Notes taken from the informational broadband meeting held on 8/29/2023 in regards to questions asked.
#1) It would be helpful to learn anything that is known about how the rollout will happen for the pole-to-home installations. Is there a plan for which roads are on what part of the project timeline? It will help navigate upcoming service renewal contracts with current ISPs.
-Timeline: yes and no. The project will roll out from the central office which will be located at the Vienna Fire Department/Community Room. The start date is dependent upon the pole “Make Ready” which is dependent upon Consolidated Communications and CMP to finish any necessary pole updates, line moves, pole replacements. Once they have finished, the expected project is expected to be completed in 9 months. *Please see the Standard Installation Guidelines for new Fiber Optic Internet Service posted on the https://www.viennamaine.org/ website.
#2) Once the fiber is installed, who/how will be able to get the fiber to the house? Is the resident responsible for that? If so, how much do you expect that might cost? Is there anything else we need to do on our end?
-There are 3 ways:
A. Serviced by the existing utility pole. (This is free to the homeowner)
B. Underground; An access to a conduit that is NOT being used for electrical. (This is free to the homeowner)
C. Lay it on the ground to be buried by the property owner at their cost /can be done at a later date.
#3) If we are not here when the install is ready, how is this accomplished? Do they install a box to the outside of your house and then when you come up you arrange for the install?
-You can authorize someone else to be your representative at the time of interior installation (inside the home) no one needs to be present for exterior work done. (You will have to complete an authorization form for this to happen).
#4) What are the specs of the trench for the wires - for those with underground wires to their homes.
-Contact Lisa at Axiom for diagrams of underground trenches. -Lines should be buried 2 feet, however, get it under the ground so it is not caught by your lawnmower, etc…
#5) Cost of installation if done during the sign up period and cost of installation if done later.
- Installation is free during the time of the Broadband build. It is $299.00 after.
#6) What are the monthly costs?
-Pricing: Check Vienna.org website for updated pricing
-500/500 Mbps $109.99
Seasonal: (May 01 - November 01)
*Seasonal pricing is a 15% Discount from the yearly cost. No internet is provided through the winter.
-100/100Mbps $611.99- Annually
#7) Will we still have Consolidated Communications for internet service?
-If you choose; Consolidated Communications will continue to offer service; however, they will not use the Town’s fiber optic cables. Therefore, you will continue to receive the same quality service they currently offer.
#8) Can I still qualify for the internet discount I qualify for now?
-Yes. You may go to the application and change the provider.
#9) Will it work in all kinds of weather?
- Yes. Fiber is passive and is pulses of light which are not affected by distance and weather.
#10) Will it cost me more than my small Social Security check that is pretty much all I am living on?
The government offers the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) see: https://www.whitehouse.gov/getinternet.
-There are 50/10 solutions. $30.00 if qualified by the Government.
#11) Will there be a way to shut the service down for the summer for seasonal folks? Consolidated does this, charging a reduced fee to maintain the account/service. We understand that not all providers do this, but it’s pretty common.
-Yes and No. Refer to Pricing- Seasonal Rates from question #6.
#12) Will the monthly cost increase after the initial period (i.e. a year or so)? If so, what are those fees predicted to be and when would they increase?
-This is the price. There has been no increase and there are none anticipated within the next 4 +/- years.
#13) Will installation be available during the summer months for seasonal residents?
-Free installation during “roll out”. While the lines are being installed. If service is hooked up after, it will be a $299.00 installation fee. Seasonal residents- please see question #6 for seasonal rates. To avoid unnecessary installation fees, you must have someone at your home to let an Axiom representative into the home to complete installation within the home. (See authorization form on the Axiom website).
#14) While the ground isn’t frozen, I think I’ll look into having a conduit installed underground from the pole to my house in anticipation of the fiber cable. Do you think Axiom or members of the Broadband committee might know who does this work in the Vienna area?… just any electrician, perhaps?
-Yes. Anyone can install conduit.
#15) Will my DSL connection still operate after fiber installation until I terminate service with Consolidated Communications?
#16) Can any existing WiFi router brand/model be used with the fiber connection?
- No. The router needs to be wifi 6 compatible. You can lease a router from Axiom for $7.50 monthly. You cannot purchase a router from Axiom. If you choose to lease an Axiom router, this allows Axiom to check and work on your router. If you choose to purchase your own router somewhere else, Axiom will NOT be able to help you with your router troubleshooting and any other router issues.
