After I subscribe, how long does it take to get connected?
If you are in our current service area – marked in blue on our Service Area Map – we can connect you quickly if you have a standard aerial drop (the line from the nearest utility pole to your premises will be 400 feet or less) – usually within a week or two at your convenience. If you require an underground connection, that will take longer. Please read “How to Get Connected” for further details.
What happens to Internet and telephone service during a power outage?
We know about power outages in our Northern Rural Environment!
Adverse weather conditions lead to power outages from time to time, and when they are sustained for significant amounts of time, they can lead to loss of Internet and telephone service. ECFiber understands that the loss of critical connectivity and telephone service, particularly during hazardous weather conditions, can be very disturbing and is a situation that requires adequate advance preparation. Note that even conventional phone service is imperfect: FairPoint customers in rural areas can and do lose service for a number of reasons including the effect of weather on old and/or corroded copper facilities, power outages to service cabinets, faults in the network equipment etc.
As part of the installation process, ECFiber installers connect a battery back-up for your phone and Internet service so you will continue to be able to make calls in the event of a power outage. These batteries will last from 6 – 11 hours depending on how much calling a subscriber does during the outage, whether the subscriber is using the Internet for other purposes or allowing her/his computer to “sleep” when not in use, the condition of the battery and the nature of the equipment. After the battery runs out, phone service will be lost until power comes back on or some other source of electricity is found.
ECFiber can provide larger batteries at additional cost, or you can add supplemental emergency power sources on your own. Your battery condition will be monitored remotely by ECFiber to assure that when the time arises and you need it – it will be working properly. ECFiber’s battery back-up will NOT supply back-up power to the router or to a telephone set. If you want to keep the router working during a power outage, you will need to purchase a UPS (uninterrupted power supply), available at any electronics store (Staples, Best Buy, etc.). These come in different sizes.
How can I assure continuing telephone service during a power outage?
The most common back-up for loss of wireline telephone service is temporary reliance on cellphones. However, many locations in ECFiber territory do not have good cellphone reception. Assuming that cellphone service is not sufficiently reliable to provide back-up to ECFiber wired service, there are a number of other options available to our subscribers:
a) ECF can install a secondary battery at an estimated cost of $50 which will provide up to double the life of the principal back-up battery or a larger battery with up to three times the life of the principalback-up battery at an estimated cost of $75.
b) Subscribers can plug the battery into a back-up generator. The cost of this varies enormously: i) if you already have a generator, the extra cost is virtually zero; ii) if you buy one for this purpose only, the smallest and cheapest will do fine. The advantage is that such generators can be used for many other things.
c) You can buy a standard “emergency battery” pack of the kind used for emergency jump-starting a car. These normally have a standard 110 outlet into which the ECFiber network battery can be plugged. Depending on the size of the battery pack and its condition this could extend the life of the network battery by up to 8 – 24 hours. Alternatively, you can buy a cheap inverter and attach it to a car battery and plug the ECFiber battery into that. This will have similar effectiveness as the emergency pack.
d) You can subscribe to the bare minimum “dial-tone only” service from FairPoint as an emergency back-up for ECFiber service. The lowest such service is around $18/month. On the rare occasions when you would use it, FairPoint charges by the minute for actual usage, so this should only be used for emergencies when ECFiber service is out. ECFiber’s low cost unlimited service plus FairPoint’s “dial-tone only” would still be cheaper than FairPoint’s price for service comparable in scope and services to ECFiber. Such a solution would, of course, be more secure than either ECFiber or FairPoint by themselves.
Why does ECFiber install their own router? Why can’t I use my own?
ECFiber’s routers enable our technicians to monitor a subscriber’s router performance remotely and to fix many potential router problems remotely, without having to schedule a service visit. If an ECFiber router should not perform satisfactorily, ECFiber will replace that router at no cost to the subscriber.
If you wish to connect your own networking device(s) like an Airport Extreme or Airport Express for use as a wireless print server or the Apple Time Machine backup service or a device such as a Buffalo AirStation N300 Wireless Range Extender, please let the service installer know at the time of installation. After the ECFiber router is installed and tested, the service installer will turn off the wireless radio on the ECFiber router to allow you to connect your own equipment. If you would like ECFiber to setup your networking device(s), please make arrangements with the installer at the time of scheduling the installation. There will be a charge for that service. The additional charge for setting up your equipment will be determined by the time involved to configure and test it.
If a subscriber chooses to use her/his own networking equipment, ECFiber cannot be responsible for any equipment problems beyond the ECFiber router. If you require router-related service call and ECFiber determines it is due to your equipment, ECFiber will have to charge for that call.
I am here only part of the year. Can I arrange for temporary suspension of my service?
SEASONAL SERVICE SUSPENSION POLICY
Most telecom companies in Vermont do not permit seasonal suspension of service and some require very long term contracts. ECFiber does not require contracts and will permit seasonal suspension of Internet service under two conditions:
- Any customer that has paid 12 monthly subscription payments, either month-by-month over a 12-month period, or a year in advance, will thereafter, be allowed to suspend service temporarily when they are not in town, at a reduced rate of 50% of their monthly Internet service charge. Router rental fees and telephone charges will be billed at their normal rate. Such customers will still have to pay a one-time reactivation fee of $75.00 for Internet service to be restored.
- A customer that suspends service but has not completed 12 months’ subscription payments, will be charged a $500 reactivation fee for resumption of Internet service.
Why do we have these requirements?
The economics of our non-profit, community-owned and -financed project depend on a certain regular revenue per customer each year in order to pay our operating costs, the cost of the capital expenditure to get equipment installed at customer premises and, importantly, to service the debt owed to local investors.
The proceeds from investments and subscriber revenue pay for the fiber run down the road, the “drop” to a particular customer’s house, the connectivity equipment and the installation labor. Once we have spent the money to connect a customer, we have incurred the hard debt-service obligation regardless of whether the customer suspends service or not. In general our customer base is stable; we have not had and do not expect measurable customer turnover.
However, when a customer suspends service for a large part of the year after ECFiber has incurred the cost of connecting him/her, we have no direct income with which to service the debt incurred to hook them up. That means we have to draw on income from other customers to cover that debt. If it were to happen a lot, we would have to raise prices to everyone in order to ensure enough revenue to service debt associated with a seasonal customer’s connection – a remedy we do not want to implement and one we consider to be unfair to non-seasonal customers.
Can the service be used with a home alarm system?
Home security systems can be compatible with digital phone service. You are advised to contact your local home security professional for more information.