We’ve tried to answer the questions we hear most often from you and your neighbors. If you don’t find the answers you need here, please contact us today.
Section 1: General
BroadbandBI is the fiber broadband network owned by the Town of New Shoreham. BroadbandBI was built and is being operated in partnership with two vendors – Sertex Broadband Solutions for network construction and operations, and Crocker Communications as the Internet Service Provider (ISP). The Town manages and directs costs and services, and Sertex and Crocker operate and maintain the network and its mainland connections under contract with the Town. OSHEAN, Inc. is also under a Town contract to provide internet traffic transport services. Town ownership gives ultimate management and control of the network and services offered to the Block Island community.
Access to existing internet services through Verizon DSL, satellite, or other carriers remains an option for those who elect not to subscribe to the BroadbandBI services offered.
No. BroadbandBI is a fully fiber-optic network, which allows data and voice to be delivered over fiber-optic cables from the Town’s telecommunications building to island homes and businesses.
5G stands for fifth-generation cellular wireless. 5G is the technology that cell carriers like Verizon, Sprint, and AT&T use on their towers to distribute a more powerful cellular signal through the airwaves, allowing people to experience better voice and data performance on cell phones and other mobile devices.
Note that the routers installed in homes, which may be advertised as "5G Wi-Fi," works on a 5GHz (gigahertz) short-range radio frequency band. This is NOT the same as 5G (fifth generation) cellular technology. 5G uses long-range frequency bands from 450MHz to 6Ghz and 24.25GHz to 52.6GHz.
Look through these FAQs and visit the Help Center. If you still have questions, please refer to the Contact page for BroadbandBI support information.
Section 2: Fiber Connection, Subscription, and Installation
Sertex installation teams run a fiber cable called a “drop” from the street to a small weatherproof box called a NID (Network Interface Device) on the exterior of each premises, close to electrical or telephone cable connections.
Click here to view/download an illustration of a typical fiber service drop configuration for a single-family home.
Installed drops are either overhead or underground, generally following utility lines. No one is required to be onsite for the fiber drop installation; however, the owner or subscriber must be present for the interior installation of equipment and activation of services.
Fiber cable drops have already been installed to many island premises. For those properties not yet connected, parcels registered through this website will get one fiber drop (from the roadway to the premises) paid by the Town during the initial network construction. Properties are generally being connected by Fiber Service Area (FSA). Click here to view/download a map of FSA areas.
When an FSA is open for subscriptions and an owner or renter subscribes to broadband services, Sertex will verify whether a fiber drop was previously installed to their premises. If an owner previously registered and does not yet have a drop, the drop will be installed prior to (for an underground drop) or at the same as (for an aerial drop) service activation.
If a property was not previously registered, the owner or a renter may submit an application for broadband services provided the owner authorizes installation of a fiber drop. If the application is submitted while the network is still under initial construction, the Town will pay for the first fiber drop to the property. If the application is submitted subsequent to the initial construction period, the owner or renter requesting subscription services will be notified that the owner bears responsibility for the cost of connecting to the network. The cost of any additional drops to a property are the responsibility of the property owner.
Aerial and underground mainline construction and testing each FSA back to the Town telecommunications building must be completed before residents within the FSA can subscribe for services. Prospective subscribers can stay informed about the status of each FSA through this website, notices on the Block Island Bulletin Board, and in the Block Island Times. Property owners registered on broadbandbi.com may also receive email notifications.
As Fiber Service Areas (FSAs) are connected to the network and advertised for customer installations, residents and businesses can sign up using the Subscribe tab on this website. This tab brings the visitor to the Subscription page, which has detailed instructions. To subscribe, the visitor must have the correct BroadbandBI Location ID for the building where service will be delivered. In many cases, this ID will be different from the property’s Fire # “address”. This is the case for accessory dwellings and some primary dwellings as well. A map tool available from the Subscription page will enable the user to obtain the Location ID assigned by BroadbandBI to the specific premises to be served.
Property owners who authorized installation of a fiber drop may receive an automated email from firstname.lastname@example.org containing a link to a pre-populated broadband services subscription form.
If questions arise during the process, contact the Sertex customer service team.
Announcements will appear on this website, Block Island Bulletin Board, and in the Block Island Times when specific FSAs are ready for customers to subscribe.
