How do I get started with fiber?

 08/11/2023 -  WCCBP -  ~4 Minutes

Updated in December 2023 with Jefferson PUD information.

Wondering how to get started with fiber? Here’s our quick-and-simple guide.

If you’re in a hurry and wondering if you should switch, we think the choice is simple: HCC is cheaper and faster than anything available here today. It’s also likely to be more reliable as it doesn’t get slow in heavy rain or when everyone watches TV at once. That said, if you like your service today, there is no need to switch!

What do I need to get started?

You must sign up for service and buy or rent a Wi-Fi system. We recommend at least a Wi-Fi 5 system that is no more than 3 years old to use gigabit speeds. We recommend buying a new system yourself (cheaper), but you can also rent a system from HCC or JPUD. The rest of the work, including installing the fiber and the device that lets you connect to fiber (an Optical Network Unit) is provided by HCC/JPUD.

How does the fiber get to me?

Fiber lines will follow your electrical service, either overhead from the pole or underground. The engineering teams will discuss the exact path with you before work begins.

How much speed do you need?

We recommend a minimum of 100Mb of speed ($64). Bigger households should also consider the gigabit package ($84). Note that in some areas, only gigabit is available due to grant restrictions.

These speeds feel fast to us, but the US average speed today is already ~200Mb   and increasing (#7 globally). 100Mb speeds are only #37 globally and falling – currently behind Malta   !

Are discounts available?

Yes. HCC and JPUD participate in federal and state programs that reduce costs for folks in need. Discounts up to $30/month may be available for the 100Mb and gigabit services. Ask about discounts when you sign up for service.

Can I keep my old Wi-Fi gear?

Yes, but you probably need to upgrade if you buy the gigabit package. Most routers have an unadvertised house-wide speed limit of 400-600Mb and a per-device limit of 200Mb. This didn’t matter when service was slow, but matters with fiber. A good system should deliver at least 500Mb to any one device, and a full gigabit when 2+ people are using it.

If you want a quick fix, the Amazon eero pro 6   mesh system is a good, gigabit-ready, system. You can add more nodes to cover your whole house. For more information on picking a system, read more in our article here .

Should I rent a Wi-Fi system?

If you know how to set up Wi-Fi, buying is cheaper than renting. Renting is an advantage if you need HCC to help monitor your system.

The system HCC is renting is state of the art and gigabit ready (a Plume Wi-Fi 6E   system). This is as good as any system you can buy yourself. Jefferson PUD uses a slightly different model, but both work similarly.

Can I watch TV?

Yes. All streaming services work over fiber, and there are no bandwidth caps. The faster speeds should improve them too as there will be less buffering, lag, and you can watch higher resolution without hitting a data cap (satellite and cell).

HCC also sells a cable TV alternative if you don’t want to use a streaming service. This includes cable boxes that use Wi-Fi that replace your current satellite or cable boxes. Call HCC for channel lineups and more details.

Can I get phone service?

Yes. AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon also support Wi-Fi calling   for free, which uses your local Wi-Fi like a cell tower. HCC’s fiber broadband will make this service much more reliable for you. If you have good Wi-Fi coverage, most folks don’t need a landline.

HCC also sells a landline service that can connect to your existing phones if you don’t have a cell phone.