Spectrum does serve approximately 70% of the town. The rest of the community is considered underserved because of the poor DSL coverage in those areas. While the Spectrum service is adequate, it is not futureproof like fiber optic technology is, and it’s expensive. Also, there are sections of the community that Spectrum refuses to serve. Right now, the experience of many of your neighbors is uneven – meaning some get reasonably good service most of the time, while other experiences have not been as good. With Axiom, every subscriber will have the same reliability, and households with the same speed will pay the same price.
Why does the Town need to be involved?
The Town appointed a Broadband Committee to investigate options for better internet service. That committee has been meeting since early 2017 and believes the solution is to build a world class fiber network that will bring high-speed, reliable service to every home, business or other organization in China that wants to sign up for it.
The last year has shown us how critical reliability and appropriate speeds, especially upload speeds, are to citizens ability to work from home or for school age kids to access remote learning.
Fiber optic internet systems are the future, and there are often questions about the technology choice or the need for such systems. There is no question of the benefits of fiber optics and its superiority over other technologies, including co-axial cable (Spectrum) and DSL (Consolidated) and fixed wireless (RedZone); all of these more limited technologies are serving our community now.
Fiber is a long-term investment in our community’s future
Fiber supports 21st century economic opportunities
Fiber leapfrogs communities that are left behind to the front of the pack
Fiber, over the long run, is a less expensive technology
What is the cost?
The estimated cost of the new system is approximately $6.5M.
What will the new service cost me?
Four options paid monthly
Seasonal options will be total yearly cost of the preceding four less 15% paid annually
Business options starting at
50/50Mbps – $99.99 up to a Gig of service are available.
Service will come from the utility pole and follow the electrical line to your service location as closely as possible. Other special cases where utility poles are not available would be handled on a case-by-case basis but would include running the fiber cable on the ground to reach the service location. Service locations without utility poles could have an option to bury the fiber cable at owner expense.
Two boxes on your service location, much like the size you currently have for phone service.
VOIP Phone service available- $24.99 or install your own VOIP system.
Symmetrical service- equal upload and download speeds are included in all rate packages.
What if I want to share service across multiple buildings to save costs?
You are permitted to share service among multiple locations on the same tax lot. Ask Axiom about your options for this and an estimate of the additional cost associated with connecting buildings on a single property.
Sharing a connection with neighbors or to adjacent properties that are delineated as a separate tax map location are not permitted.
How do I save money?
By installing a fiber system, service recipients would be able to take advantage of this type of internet connection by eliminating or reducing other parts of their overall communications bill.
Streaming – Fiber connections allow for streaming in hi-def and 4K, with no buffering, and allow you to use multiple devices all at once. Once you have a fiber connection, you can greatly reduce or eliminate satellite TV (Dish or DirectTV) costs by buying your TV-like content online.
What about my phone?
With a fiber connection, you can eliminate your land-line and either purchase a very low-cost phone plan (typically less than $10/month.) that uses the internet, or use your smart phone to make and receive Wi-Fi calls over the internet for free- using your cell phone number right from your home.
Axiom will also offer phone service for $24.99/month.
What about my cable TV?
Many consumers are receiving television content through the local cable provider, Spectrum, or through satellite services such as Dish and Direct TV. These services often run well over $100 a month, while delivering dozens of channels that you might not ever watch. Most people interviewed who have these services complain about the ever-increasing costs. To add insult to injury, the bundled services that are purported to save consumers money, actually end up costing more money, without always providing proportionate value.
The internet systems Axiom designs, and installs, are able to support extremely sharp picture quality, including content streamed in resolutions of 4K and above. By eliminating your satellite or cable service and carefully matching your viewing habits to one or more of the streaming options available, with an improved selection of high-quality content, savings of $50 or more a month are possible.
Am I required to take service?
No, no one is required to take the new service. You can keep your current provider of service. However, this is a community project, and your support will keep cost down for the community and provider and also allows you to avoid installation costs later, should you decide to take service in the future.