If a fiber drop was not previously installed, the renter or tenant needs to seek permission from the property owner and determine who will bear the installation cost. During the subscription process, the subscriber must affirm the owner has granted permission to access the property to plan and install the fiber drop.
Once installation prerequisites are accommodated, a member of the Sertex customer service team will schedule the installation of interior equipment and activation of services.
The installer will discuss equipment placement options with the subscriber, make recommendations, and ultimately install equipment in the agreed upon locations. The installer will run cabling as needed to connect the ONT to the exterior NID and to connect the router to the ONT. If network cabling beyond the 50 ft standard installation is needed (or cabling is required for phone jacks), the installer will provide the customer a quote for the cost of installing additional cabling. In some cases, the additional work may require a follow-up appointment to complete.
Click here to view/download an illustration of a standard fiber service drop configuration for a single-family home.
Please review Section 6: Equipment below for additional information on the equipment installed inside and outside the premises.
This only applies to traditional telephone-based security and alarm systems. There are many other home monitoring systems that are designed specifically to work over the internet, rather than via telephone dialing. Please refer to Section 5: Telephone/VOIP for more information on BroadbandBI phone service options.
Note that power disruptions that impact Crocker phone service will also impact any telephone-based alarm systems connected to it. Refer to Section 6: Equipment questions related to the need and options for providing backup power for telephone service, alarms and other network equipment.
Yes. Contact the Sertex customer service team for information on the location of underground fiber. Before starting any project that involves excavation (including small projects like landscaping), State law requires property owners to contact Rhode Island Dig Safe® to mark out the location of underground utilities. This ensures safety and eliminates the possibility of underground fiber being severed and disrupting BroadbandBI service. Dig Safe® is free. Simply call 811 or (888) 344-7233.
Underground installations use a technique called micro-trenching to minimize required excavation.
Section 3: Network Operations and Maintenance
Sertex Broadband Solutions operates the network with support from Crocker Communications and OSHEAN, Inc. under contract with the Town of New Shoreham. These vendors monitor the network to ensure optimal functioning and collaborate with each other and the Town as needed to resolve any physical network and/or customer issues involving network electronics, network fiber, and/or fiber connections. Direct support to active subscribers is provided by the Internet Service Provider, Crocker Communications. Sertex provides support for processing service subscription applications, installing fiber drops, installing interior network equipment, and activating services at the customer premises.
The electronics that enable fiber service have different life expectancies, and the cost of capital equipment replacement is factored into the BroadbandBI network operations and maintenance (O&M) charge collected by Crocker on the Town’s behalf.
Does the Subscriber have a responsibility for the performance and protection of the BroadbandBI network?
Section 4: Network Services
BroadbandBI does not provide traditional television programming because the Town received no proposals from an ISP to do so. However, subscribers can access all streaming services, including those providing traditional television programming, over the internet. More information is available in the Help Center Television and Video Streaming section and in the video below.
Charges for standard installation were waived for people who subscribed while the network was being deployed. Charges associated with non-standard installations and for installations subsequent to the initial network construction period are the responsibility of the customer.
A static IPv4 address and/or a static block of IPv6 address space are available at an additional charge. Please refer to the Pricing page on this website for details. Contact Crocker for inquiries related to static IP addresses.
BroadbandBI operates based on net neutrality principles. Services are not prioritized, though Crocker may take measures necessary to ensure consistently high-quality phone calls.
Section 5: Telephone/VOIP
Yes. VOIP stands for “voice-over-internet-protocol” and the BroadbandBI network offers Crocker VOIP landline telephone service. Customers may subscribe to this phone service (see Options 2 and 3 below) or they may use a separate third-party service provider to make phone calls over their internet connection (see Option 4 below).
BroadbandBI Phone service options available?
Currently telephone service on the island is provided by Verizon. The new fiber network can also provide telephone service with a few options:
Option 1) Keep Verizon landline phone service and do not subscribe to BroadbandBI landline telephone service. No action is necessary for this option.
Option 2) Subscribe to BroadbandBI phone service and transfer the existing Verizon landline phone number to Crocker. When complete, this will effectively cancel the Verizon service. Refer to the next question for installation details.
Option 3) Subscribe to BroadbandBI landline telephone service and request a new telephone number be assigned. Note that newly assigned local telephone numbers may not have a ‘466’ prefix. If you currently have Verizon service you may opt to cancel it or keep it. Any interior phone jacks connected to the Verizon service will remain connected to Verizon service. Refer to the next question for installation details.
