Frequently Asked Questions About Fibre

What is fibre? How is it dfferent then cable/wireless?

Fibre optics is a special type of wired network that uses thin strands of glass instead of copper cable, or radio signals. The strands are made in such a way that laser light sent into the glass will bend around corners and come out the other end of the strand. By using a beam of light instead of an electrical or radio signal, we don't have to worry about interference or lack of radio spectrum like a wireless system, and we don't have to worry about the electrical characteristics that limit the capacity of a copper cable. As long as we send a sufficiently bright light down the cable, it will arrive at it's destination intact. Today's fibre optic cable has no known capacity limit. The limits of the technology are largely related to the electronics at each end, and not the cable itself.


Is fibre just for big businesses?

No, fibre is for everyone. By deploying fibre on a large scale, and taking advantage of the latest technologies, we can reduce the cost enough to be competitive with older technologies such as cable and DSL. Fibre optic cable is in fact cheaper than the older copper cable already in place, it's the cost of burying it that makes a new build expensive. By sharing the cost with an entire neighbourhood, you can have an affordable, fast service.


How much faster is your service, compared to my current speeds?

Our current packages go up to 250 Mb/s upstream and downstream. We will have 1000 Mb/s service in the near future. Many other providers offer "up to" 12Mb/s or "up to" 25Mb/s, but these speeds are not consistently acheived. Even the latest wireless technology is a fraction of the speed of fibre. You can expect to get the speed you pay for, even during peak usage periods.


Will the service work with my current equipment?

If you have your own router, you can continue to use it provided it can handle the increased speeds. Many older routers cannot. You can also upgrade the equipment we supply to include WiFi, if you previously used a router supplied by your ISP. Your existing computers, and other network devices will continue to work fine. If you subscribe to our telephone service, we will need to replace your analog technology phones with newer digital telephones.


Why is your fibre optic service so much faster than a comparably priced service from another provider?

The most significant cost of a network is the construction cost to put the cable in the ground. Once the network is built, the incremental cost of higher speeds is very insignificant. If the cost of construction can be shared across a large number of customers, then the cost per-user can be fairly low. The cost per-Mb of a fibre optic network is much lower than other technologies when high speeds are required.


Will a TV service be available?

We expect to have a high quality digital TV service some time in 2017


We are stuck in a contract. What can you do for us? What are the options?

If you pre-register and pay your deposit, we will still install the cable to your home. You have the option to activate service at a later date when your contract is up. Depending on your cancellation penalty, you may decide that the extra speed is worth it.


If I go over the limit, will I get cut off or be charged an overage fee?

No, we will not charge overages. With our usage-limited packages, you will receive an alert that you are over your monthly quota. Occasional overages are forgiven. Regular overages will result in your account being promoted to one more appropriate to your needs (we will discuss this with you first).


Any hidden fees?

No, each package includes all fees. The basic equipment package is included with the monthly fee. If you decide to upgrade your in-home equipment, you will have the choice between a one-time charge or a smaller monthly fee.


Can I do any of the work myself?

Our technicians will perform all required work to bring the service to your house, as part of the installation. The customer is responsible for any inside network cabling that may be required. This work can be performed by qualified local contractors, or by individuals with appropriate experience. Please feel free to contact customer service to learn more about inside wiring.


Why would I need faster Internet?

Internet is quickly becoming the backbone of business and personal interactions. High definition and 4k video streaming, on-line gaming, all require large amounts of Internet capacity. Businesses need faster Internet to support remote workers and VPNs, as well as the transfer of large graphics files and documents. Cloud based services assume very fast Internet connections, without which, these services perform very poorly.


Will I ever see faster speeds?

Yes. We expect to offer speeds up to 1 Gigabit (1024 Mb/s) within a year, or when there are enough customers connected to cover the additional costs of the backhaul circuits. As demands warrant, we are able to add additional electronics at our central office to provide 10Gb service and beyond, without replacing any of the fibre optic cable that has already been installed.


I plan to move to the area, but not until after fibre is built on my street. Will I miss out on the discounted installation?

You would have to have the permission of the current owner. If you place a deposit and can provide a signed letter from the current owner, we will proceed with the drop installation. You can schedule your turn-up after you move in.


I plan to sell my house. Will having the service installed increase the value of my home?

Yes! Having a home with fibre optic Internet access is a significant selling feature. Many deals have fallen through because of inadequate Internet availability. If you are moving out soon and do not wish to order service, you can still pay the install fee and have the connection brought to your home. You will more than make it back when you sell.


Where can I go to test/demo this service?

Our office and demo centre is at 237 Queen St, Port Perry. Staff is typically available Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm, although calling ahead is always appreciated.


How can we be certain of your reputation?

The service has been available in downtown Port Perry for the past two years. A significant portion of downtown businesses trust Communicate Freely with their critical telephone and Internet service. We have been part of the community, living and working in Port Perry since 2009.


Who owns Communicate Freely?

Communicate Freely is a locally owned and operated business.


Where can I read over the terms of services?

Our terms of service are available on our web site here or in person at our 237 Queen St. office.


Will the prices increase?

Our lowest package has committed pricing for at least five years. The price you pay the first month will stay the same for a long time. We will not lure you in with a special offer, only to raise prices later.


Will I need to run new cabling in my home?

That depends on the kind of cabling you have. If your home is wired with Category 5e or 6 cabling, you can take full advantage of the higher speeds our service can offer. If your home was not wired, this cable could be added by a qualified installer, or you can look to other technologies to extend your network throughout the home. WiFi (wireless), MoCA (uses your old cable TV wiring), or HomePNA (uses your electrical wiring) can all be used to extend a wired network where running new cable is impractical. While proper Ethernet cabling is always the best solution for the highest speeds available, there are plenty of ways to work around this.


How does the connection come to my house?

In most cases, a small tube will be buried from the side of your home to a main bundle running down your street. The tube will be buried by a special machine that pushes it into the ground, minimizing the impact to your lawn. These tubes extend to a nearby terminal, where the cables inside connect to the main network. In some areas where this type of installation is impractical, our engineers may use an overhead cable, much like the existing telephone and electrical services do, from a utility pole to your home.


Will the equipment be obsolete in a few years?

No, our service is month to month. You will need to agree to the terms of service, but we will keep you as a customer by providing good service.


Will the service still be fast when there are a lot of subscribers?

Most Internet access technologies use some sort of shared infrastructure. In wireless systems, this capacity is very limited, and the more customers a tower handles, the less capacity there is to go around. This is also true of cable, and even DSL has to have a shared connection at the other end of the line. What makes one network better than another, is the amount of capacity available to a group of customers. The additional capacity of a fibre optic network allows us to ensure that there is plenty of bandwidth to go around. We also engineer our core network with the expectation that usage will grow significantly, and will be able to meet the demand.


Will issues be responded to quickly, or could I be down for days?

We have technicians monitoring our network 24/7/365. Many problems will be resolved within minutes. If you have a problem with the equipment at your home, a technician can typically come and deal with it the same or the next day. We also keep spares of equipment and materials, as well as the tools required to maintain our own network.


What equipment is compatible with your internet service?

The ONT (similar to a modem or router) provided with the service will provide an Ethernet connection with IPv4 and IPv6 Internet access. You can use any computer, game console, smart TV, set top box, or any other network device with an Ethernet connection. Optional equipment upgrades either include built-in wireless, or external wireless access points that can be mounted in a more ideal location to provide coverage to your home. If you choose to use your own networking equipment, we can disable the routing function in the ONT and provide a connection directly to your own router. Please note that we can provide limited assistance with customer supplied equipment.


Can I use my existing phones with your telephone service?

Generally, no. Our telephone service uses all-digital IP handsets. We believe that telephone service can still be improved upon, and have decided not to use a 100 year old technology to deliver voice service. By using digital handsets, we can provide enhanced features and better sound quality. With our telephone system, you can use more than one phone at the same time to place different phone calls. We are also able to ensure complete compatibility with the phones we supply, and that eliminates echo and other quality issues that are more common when analog phones are used on a digital network. Some exceptions may apply, such as in cases where assistive devices need to place a voice phone call.


Can I use my existing TV set-top box with your service?

No, you must use the set top box that we supply for live TV. You are welcome to use an over-the-top device to access streaming content over the Internet, but our broadcast TV service requires our IP set-top box to function. The set top box has both analog and HDMI outputs, and is compatible with any TV manufactured this century. Each television set will require it's own set-top box.


When does the equipment need to be replaced?

The outdoor cable plant should last at least 30 years. The in-home electronics are typically replaced more often. Communicate Freely retains ownership of the terminal equipment, and will replace these as required.


Do we get our own dedicated fibre?

You get your own dedicated fibre from your home to the nearest Fibre Distribution Hub (FDH), a cabinet somewhere in your neighbourhood. In the FDH, a splitter will combine several houses onto one feeder fibre extending back to our central office. By using a passive optical network, we can eliminate outdoor electronics, and provide fibre all the way to your home. Large businesses with multi-gigabit requirements may have a dedicated fibre provisioned if required.


Will the equipment be obsolete in a few years?

The vast majority of the network will be buried in the ground, with splices protected in underground vaults and pedestals. A wired network is not subject to rain or snow fading, and the cable we use is designed for our cold climates. Since the network is passive, all electronics can be placed indoors, out of the weather.


Do you provide e-mail accounts?

Communicate Freely may offer e-mail accounts on a limited basis. We encourage businesses to use their own e-mail service with their own domain. In general, being tied to an ISP's e-mail service limits your options if you leave the area, or choose another provider.


Will this technology stay current for a long time?

No. Fibre optics have been the back bone of telecommunications for several decades, and are by far the best option for years to come. An optical network doesn't have the same physical limitations of other networks, and can be easily upgraded as new technologies are invented.


What parental controls can I use?

For the Internet service, we only provide an Internet connection. Any sort of web filtering, parental control or security software is the responsibility of the user. The telephone service can be limited to a maximum per-minute rate to prevent expensive calls.


Are your employees working in North America?

Yes! Our company is headquartered in Port Perry, Ontario. Our staff are all in the local area, and most work out of Port Perry. Communicate Freely is a true "local" provider.


Can I get support in my language?

Unfortunately, we are only able to offer support in English at this time.


What other tech support can you provide?

Communicate Freely is a service provider. As such, we will ensure that your Internet connection, and any other telephone or TV services that we provide are functioning correctly. We will support the equipment we supply as part of the service (router, set top box, telephones, etc.) We do not provide computer troubleshooting or support. If you need technical assistance with your computer, we will gladly refer you to other local businesses that specialize in this area. Communicate Freely does provide some network engineering services, for customers with more complex networks. Please call for a quote if needed.


Are there any referral bonuses?

No, sorry. We are all in this together.


What happened to the original plan with the Township of Scugog?

The business deal between the Township of Scugog and Communicate Freely did not come to a mutually agreeable arrangement. Communicate Freely continues to be an independently owned and operated business. The additional funding provided by the Federal Government will assist us in building out our infrastructure, but the engineering, construction, and operation of the network remains completely within our control.


What about fibre to the rest of Scugog?

The Island is just the start. We are also expanding service areas in Port Perry, and will look for other areas to expand into based on demand.