#17) If Axiom is limited to 270 homes for free installation during the construction phase (per the Installation Guide), and if demand exceeds 270, how will eligibility be determined for getting free installation? First come first served?
-Yes. First come, First Served. The 270 number is higher than the initial expected take rate.
#18) When will subscriptions begin?
-It is anticipated to start taking subscriptions in November 2023.
#19) What will be done for underground connections or other possibilities to get service to our cottage rather than running another fiber all the way there. It is about 1/2 mile from our house, mostly through the woods.
-On the ground or wirelessly, any building on your tax map may share service.
#20) The grant was awarded in January 2023. The Federal and State authorities delayed distribution
of grant funds and therefore our project while they revised the contractual language governing
the grant. Has the contract for the grant now been signed? If not, why not?
-No. We are waiting for the Government to finalize the wording. Once it has been finalized, it will need to be reviewed by the Town Lawyer and Selectboard.
#21) The article passed at the special town meeting included a budget based on a grant of about $1.8
million. The actual grant was awarded at $2.2 million. What is the revised budget for the
-Current budget is 2.6 Million.
#22) It has been nearly a year since the special town meeting. Have the material and construction
costs for the project been updated to reflect any increases that Vienna will have to pay?
-No increases are expected at this time except possible increase from pole anchors as guidelines are constantly being changed.
#23) Has the contract with Axiom been signed? If not, why not?
- No, both contracts are expected to be signed within the next few weeks. We are still waiting for the Government to finalize the wording of the contract.
#24) Has the make ready pole survey by the utilities been started? If not, why not?
-No. Contracts need to be signed before CMP or Consolidated Communications can start.
#25) What is the revised installation schedule for the project?
-Contracts are expected to be signed within the next few weeks. At that time, CMP and Consolidated Communications will start the “Make Ready” process which is expected to take up to 6 months. An additional 4-6 months will be taken to put lines to poles. Then drops from poles to homes will be done. All should be completed by the end of 2024 unless the 6 month pole process takes longer (as it has in other communities).
Other questions asked at the meeting:
A. How do you initiate contact with Axiom?
-Call Axiom at 271-2801. Axiom will start making a list of customers beginning in November 2023.
B. What are the 1st Steps in this project?
-CMP and Consolidated Communications have 6 months from contract signing to perform the “Make Ready”. Timeline is 6 months for “Make Ready”, 4-6 months for the line construction, and then they will do the drops to the homes.
C. What if there are service issues?
Contact Axiom. They will first work with you on the telephone. If unable to correct issues during the phone call. A local representative will come out to assess the situation. If they are unable to find a solution. Axiom will roll out a truck from Machias Maine.
D. How deep do you need to bury the conduit line?
-Lines should be buried 2 feet, however, get it under the ground so it is not caught by your lawnmower, etc…
E. Will Phone/Television services be available?
- Axiom offers phone services at $29.99 per month however, it is suggested you use other providers as they may offer more services at a lesser price. Magic Jack is available for $50.00 per year.
-TV- Axiom does NOT offer TV. There are other options for homeowners such as, but not limited to, the following; Smart TVs; APPS: (HULU, ROKU, Disney+, ESPN), etc… See the FAQ list "How to I watch TV" question at https://viennamaine.org/Broadband_committee.
F. Is Broadband provided by air or by a box?
-Broadband can be provided through wifi or plugged directly into your router.
G. What is the process to upgrade/downgrade service?
-Contact Axiom to have your service upgraded/downgraded as this is done from their office.
H. What brand and model does Axiom use for a router?
-Axiom uses a wifi 6 compatible Adtran router. The model changes.
I. Is there a firewall provided and is it at the home or HUB?
-Yes. Levels of security and firewalls are installed.
J. Will service be provided during power outages?
-Yes. Central office will have a backup-on demand generator. Power at the home is dependent upon the homeowner. There are battery backups for the modem. These are available from other vendors.
K. I currently have a router extender in my house. Will it continue to work?
-Yes. A google mesh system is recommended as it extends more Megabytes per second.
L. What if fiber optic cable goes across someone else’s property and who is responsible to repair costs to said cable?
- If utilizing utility poles with right of way that is not a problem.
- If running across another property owner’s land you will need to have permission from said property owner.
- If damage is caused by malice, the person who caused malice is financially responsible. General maintenance is covered by Axiom.
-It is recommended to “Flag” the location of the cable across the property.