Fiber-to-the-Home Project FAQs

Click questions to reveal the answer.

Where will the fiber broadband be available?

Fiber broadband will ultimately be available to all members of Valley Electric Association (VEA). This includes members across Pahrump, Sandy Valley, Amargosa, Beatty, and Fish Lake Valley. The fiber broadband network will span our service territory, offering fiber to those who do not have access today and eventually replacing the wireless internet some members currently have.

Why transition to fiber now?

We want to acknowledge there have been promises made in the past regarding a fiber-to-the-home initiative, which has led to frustration among members.  The original plan several years ago would have cost Valley Communications $200 million.  Today’s plan is at a more cost-effective price of $40 million to complete the project.

Although we cannot change what was done in the past, we are committed to the future of our membership and ensuring this project is done right. We are confident this investment in all-fiber networks throughout our service territory will serve the needs of our members today and well into the future.

When will construction on the network start?

VEA will build the fiber network beginning in early 2023. Fiber service from Valley Communications will become available on a “rolling” basis as construction progresses. We will keep members updated as high-speed fiber internet service becomes available in their area.

I currently have wireless broadband service. Will I be able to get fiber?

Yes. All current Valley Communications customers served by wireless in Pahrump, Sandy Valley, Amargosa, Beatty, and Fish Lake Valley will be transitioned to fiber service.

Why do I need fiber broadband if I have wireless broadband?

Fiber internet is considered the “gold standard” of communications transmission. It is extremely fast – for both uploads and downloads, robust – able to accommodate multiple devices simultaneously – and reliable. Because this network is being constructed over our existing electric infrastructure, we are able to build efficiently, which allows us to offer this world-class service affordably to our members.

What is the process of building the fiber network?

Building a FTTH network is generally a multi-year intensive project encompassing numerous steps and efforts. The network will be built in zones or phases, with the number of phases determined by the size of the service territory. Each phase typically takes approximately 12 months from construction start to customer installation. Valley Communications will keep members updated as the project progresses.

 

The Technology – Internet Service

What is a fiber-optic network?

Fiber-optic systems are made up of tiny strands of glass that carry data using light waves, resulting in much faster internet speeds and better reliability than traditional copper lines. Most internet providers use fiber in their systems, but use copper lines for the final connections to the home, resulting in slower speeds. VEA and fellow cooperatives believe 100% FTTH is the best, most sustainable communications choice. With FTTH service, you’ll enjoy “symmetrical” speeds, meaning you’ll experience the same high speeds whether uploading or downloading. A fiber-optic network can carry an extremely high amount of data and is more reliable than other networks because it’s less susceptible to interference and damage from lightning and other acts of nature.

What fiber internet and telephone packages will be available for my home?

Valley Communications Association will offer three tiers of internet pricing, along with service enhancements and HD-quality phone service.

Are there data caps with this service?

No. With fiber internet from Valley Communications, you will have no data caps or throttling.

If I have Valley Communications service, do I need to sign up for fiber?

No. When fiber services are available in your area, we will contact you to arrange the conversion.

 

The Next Steps – Getting Service

What is the installation process?

Construction crews will be pulling and hanging the fiber and taking it to your home or business and are preparing the network to go live once construction in the area is complete. A Valley Communications employee will contact you to schedule an appointment for an in-home installer to finalize your connection and test the services from your equipment. Once that installation is complete and tested, your service should be ready to go.

I have wireless broadband. How will I get fiber service?

Once the construction schedule is finalized, we will notify members as we near your community. If you are a Valley Communications wireless broadband subscriber, we will reach out to you as the network nears your area and walk you through the transition process.

If I am a Valley Communications wireless broadband customer, will I need to sign up for fiber?

No. When fiber services are available in your area, we will contact you to arrange the conversion.

What equipment will I need to purchase?

You can bring your own Wi-Fi router. We recommend you take our managed Wi-Fi service that provides your home with the best experience. With the service, we will provide a carrier-grade Wi-Fi router that can watch for potential issues and will auto-heal the network to make your devices run as smoothly as possible. This service also gives us advanced troubleshooting abilities if you do need to call us with an issue.

Your existing computers and Wi-Fi devices should connect to the Valley Communications-provided devices without the need for additional hardware purchases.

Valley Communications will provide two pieces of equipment that are required to connect your home to the internet. One piece is an Optical Network Terminal (ONT) that converts the fiber optic signal coming into your home to a wired ethernet connection. That wired ethernet connection then connects to a combination router/firewall and wireless access point, also called a Home Gateway, which is the second device.

Given the broad range of connectivity options provided by Valley Communications, your current device should connect seamlessly to the provided equipment. 

If your computer does not have a network interface card (NIC) or supports Wi-Fi, then additional equipment purchases may be required. If this is the case, you may want to consider a computer upgrade to get the best experience from the Valley Communications Association network.