Option 4) Eliminate landline service altogether and only use cell phones in the home. If a cell phone has a Wi-Fi calling feature supported by the carrier, it can be used make calls over the new in-home wireless network. Instead of relying on the cellular phone network, calls and texts will be sent over the internet. See more on this below in the question about Wi-Fi Calling. Be aware that Emergency 911 service on cell phones is not as robust as on hardwired BroadbandBI or Verizon phone service.
Option 5) (Recommended for advanced users only) Use a third-party voice-over-internet-protocol (VOIP) service to make phone calls over the internet connection. Some VOIP providers will charge a monthly fee and some will transfer your phone number to their service. They are totally separate from Crocker phone services. Examples of VOIP services are Skype, Vonage, Ooma. (BroadbandBI is not endorsing any of these, just giving them as examples.) Find additional information online about these services.
- The equipment used to provide Crocker phone service (the ONT) requires power to operate. If phone service during a power outage is critical for your household, then consider either 1) having a backup power source for the ONT and any powered phones (UPS battery or home generator) or 2) keeping Verizon phone service. Also, having have at least one non-powered phone device available may be helpful.
- If a telephone-based alarm system is active at the premises with Verizon (an analog phone service), contact your alarm service provider to determine whether it will operate with BroadbandBI phone service (a voice-over-internet-protocol (VOIP) service) or whether it would be cost-effective to convert to an internet-based alarm.
- For an additional charge, Sertex will schedule a technician to come to the home subsequent to service installation to connect the existing phone jack wiring to the Crocker phone service.
If a new phone number has been assigned to the service, both inbound and outbound calls will be active on the new phone service and inbound callers will see the newly assigned phone number on their caller id.
If an existing phone number is being transferred to the new service, then:
- Both inbound and outbound calls will work on your Verizon phone until the transfer process is complete.
- From the time of installation until the number transfer process is complete, outbound calls only will work from the new Crocker service. The transferred number will be used for outbound calls.
- The phone number transfer process from Verizon to Crocker will take approximately 14 days from the day of phone service activation. A Crocker customer service representative will contact the subscriber with the expected date of the transfer.
- On the day of transfer, inbound calls will ring on the phone connected to the new phone service and the existing Verizon service will stop functioning.
Contact the Crocker customer service team for questions on these and any other available features.
(Some people have reported that they continue receiving Verizon bills after porting their phone number. We recommend that everyone check to ensure they are no longer charged after the change happens. Contact Verizon once the number has been successfully transferred to make sure all services have been canceled.)
BroadbandBI has failover provisions for E911 calls to ensure these calls reach the Police dispatchers in the event of an undersea cable failure.
Click this link for information on VoIP phone service.
Section 6: Equipment
When a fiber drop is installed, a small gray plastic clamshell box called the NID (Network Interface Device) is mounted outside the premises near where existing utilities enter the property. This is where the fiber cable will enter the premises.
Inside equipment always includes an ONT (Optical Network Device) that will be connected to the fiber cable entering the premises from the exterior NID. If the customer subscribes to internet service, a wireless (Wi-Fi) router will be installed, generally nearby the ONT. If the customer subscribes to phone service, then a customer supplied phone will also be connected to the ONT. The router enables devices to be connected via ethernet (e.g., CAT 5 or CAT 6) cabling and/or Wi-Fi. Both the ONT and wireless router will optimally be located in a central spot that will enable the router’s Wi-Fi signals to reach throughout the premises where wireless-enabled devices are likely to be located and connect to the router for local use (e.g. printing) and for connection to the internet. If one or more wireless devices are too far from the router to connect, wireless range extenders can be purchased separately.
The installers are trained to work with property owners and renters to find the best placement for interior electronics. Variables like the building size, wall thickness, electrical outlet locations, location of existing electronic equipment, and aesthetics may be considered when making decisions about the location of network electronics.
A battery backup, also known as an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) offers power protection for connected electronic devices. Unlike a simple surge protector, a UPS device includes power receptacles (outlets) that provide both protection against power surges and sags and backup battery power in the event of a power outage. An appropriately sized UPS protects sensitive electronics in connected devices and if/when a power outage does occur, the battery provides the end user sufficient time to close any open software applications and avoid data corruption or loss.
Even for a homes and businesses with a standby generator, the UPS will protect connected electronics during the power transfer when an outage occurs.