Why not wait for 5G?
We believe that 5G is at least 10 years away from reaching rural parts of Maine, if it ever comes. There are reasons to be skeptical of the promise of 5G. First, 5G enabled systems rely on “deep fiber optics,” meaning in order for 5G to operate properly, it needs to be connected to a fiber network.
Second, the high speed 5G relies on millimeter wave spectrum. At that broadcast frequency any obstruction to the signal does not allow for penetration, a necessity in rural environments. Axiom has provided an informational paper on 5G that can be made available for those interested in the more technical issues that make 5G something not worth waiting for.
What about low-orbit satellite?
Starlink is the newest satellite service provider in Maine. They bid on and were awarded federal funds to provide service to unserved areas of Maine. So far, the service has been less than inspiring.
The service costs $499 up front for the installation of the antenna at your service location and cost $99/month thereafter. Those that have the service have indicated several “drops” a day. Speeds can vary, and currently – on the plus side – there are no data caps, a big negative of traditional providers like HughesNet.
Also, the dish-style antenna needs a full open view of the north sky unobstructed by trees.
The latency appears to be better, one of the other big negatives of satellite service, but still well above fiber connections.
Seasonal vs Year-Round customers?
The rates are designed to put equal burden on both the seasonal and year-round population. All China property owners will have access to the same speeds and reliability regardless of where your property is, or whether you are a seasonal or year-round resident.
What about Telemedicine?
This year, the State of Maine passed legislation to require all insurance policies to cover telemedicine the same as regular office visits. This has obvious benefits for patients who either can’t make the time to go to the office or physically can’t. However, this has economic benefits for businesses, as employees may be able to take less time off. They may not need to travel to larger cities to get to specialists. For telehealth sessions to succeed, they will need access to high-speed quality internet. It won’t work if there is a large lag in the communications, constant interruptions, or low-quality video due to lack of bandwidth.
What about Local Businesses?
Many businesses rely on social media today, for advertisement, and building a loyal customer base. Having fast internet can allow a business to upload photos, respond to comments, perform live conversations throughout the day without wasting time for slow sites. It is critical for a business to have an active presence on the internet today.
Many younger people use the internet exclusively for finding businesses. If a business doesn’t exist online, they don’t exist at all.
Some young people may want to start their own business and will need a fast reliable internet connection. If they don’t have that here, they will move away.
What about Telecommuting?
Some businesses allow or even require employees to work from home. Sometimes, this is just for off hours work where the office is closed. Sometimes the business doesn’t have enough office space.
The faster the internet available, the more types of jobs can be performed remotely. Examples of large files are video editing files, server backups, application installers, etc. These files can grow quite large. If they take too long to transfer, you can’t get the job done.
Telecommuting also requires reliable internet. You can’t have the only way to perform your job fail in the middle of the day or every time it’s storms.
Will access to Broadband Fiber increase my Home Value?
Access to high-speed fiber Internet can add an average of 3.1% to your home value. A study conducted by researchers at the University of Colorado and Carnegie Mellon University used data from home sales, census data, and information from the National Broadband Map to determine the impact of fiber-optic Internet access on home prices.
Fiber capability can help your home stand out from the rest. Studies have found that high-speed fiber broadband services, with 1 Gbps or higher download speeds, can add more than $5,400 to the value of an average home in the United States, according to a study done by the Fiber to the Home Council Americas (FTTH).
What about online gaming and Virtual Reality (VR)?
Much like video conferencing, online gaming requires fast upload and download speeds. In addition, a low “latency” is required. This is the time in milliseconds that it takes a signal to go round trip. Satellite systems have this issue of a long latency times making even phone calls problematic in the ability to carry on a conversation. Fiber has the lowest (best) latency, and this is even more important in gaming. With virtual reality, where one wears a headset, faster speeds and low latency are necessary. Virtual Reality is becoming more important in medicine. Some psychologists and psychiatrists are using VR in sessions to treat their patients.