Frequently Asked  

 

TECHNOLOGY

What does Mbps mean?

Megabits-per-second is a measure of throughput or speed. That is, it quantifies how many million bits of digital information pass through a medium in a second. A bit denotes a transistor’s state: off or on (recorded as a zero or a one). This is the smallest piece of digital information. These bits are compiled into code and content to bring us numbers, words, images, etc. Generally, the bigger the number, the more responsive the service will be. To use and enjoy the Internet, you don’t need to know or care about this measure, but it is helpful for comparing different media and individual circumstances.  

 

What is “broadband?” 

Why does Kingdom Fiber describe its service as True Broadband?

Broadband has many definitions, these days. We use it to mean high-speed internet access. The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) currently determines that speeds less than 25 Mbps downstream and 3 Mbps upstream do not qualify as broadband. 

All of our plans exceed the FCC broadband minimum upstream speed. Each but one exceeds the minimum downstream. Our plans are all symmetrical. They have the same upstream throughput as downstream. Having high upstream speeds is very important to enable effective downstream use and also enables rapid transfer of data out to the world. These include voice and video conferencing, among many other uses.

Fiber-optic transmission is not the only true broadband medium, but fiber is consistently considered the gold standard. There are no compromises to our broadband. 

 

How does fiber-optic technology work?

It’s amazing technology. Sent by laser devices, your data is carried as digital pulses of red and blue light over single, hair-thin, optical-glass fibers—one color in each direction simultaneously. Each location will be able to connect at up to 10 Gbps (10 gigabits per second or 10,000 megabits per second)—that’s really, really fast! At your location, the optical network unit (ONU) decodes the downstream light and converts it to ethernet electrical signals for your computer or router, and does the reverse with your upstream ethernet.

 

How is that different from wireless, cable, and DSL?

There’s satellite-based and land-based fixed wireless, and mobile wireless. There’s cable-modem service and phone company DSL. Only fiber delivers consistent, symmetrical, ultra-high speed service, unaffected by weather, distance from a tower or terminal, and unrestricted by usage limits. Our technology allows us to continue to offer faster and faster plans as internet usage patterns evolve.

 

Why should we choose one K/FiberNet plan over another?

Any of our symmetrical plans can likely handle basic needs better than those of other local providers. Use details in the descriptions of the individual plans on this website can help you choose. Some subscribers know they have greater needs than the basic level. Others will decide to upgrade to higher levels, when they find more ways to make the service useful to their purposes. Here are two examples of higher plan use: Your home has multiple users streaming video like Netflix or YouTube at high definition. Your business employs video conferencing and frequently exchanges large graphic and video files.

 

When does Kingdom Fiber cap service or throttle to slower speeds?

We never do either of these! We believe you are entitled to count on our plans, all the time, no matter how much you use them. Contrast that with cable, cellular, satellite, and certain fixed wireless offerings.

 

Is K/FiberPhone regular phone, cellular, WiFi calling, or VoIP?

Our phone service uses voice over internet protocol (VoIP). We provide an analog telephone adapter (ATA), which allows you to use regular phones over the digital network. There are two ways you can also connect your cellular phone over our network, too. You can buy a femtocell from your provider to set up a local cellular network in your home. This connects to the carrier’s network over the Internet. Many smart phones are able to connect to the cellular network using a local WiFi network connected to the Internet using a feature dubbed WiFi Calling. Both of these methods utilize VoIP between your router and the mobile carrier’s network.

 

Why does Kingdom Fiber describe its service as Crystal Voice?

Not all VoIP is equal in quality and features. Some services, for example, use a method called “least cost routing,” which routes your calls the least expensive way across many hops on the internet to and from their destinations. This saves the carrier much money, but degrades the quality of the calls in clarity by causing latency (delays) and jitter (variation in latency). We provide a high-quality service, which minimizes the hops and maximizes the available calling features. The calls are crystal clear.

 

RELIABILITY

Can there be service interruptions or slowdowns? 

Can service be affected by weather?

Sure. No broadband medium is immune from interruptions, but fiber-optic networks have a record of being more reliable than others. They do not rely on radio signals passing through the atmosphere to and from satellites, radio signals passing through trees and other objects, or the need to prevent moisture from short-circuiting or corroding copper cables. Our network can be vulnerable to excavators cutting buried lines, vehicles breaking utility poles, severe ice storms bringing down lines, or forest fires.

 

What happens when the power fails?

Utility power is very reliable, but can occasionally be interrupted. We smooth out these interruptions with large, backup battery banks. We have designed our network system to provide at least 24 hours of backup. You can do the same for your end of the network with an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) or generator.

 

If there are service or billing problems, how does Kingdom Fiber resolve them?

We maintain a support phone line 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Our support personnel will work to resolve issues. They will escalate the support to us on the ground, if need be. We are local and strive to promptly satisfy concerns.  

 

PRICING

Does Kingdom Fiber broadband service cost more than some other choices?

Not really. For example, the phone company appears to sell internet cheaply, but the cost is really subsidized by quite expensive phone service. Without the bundle, the phone company charges as much or more as us for inferior internet alone. Even though we do not call it a bundle, our combined, transparent pricing for both broadband and voice services is lower than the phone company bundle. Our pricing is fairly comparable to the other providers with important exceptions—none of them offer symmetrical down and up speeds or the reliability of fiber. You get more from Kingdom Fiber.

