ALFORDLINK INSTALLATION UPDATE 7/24/18
Progress continues on the installation of the AlfordLink network Sertex, our service drop contractor, has begun to install drops on North Egremont Road north of the Fire House, West Road, East Road, Alford Road, Old Barrington Road, and Cross Road, where splicing has been almost totally completed. We expect that process to move smoothly, with regard to the outside drop installation. As we reported previously, Sertex will then set up appointments for the second step in the installation process, inside the house. When Sertex completes the second step, the Internet service is alive and available to the homeowner.
Here’s where we stand right now:
Residences with Service: 20
Outside Service Drops Completed: 50
We’re happy to report that test speeds for AlfordLink subscribers with service are impressive. In addition, we have achieved our goal for service subscriptions, with 233 residents requesting to be connected to AlfordLink, and we expect that number to continue to grow. We’re confident that AlfordLink will be self-supporting with regard to its operating expenses, and will achieve, or exceed, the cash flow necessary to provide its share of the cost of the debt raised to finance the project.
The installations have progressed more slowly than we had anticipated, primarily due to delays caused by project management changes, and crew allocation conflicts, involving our distribution network contractor, Infinigy.
Infinigy has been working on multiple projects in Western Massachusetts and in the process has, at times, pulled construction and splice crews from Alford to work on those other projects. We have emphatically objected, and in meetings with their new project manager in the last week, we’ve now received better information. We have assurances that Infinigy’s other project work will be winding down this week, leading to more crews being on our job starting next week. This increase in resources will be maintained until the distribution fiber network is complete and ready for service drops to proceed more efficiently. Completion of the remaining distribution fiber has been promised by mid-August. Sertex will be installing Internet connections to homes whose connection to our hub is already complete during this period, leaving the drops to the late connected homes as the final step in the process. We remind you that the AlfordLink installation subsidy of $550 is available only to those who subscribe by August 15th.
To be clear – we’ve been assured by our technical consultants that the work done is fine. It’s just the pace of the work that has been disappointing, especially on the south and west sides of town, where fiber has been mounted on the poles but needs to be spliced before drops can be made to residences. The network north of the Fire House is largely complete, but there too, some minor splicing remains to be completed.
We will continue to provide regular updates regarding progress in expediting the completion of splices, outside service drops, inside router installations, and the number of AlfordLink subscribers that are fully operational with Internet service.
Separately, you may be aware that the AlfordLink service will allow residents to switch from the costly Verizon land line phone service to voice over Internet phone service (VOIP). Out Internet service provider, Whip City Fiber, will provide Ooma phones for a monthly charge of about $13, plus approximately $5 in taxes. We want to make residents aware that they can get the same VOIP service by purchasing a device directly from Ooma, for $89, and avoid the $13 monthly fee (the $5 tax charge would still apply). The investment in the device is recouped in just seven months. FYI, Ooma provides a 30-day money-back guarantee, and the service includes call waiting, call forwarding, unlimited free domestic calls, no contract for service (cancel whenever you want), and you can keep your current number. Your existing wireless phone base connects to the back of the Ooma device, which is plugged into the Whip City router. You can then use the same phones you currently use. Ooma does sell its own phones, which reportedly will produce clearer sound, for $50 each. Ooma is now offering home security service, which avoids the dependency of some other alarm systems on a hard-wired telephone connection, but we have not had the opportunity to investigate this service. Go to the Ooma website at www.ooma.com for complete information.
MLP Board Consultants
Bruce Forster Jay Weintraub
Jim Hall Clark Downs
If you sign up during the initial installation period, before August 15, the Alford MLP will provide all the materials and $200 toward labor for the Service Drop installation.
Also, if you subscribe for AlfordLink monthly Internet service during the Initial Install Period ( before August 15), the Alford MLP will provide a free “Standard In-house Installation” valued at $375 per home.
Please note: is very important to understand that these incentives are only available to Alford homeowners that have Signed-up while the installation crews are in your your area. They do not apply if the crews have to be mobilized at a later time. There is no cost or obligation for signing-up and work will only be performed after speaking with a Customer Service Representative and your approval.
Pricing for the AlfordLink monthly subscriptions are:
· $110 for Internet, and
· Optional $12.95 + fees & tax for VOIP Phone.
· No contracts are required, and
· Snowbird rates drop to $74/ for months the Internet service is not used (which is just MLP expenses, and not ISP charges for service).
Links to additional details and information are provided below:
Sign-up for Service Drop / AlfordLink Internet Service: AlfordLink.com
Alford MLP Service Drop Policy: http://www.alfordmamlp.com/service-drop-policy-access-agreement/
AlfordLink Internet /VOIP and Pricing: https://www.whipcityfiber.com/alford/#pricing
Frequently Asked Questions: https://www.whipcityfiber.com/pages/general/faq/