Frequently Asked Questions

You probably have questions about our gigabit fiber optic network project.  Here are a few answers. We’ll add more as the project progresses.

Q. What exactly is Nevada County Connected?

Nevada County Connected is the name of a Spiral Internet project to bring 100% fiber optic connectivity to homes and businesses in western Nevada County. Upon completion, this means that each premise will have the capacity for 1 Gigabit per second symmetrical (download and upload) speeds, exactly like the Google Fiber project in Kansas City and Austin. It also means that a fiber optic network will be sustainable for 50 to 100 years, able to provide access to faster and faster speeds as new technologies emerge. This type of project is referred to as “Fiber to the Home” (FTTH) or “Fiber to the Premise” (FTTP).

The project is utilizing the Central Valley Next-Generation Broadband Infrastructure Project (CVNGBIP) that was funded by Federal and State monies in 2009 and will be completed in 2015. CVNGBIP is a middle-mile project which brings a very large open-access “pipeline” to the Internet through the county, to which we will connect.

Spiral Internet envisions Nevada County Connected as a community effort. Your input and suggestions, as we build the fiber optic network, are welcome and encouraged. Just give us a call at (530) 478-9822 x203 and talk with our Neighborhood Coordinator, Sandy Jansen, or send us an email.

Q. How will Nevada County Connected be funded?

The California Legislature has made California Public Utilities Commission funding available via its California Advanced Services Fund (CASF). Each telephone bill includes a small amount each month (see “CASF” on your bill) that is deposited into this fund. The fund is set up to assist projects in rural and some urban areas where broadband access is not currently available or where speeds faster than 6 Mbps download and 1.5 Mbps upload are not currently available. Matching private funding is also being secured, to match the 60% CASF monies.

Q. Why does the project need public funding?

Typically, the reason that many less dense locations in Nevada County don’t have access to high-speed Internet access is that Comcast has deemed these areas unprofitable, and AT&T announced that it has basically stopped deployment of DSL (or U-verse) service over its copper wire (existing telephone) network.

In the same way that rural telephone service infrastructure was funded by the Federal government, funded rural broadband Internet service infrastructure enables comparable cost for high-speed services as found in more urban locations.

Fixed wireless service, as offered by providers such as DigitalPath, is impeded by our geographic diversity and high forestation. The same is true for wireless cellular providers, such as AT&T and Verizon.

Q. What is the difference between “broadband”, “high-speed”, and “DSL”?

The words and services of Internet access can be confusing. “Broadband” or “high-speed” are the generic terms for any Internet service that is faster than dial-up access — 5 kilobits per second (kbps). Federal agencies loosely define “broadband” as advertised download load speeds of 3 Megabits per second (Mbps) and upload speeds of 1 Mbps, which are far below speeds offered in many other countries.

Broadband Internet access over copper wire phone lines is called “DSL” (AT&T brands their DSL service as “U-verse”). Cable companies offer wired broadband Internet access over their hybrid fiber-optic and co-axial cable networks. Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISPs) offer wireless broadband Internet access over specific frequencies dedicated to these services over a land-based tower network. Cellular phone companies offer wireless broadband Internet access over their mobile frequencies via a land-based tower network. And satellite companies offer wireless broadband Internet access over yet other frequencies via satellites orbiting 20,000 miles overhead.

Q. What are download and upload speeds?

Typically you see Internet speeds advertised as 1.5 or 3 or 6 or 10 Mbps (Megabits per second). These are download speeds. Upload speeds, on the other, are seldom more than 1 Mbps, and typically much slower. You’ll seldom hear about the upload speeds or even see them printed anywhere, but it is these much slower speeds that cause access problems.

Cable, DSL, fixed wireless and satellite service all offer much slower upload than download speeds. This is okay when you are watching content, but causes problematic slowdowns when you start to interact with your applications that are now being hosted in the “cloud”, and doing video conference calls, as two examples. Our 100% fiber optic network will offer symmetrical speeds out the door. The Internet “bottleneck” will be removed.

Q. What speeds will be available at what cost?

Prices/speeds will be announced later in 2015, however monthly subscriptions will be competitive to existing cable/satellite pricing for much much faster speeds, with the added benefit of symmetrical download and upload speeds. Subscribers will also find that once they have Internet service via a 100% fiber optic network, they will easily be able to use multiple devices (TVs, tablets, cell phones, etc.) without losing speed, and will be able to replace their landline telephone service and satellite TV service with less expensive alternatives that are starting to appear.

Q. When will it be available?

If all goes according to plan, the first phase of the project will begin construction in late summer of 2015. It will most likely take 6 to 8 years to build out into most of western Nevada County.

Q. Will it be available in my neighborhood?

You can see all three phases of our project by going to our CrowdFiber website. Help us by mapping your location in western Nevada County.

Q. I want to help make sure we get this in our neighborhood, what can I do?

If you’re not located in our first three phases, still enter your location. If you’re interested and willing to organize your neighborhood, call (478-9822 x203) our Neighborhood Coordinator, Sandy Jansen. She’ll respond, and let you know how you can help your neighborhood obtain gigabit Internet access.

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