 

Why do faster service plans cost more than slower plans?

We have to pay our upstream provider for the bandwidth used. It is analogous to water and electricity. There’s a general operating cost and a usage cost. We could average all costs and charge each subscriber the same. That would mean the frugal or limited users would be subsidizing the profligate or extensive users. We prefer fairness and more transparent pricing.

 

Can a business subscribe to a home plan, or can a residence use a business plan?

Absolutely. Our plans are just guides to usage. If you prefer to fit within the other category, we are happy to oblige.

 

Why does Kingdom Fiber charge for installation?

As with our other pricing, we are transparent as to the real costs. Other companies hide their costs in long-range pricing and bundles and inceased costs after the initial promotional offering. To reduce your initial startup cost, though, we do subsidize installation costs to a certain extent, 

 

Why does Kingdom Fiber lease its equipment?

There are some technical and business accounting reasons to maintain control and ownership of our equipment. There are benefits to you, too. Should any equipment fail to function properly, you are off the hook. Provided there are no signs of abuse, we will repair or replace it without cost to you. We also think that it’s not fair to hide high equipment costs within subscription rates to subsidize subscribers that choose more feature-rich equipment. Our standard equipment is very inexpensive to lease. This way only those who need fancier equipment need pay for it. 

 

Do seasonal folks get a break, when away?

Yes. Please check out the Seasonal information in the Pricing section of this website.

 

COVERAGE AND INSTALLATION

Why is Kingdom Fiber not available at my place (or everywhere)?

We wish it could be so, but of course our expansion is limited by economics. Fiber-optic network construction is very capital intensive. The cost to build the backbone of our network is $25,000–30,000 per mile. That adds up fast! And, that does not include the infrastructure to support the networks or the cost of drops to homes and businesses. 

 

Will Kingdom Fiber expand coverage in my town or to other towns?

Our goal is to continue to expand in a rational manner, supported by grant and loan awards from governmental and private sources, cooperative ventures with communities, and our own revenue.

 

How will Kingdom Fiber reach deeper into towns?

Where it’s not feasible to extend fiber, we hope to offer high-quality fixed wireless broadband service. We have deep experience with this technology. We will begin with a small pilot program. If funding becomes available, we could replace this service with fiber, later.

 

What places, neighborhoods, towns get installation priority?

Prioritizing installations can be tricky. We want to honor first supporters; we must respect any obligations that come with grant funding or local municipal contracts; and we also need to be efficient—keeping personnel working in close geographic areas. As we expand, we’ll increase the number of installation crews, so that no one gets left behind.

 

After signing up, how long will it be until installation?

This depends on a number of factors. Foremost: do the Kingdom Fiber networks pass your location? If you desire a buried access, is there a useable conduit available? We rely on the availability of contractors to do part of the work. Some of the work is weather-dependent. The priority factors mentioned in the previous answer come into play. Our goal, with no obstacles present, is to schedule installations in about a week.

 

What are the actual steps of the installation?

There are two stages—the outside and the inside. In the case of buried outside cables, there’s an extra stage of confirming or installing useable conduit. The outside stage involves a crew with a bucket truck. They splice “drop” cable into an enclosure on an aerial cable or in a buried vault. That cable gets spliced at your location into a terminal box on the outside of the building. The inside installation involves bringing a much smaller fiber from the terminal box through a wall to the optical network unit (ONU). These two stages are typically done on different days. You need not be present for the outside work.

 

BUSINESS STATUS

How does KF differ from national corporations?

Our ownership and personnel are local. We give you personal service. We genuinely care about the Northeast Kingdom. Our revenues are reinvested locally. Our decisions are long-range rather than quarterly driven by shareholders.

 

Is Kingdom Fiber a non-profit organization?

Pear Networks, doing business as Kingdom Fiber, is a for-profit, Vermont limited liability company (LLC). We cooperate deeply with governmental and non-governmental organizations towards meeting goals in the public interest.

 

What’s a public/private partnership?

Kingdom Fiber partners with the State of Vermont to bring highest quality broadband to communities lacking a typical business case to support such services. The State has made this possible with a favorable long-term lease of its own pre-existing fiber network. In addition, we have partnered with the Town of Craftsbury in a similar fashion. We expect to replicate this town model with other communities. Neither we, nor the governments could likely achieve these goals without such a public/private partnership.

 

How has Kingdom Fiber benefitted from grant awards? 

What organizations issued grants, and which ones received them?

Kingdom Fiber has been the direct recipient of two State of Vermont Connectivity Initiative awards to reach unserved locations—one along 52.5 miles in eight Essex County towns (Brighton, Ferdinand, Brunswick, Bloomfield, Lemington, Canaan, Maidstone, and Guildhall) along Vermont Electric Cooperative’s portion of the NEK Dark Fiber network, and another to extend Craftsbury’s municipal network 2.5 miles.

We assisted the Town of Craftsbury to get two federal grants from USDA Rural Development and Northern Border Regional Commission. The Town made an award to the project, and Kingdom Fiber contributed design engineering and project management. Together, these enabled the Town to build its own municipal dark fiber network (dark fiber is fiber that has not yet been lit by an internet service provider). After a competitive bid process, Kingdom Fiber subsequently was named to operate the network and agreed to similar terms as for its State network lease.