There are many brands and types of UPS devices, and the right solution depends on several factors, including:
- Location of devices: most UPS devices have either a 5’ or 6’ electrical cord, and manufacturers require they be plugged directly into wall power; plugging into an extension cord can be a safety issue and may void the UPS warranty.
- Power consumption for each device: ideally, the UPS should have a wattage capacity 20-25% greater than that required by the attached devices. The following table provides estimated average wattages for common equipment. The actual wattage of your connected devices can be found in the technical specifications on the manufacturer’s website. Laser printers should not be connected to a UPS.
- Length of battery backup time desired: the total run-time of any UPS device depends on the battery capacity and the total wattage of the devices connected and powered on during the outage. UPS manufacturer websites typically provide a run-time graph for each of its UPS models.
- There are several reputable UPS manufacturers, including Schneider Electric/APC, CyberPower and Tripp Lite. Check the manufacturer’s website for model availability, maximum wattage load capacity and runtime expectations. These can be purchased through the manufacturer website and at many retail and online stores including Amazon.com, B&H, Best Buy, Staples, and Walmart.
|ONT (Optical Network Terminal)||10W|
Note for subscribers to BroadbandBI/Crocker landline phone service: If landline E911 availability is a high priority during a power outage, then backup power is needed. To maximize UPS runtime for E911 service, power down and unplug all other devices from the UPS until wall power is restored. If cordless phones are used with the Crocker service, the primary base station should be connected to the UPS as well.
Many UPS models include a USB charging port for a mobile device. Be aware that charging while on battery power will reduce battery runtime.
The APC BE600M1 is one highly rated, affordable model capable of powering wireless networking equipment (ONT and wireless router) for 2-6 hours on battery after safely shutting down a personal computer and other higher power draw devices. It features:
- Output capacity: 330W
- Battery backup outlets: 5 (the BroadbandBI ONT and wireless router will use 2 of these)
- Surge-only outlets: 2
- USB charging port: 1
- Dimensions: 10.8in W x 5.5in H x 4.1in D
- Weight: 7.7 lbs
- Warranty: 3 yrs
- Lifetime guaranteed surge protection with a $75,000 equipment protection policy
- Battery life: 3-5 yrs (Replacement battery APCRBC154)
- Retails for $99; available for less on Amazon.com
Older devices may have difficulty with wireless signals from newer routers. The most reliable troubleshooting step is to see if the device works when connected directly to the router using an ethernet or USB cable. The issue can sometimes be fixed by connecting to the router’s 2.4GHz (slower) frequency band instead of the faster 5GHz band. The 2.4GHz band is sufficient for most use-cases and is better supported by older devices.
Yes. Crocker customer service can help with some issues, though they will not be able to solve all problems with all devices. There are thousands of electronic network and internet enabled devices, so there is a limit to how much support Crocker can offer. If the issue isn’t solved after a call to Crocker, contact the manufacturer of the device that is unable to successfully connect to the router.
Local computer companies will often make house calls to troubleshoot. A tech-savvy friend or family member may also help with in-home network troubleshooting.
There are many variables that can adversely impact the performance of in-home Wi-Fi networks, including, but not limited to, age and technology of Wi-Fi devices connected to the router, distance between individual devices and the router, individual device Wi-Fi connection settings, and Wi-Fi router setup.
Direct wired connection of devices to the router will provide the fastest and most reliable performance.
A compatible Wi-Fi range extender can be purchased to boost the router’s wireless signal strength to rooms with a slow connection. Some range extenders support internet data only, and others support voice as well. Wi-Fi range extenders are not universally compatible, so contact Crocker for information on obtaining a compatible range extender for the router installed at your premises.
Contact the Crocker customer service team and describe the issue. Agents will assist with next steps.
Section 7: Service and Billing
Crocker will follow up with email and phone call reminders about bill payment. Late fees will be charged for missed payments. Services may be suspended for invoices over 30 days past due and will be terminated after 90 days. Terminated accounts are subject to a reconnection fee (refer to the Pricing page for applicable charges). If an account is terminated, telephone dial tone, E911 service and the ability to contact the billing department will continue for up to 120 days.
Section 8: Internet Service Speed
Optimal speed for an internet connection depends on the answers to several questions:
- How many devices are connected and in-use simultaneously?
- How many people are streaming video at the same time (e.g., Netflix, YouTube)?
- