Broadband network installation coming down the home stretch

Sat, 10/29/2022 - 12:30pm
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It’s time to start planning out the location of your equipment for broadband service if you are an island property owner, especially one on the north end of the island. And if you are in need of a visual aid, there is one now available at Town Hall. Employees of Sertex have constructed a model showing the equipment that is used for home installations.
Members of the Broadband Committee got their first look at the model at their meeting on October 20.
A network interface device is installed on the outside of the home, and it will be connected to an Optical Network Terminal (ONT) inside the house that can be up to 50 feet away. That in turn will be connected to a computer modem.
The modem comes with a 6-foot cable, however, it can be placed up to 50 feet away – the cable is replaceable at the homeowner’s expense. (Sertex recommends a “Cat 6” cable for the fastest speeds.) The modem is capable of delivering wi-fi of course, but if you wish to have a more secure – and faster – connection, you may plug your computer directly into the back of the modem. (You may also plug a telephone into the back of the modem.)
Both the modem and the Optical Network Terminal will need to be connected to an electrical outlet, so customers will want to factor that in when planning.
If you wish to have phone and internet service during a power outage, it’s best to install a UPS surge protector and back-up system. Customers may supply their own, get one from Sertex, or go without.
Broadband Committee member Amy Land said that Sertex thinks they can have all the mainline and aerial work on the island done by Thanksgiving, but that of course will depend on the weather.
Splicing of the fiber optic lines also needs testing, which Land said, would begin in the next couple of weeks.
The user interface with the website will also need to be tested to make sure that the act of signing up for service goes smoothly.
Customers won’t be able to start signing up just yet though. The website is in the process of being reconfigured with a “relaunch” imminent. Land said they have “pulled out” a couple of customers on the north end of the island to do the testing.
One important thing to note is that Sertex will not install any equipment on or in the house until the property owner actually signs up for service, and if you wait too long, it will no longer be free of charge.
There are often questions about switching phone carriers and Land said the process should go smoothly but customers should expect a window of up to 14 days between when the request goes in and when it happens. She also said caller ID could be affected and that during the porting period, it may be necessary to use different phones for outgoing and incoming calls.
Land did warn though that people might need to “make sure” Verizon actually cancels the billing for your account.
Island Free Library Director Kristin Baumann was on hand as she had heard it was suggested during a Town Council meeting that the library be used for education. “There’s a wide gap,” she said “between bunny ears and flip phones,” and those who are more tech savvy. “Ihink there is a lot of education to do.”
Not only is everyone not on the same playing field, they all have different equipment. “The library is going to realize that everyone is going to have a different device,” said Baumann. And those devices will also be of different ages and capabilities.
Land said that with its capabilities of “seeing into the home,” Crocker service representatives will “do some of that conversation.”
“There will still be gaps for us to fill,” said Baumann. “They call that ‘technology petting zoos.’”
There may be financial aid available for families that qualify, but not until the system is up and running. Under the federal aid programs, service must actually be being delivered before an internet service provider – in this case, Crocker, can apply to take part in the program.
According to Land, eligible families are those that are also qualified to receive free lunch at their local school. They can then get a credit of $30 per month on their broadband bill.