 

The Benefits 

Why are you offering fiber broadband service?

Many of our communities have long suffered from a lack of access to the same speeds and capabilities as those in less rural areas. This project will help close the digital divide between those who have access to advanced technology and those who don’t. A few of the many advantages of fiber broadband access are:

  • Online teaching capabilities allow students to learn from home
  • Telehealth capabilities
  • Work-from-home interoffice connectivity and videoconferencing capabilities
  • Quality of life improvements through enhanced communications
  • Economic development and growth in rural areas. Access to high-speed internet can raise home prices and attract businesses to communities
How will I benefit from fiber internet access?

Our sole reason for offering high-speed internet services is to meet the needs of members like you. You will no longer have to rely on DSL, fixed wireless, or satellite internet to stay connected online. You will be able to stream high-definition media smoothly and quickly, have the data capacity to download and upload data such as files, photos, and videos at super-fast speeds, and have access to the latest technological advancements and applications. Our FTTH world-class service will be reliable, affordable, and backed by your local, trusted co-op.

You will be able to run multiple devices – such as cell phones, computers, and laptops – simultaneously in your home or business without decreased download and upload speeds. The table below gives you a speed comparison between what you may have now and what’s possible with FTTH.

* Typical dsl/wireless/satellite (3Mbps)

 

Standard internet speed (25 Mbps) FIBER INTERNET

Up to 1000 Mbps (Gigabit)

Download 100 photos 14.7 minutes 1.8 minutes 2.8 seconds
Download HD movie 4.8 hours 34.4 minutes 54.3 seconds
Download 50 Songs 8.2 minutes 1 minute 1.5 seconds
Download 50GB Game 39.8 hours 4.8 hours 7.5 minutes

* Download speeds calculated using the following averages:

Phone Photo – 3.15 MB

HD movie – 6 GB

Song – 3.5 MB

Game – 50 GB

 

Phone Service

Is Valley Communications offering phone service?

Yes, Valley Communications offers both residential and business Digital Telephone services. An active internet connection is required to order Digital Telephone service.

HD-Quality Phone Service:

Residential unlimited local and long-distance calls $24.95/month***

*** Requires $3.95/month ATA Lease.

Please contact us for your business phone service requirements so we can tailor a package that meets your needs.

Can I keep my phone number?

In most cases, customers changing phone providers will be able to keep their phone numbers.

Do I have to sign up for phone services to get high-speed internet service?

No. You do not have to sign up for phone services to have access to our fiber broadband.

 

Timeline

When will I get high-speed internet? Why does it take so long?

Valley Electric Association is as excited as you are by the opportunities that lie ahead with the construction of a world-class fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) network to serve our community. Since our humble beginnings in the 1960s to bring electricity to our rural communities, our mission has always been to make lives better by providing our members with high-quality, affordable services.

The global pandemic has made it more apparent than ever that our cooperative members need lightning-fast broadband internet service – and they need it now. The cooperative, through its subsidiary Valley Communications Association, is working as quickly as possible to establish the fiber network and deliver high-speed internet to our service territory. We know this milestone accomplishment will once again revolutionize life for cooperative members, just as the introduction of electricity did in 1965.

The magnitude of establishing the world-class fiber network required to deliver some of the fastest and most robust internet in the nation is similar in scope. Ensuring reliable, symmetrical gigabit-speed service is no small endeavor, but one we are committed to advancing within a 3-year timeline to reach our membership. We anticipate fiber service to reach our members by the end of 2025.

What is involved in the process of building a fiber-to-the-home network?

Building a world-class fiber-to-the-home network is a complex endeavor, dependent on multiple variables – the project size, a co-op’s unique geography, weather, the amount of underground and overhead electric infrastructure, and more.

The project begins with network design – discovering the optimum fiber path along the existing infrastructure. This early design maps the fiber route along the entire electric grid, from each substation to the poles and lines that will deliver fiber to individual homes and businesses. This important phase sets the stage for a smoother, faster build, prevents missteps in the long run, and reduces costs to customers, and our members.

The project unfolds on a rolling basis, over five general phases for each designated construction zone.

Make-Ready

Make-ready crews evaluate and possibly change out poles to prepare our infrastructure to accommodate the fiber build.  2-12 weeks per zone

Construction

Fiber crews will begin the process of adding fiber-optic cable to pole lines and underground areas throughout the community. 4-8 weeks zone

Splicing
The fiber cables and taps are spliced. Splice points are protected in enclosures and secured to power poles (aerial build) or in pedestals (underground build).  3-6 weeks per zone

Service Drop

Crews install drop fiber from the nearest tap enclosure to a network interface device (NID) located on the home or business.  After splicing is done.  

Installation

Fiber is installed from the NID to an ONT (optical network terminal) inside the home or office, where it’s connected to a WiFi router, tested, and determined ready to connect to broadband. After the service drop is performed.