is completed on-time and correctly, and be responsible for the details of the project
- Police details during construction
- Pole application fees to Verizon and National Grid/Western Mass Electric. The application fees are required when the town plans to sue the existing poles owned by the utility companies to support our fiber network
- “Make ready” work done by Verizon and National Grid/Western Mass Electric. This involves moving their existing equipment where necessary and preparing their poles for the addition of our fiber optic cables.
- The fiber itself and other hardware and technology components to build a fiber infrastructure.
- Labor and electronics to actually install the fiber on poles and connect it to our homes.
Who Will Own The Resulting Infrastructure/Network? Our town will own, manage and maintain the resulting network.
What About Municipal Wireless? The Shutesbury Broadband Committee does not endorse any wireless solution because wireless internet depends on line of sight, is affected by weather, and is far slower than fiber-optic networking. It has the same problems as cellular telephone reception.
Please read this article for an explanation of why wireless networking is not a realistic solution to bring broadband to all of Shutesbury. Want more? Download the Wireless Primer for Western Massachusetts Towns.
What's so great about high-speed fiber compared to other internet services? The term for internet speed is "Mbps" which means "megabits per second." In Shutesbury the highest speeds available now are 1-3 Mbps. Our townwide fiber optic network will deliver speeds of 25 Mbps to 1 Gb, and more. These high speeds mean you can work, surf the internet or stream movies and your kids can do research for a school project all at the same time - with no reduction in speed regardless of the time of day. Unlimited data means you won't be charged extra no matter how much you use the internet. Whether you're working from home on a snow day or enjoying a movie with your family, a fiber network will deliver the speeds you need.
What happened to WiredWest?
WiredWest is a cooperative of towns in Western Massachusetts that are working together to bring broadband to their member towns. Shutesbury joined WiredWest at its inception and an active member for over a decade. When it came time to choose our operator, Crocker Communications won the bid as our network operator and provider so we are no longer working with WiredWest. Our involvement with WiredWest was instrumental in getting our project off the ground and their advocacy at the state level to get broadband to towns throughout rural Massachusetts contributed greatly to our success.
How do I get my $49 deposit back?
If you gave a $49 deposit to WiredWest you can get it back at any time. Because the money has been held in escrow , you have to make the request individually in writing to get your deposit back. For legal reasons it can't be done as a group request or simply transferred over to project funds.
To see more, visit http://wiredwest.net/campaign/refunds/ or send a letter below. This cannot be done over email. If you want to support the advocacy work that WiredWest continues to do for broadband throughout the state you can also request that your deposit be donated into their general funds instead of being refunded to you.
We at WiredWest have pledged to return customer deposits with interest upon request. In order to fulfill the legal requirement to have funds removed from the escrow account where the deposits are now held, we must hear from you directly and in writing. Email does not satisfy this requirement.
Please mail a written, signed request to:
99 Main Street
Northampton, MA 01060
Include the name and service address used when your deposit was originally made. You should expect to receive your refund with interest within 2-3 weeks of our receiving your written request.
UPDATE APRIL, 2019: WiredWest is accepting digital refund requests via email if the request includes a signature. You can take a scan or photo of the request (described above) and email to email@example.com.
Axia - Axia is the company contracted by MBI to administer the "middle mile" network.
Backhaul Network - the connection between a local network and the wider world of the internet.
Fiber Optic – The type of cable that allows high-speed internet to be delivered through it. Fiber optic cables are actually thin flexible transparent solid fibers that allow signals of light to pass through them and are used mostly for telecommunications purposes.
Last Mile - term used to refer to connections between a point of presence of the Middle Mile fiber optic backbone and individual households. It is the last leg of a network.
Latency - the time it takes for data to reach a destination independent of the speed of travel. Satellite internet suffers from high latency. An analogy is turning on a garden hose and waiting for the water to reach you. That delay is the latency - and is the same phenomenon seen with satellite internet - you click a link, and after waiting for a while the page arrives. Fiber internet has the advantage of little or no latency.
Massachusetts Broadband Institute (MBI) - MBI is a quasi governmental organization funded by state and federal grants. MBI has succeeded in bringing the "middle mile" network to the centers of many communities in Western Mass, including Shutesbury.
Middle Mile - the set of fiber optic cables that connect points of presence in towns with the internet backbone. Completed in early 2014 by MBI and paid for by state and federal grants, the Middle Mile gives high-speed internet access to critical town buildings such as police and fire stations, libraries, town halls and schools. The Middle Mile backbone was expected to allow Last Mile projects to connect residential homes.
Municipal Lighting Plant (MLP) - A legal entity under Chapter 164 of Massachusetts General Laws, which authorizes the town to deliver telecommunications services, including internet service as a public utility. Shutesbury has an MLP already established for this purpose.
Point of Presence (POP) - the place where fiber optic lines to households connect to the cable that runs out of town and connects to the wider internet. Usually located in a central place in a town, such as town hall or town center.
Request For Proposals (RFP) - The formal process by which a town requests bids from contractors to do work
Take Rate - the percentage of households in an area with a network who actually subscribe to use the network. Having an accurate estimate of this is important to be able to predict sustainability and secure financing.
Wired West is a Municipal Lighting Plant Cooperative of 20+ towns in Western Massachusetts who are working together to bring broadband to their member communities.