Category Archives: FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Fiber Optics Fair April 30, 6:30-8pm, at Colrain Central School

When: Thursday, April 30, 2015, 6:30 – 8:00 PM

Where: Colrain Central School

What: Demonstrations of FAST Internet (Netflix, YouTube, Skype, and more); Presentation about Colrain Fiber Network; food (of course!)

Why: To support the Colrain Fiber Subscription Campaign. Sign up for fiber and please tell your friends to do the same!
Colrain has been struggling for many years to gain the Internet access that is common to urban areas. Yet due to our low population density, no for-profit company has been the least bit interested in wiring our town for high speed Internet.
Roughly five years ago, the Colrain Broadband Committee realized that to have our small voice heard we had to make it louder… by teaming up with all of our neighboring towns who were in the same situation. Out of that early collaboration, came WiredWest, a cooperative made up of 32 towns that are now on the brink of seeing a world-class fiberoptic network built in our respective towns.

A fiber optic network is the cat’s meow of broadband networks. It doesn’t get any better than fiber. If we act before the end of this year, Colrain will get  about $1.3M from the Commonwealth toward the cost of this project. Even after projected tax increases, many people will see a net savings when the new services become available. This is a one-time opportunity to catapult Colrain into the 21st century and we can’t afford to pass this up!

NEW! You can subscribe to Colrain Fiber NOW using a credit card if you have an Amazon account or by downloading and mailing in a form with your check.

Wired Colrain flyer F April 2015

FAQ

FAQ about the Colrain Fiber Network

bridge-Q&AIf I already have DSL, why do I need fiber?
You need fiber if you want broadband. The FCC has declared that minimal “broadband” speed is 25 Mb/s. Most DSL speeds in town are less than 3 Mb/s.  WiredWest fiber optic speed is at least 25 Mb/s with speeds available up to 1000 Mb/s.

My internet service is OK for me, why should I support broadband?
Many residents have no effective and affordable internet option. Satellite and cellular internet service is very expensive and has major technical limitations. Without adequate  internet access, your neighbors and the town as a whole suffer: home values and economic development are depressed. Educational opportunities are limited, making the town unattractive to young families and reducing our school age population. Internet access is a modern utility and lack of broadband is a serious hardship, similar to the lack of electricity or telephone 100 years ago. Nearly all of the methods of interacting with the outside world (shopping, education, communications, entertainment, etc.) are evolving rapidly to utilize and even depend on broadband access that is already available to most people in the industrialized world. Your support for broadband supports the future vitality of the town as a whole.

OK, I support broadband access, but why fiber optic?
If the town is investing in the construction of a municipal works project, then it is wise to spend once to build a system that has capacity for growth for decades into the future. Fiber optic has the greatest capacity of any transmission medium. It is robust and highly reliable. Wireless internet – particularly “fixed wireless” using directional antennas – is practically impossible in a town with so many hills and valleys, since line of sight between transmitters and receivers is required. Wireless systems are also more susceptible to weather and foliage.

What’s wrong with satellite internet service?
Satellite service is expensive and bandwidth-limited. Once you go over your limit, you either pay more or your speed is dramatically cut back. Issues caused by the distance that the signal has to travel (~ 44,000 miles round-trip), makes certain kinds of data, like streaming video and voice, difficult to use successfully.