Last week marked a monumental time in the technology of Floyd County. Citizens Telephone Cooperative launched ultra-high-speed internet into outlying areas of the County. “Residents in Phase 1 along 221 North and in the town of Floyd are now eligible for the 1 Gbps connection offering more speed than most devices can
“Citizens is bringing fiber to the home but are resident’s devices ready for gigabit service?” stated Dennis Reece, Assistant General Manager. “There is some important information people need to understand about 1 Gbps service. The point of having a Gigabit connection is not superfast speeds for ONE computer or device; the purpose is to provide fast speeds for DOZENS of devices on a typical home network so that no matter what you are doing online, no one in the home experiences slow speed issues.” Citizens
As construction is complete and the fiber tested, eligible residents are receiving emails, letters, and phone calls. “We know from the very early requests when fiber was launched in the Town of Floyd, that people in our community are in need of more broadband to handle the numerous devices in their home. We are happy to expand this offering beyond the Town.” said Lori Saltus, EVP of Customer Relations. “As soon as the fiber is tested and is approved to deploy to your home, you can expect a Sales Agent to contact you.”
Citizens is not disconnecting existing copper facilities at this time but giving early adopters an incentive to connect to gigabit service by offering qualified customers a low, limited time, promotional price of $199 on the Connection Fee. The standard fee is $399. This fee is minimal compared to other localities that charge upwards of a thousand dollars to plow a drop and install new equipment. The project will ultimately cost in excess of $30 million . Over a 10 year period, Citizens will receive approximately $10 million in Universal Service Funds to assist with approximately ⅓ of the project but these funds end in 10 years. The Connection Fee helps offset the cost of the new fiber drop and splicing the fiber at two points, in addition to the equipment that has to be installed at the home, for access to the 1 Gbps connection to the home.
Connecting to CitiZip Fiber is more involved than connecting to copper facilities but requires construction just like establishing service to a new home. A new drop to the home must be plowed, a new ONT (Optical Network Terminal) will replace the NID (Network Interface Device) on the outside of home, and new equipment inside the home are all a part of the installation.
Residents will also enjoy migrating away from traditional internet speed packages and fixed television programming to Data Plans with No Data Caps that are measured to meet the needs of each individual home. “You buy the plan that meets the usage need of your home.” explained Saltus. The best part, Citizens will not throttle, slow down, or interrupt Internet service if the usage goes over their subscribed data plan. A minimal $5 per 50GB increment for usage exceeding your subscribed plan will be added to your monthly invoice. “We don’t want people to be in the middle of a movie, or an online test and have their service stop. That’s not the customer experience we want. We want to maintain our high level of customer satisfaction, and we believe offering gigabit service will do that as more and more devices demand more data.” added Sapp.
Citizens is dedicated to customer service and committed to technology. Citizens has set up email and will soon have text notifications so customers are informed of their data consumption during the billing cycle. Notifications are sent at 50%, 75%, 90% and 100% of data use. Customers enrolled in Citizens E-Care can also track data consumption online.
The Cooperative has a map on their website at https://stage.myswva.com/fiberexpansion allowing inquiring residents to input their street address for an estimated year of construction, typically deployment will happen the following calendar year. You will also find links to a Data Calculator to estimate the amount of data you will need for your home. FAQs and “Are You Gigabit Ready” information is available at https://stage.myswva.com/citizip-fiber-pricing/.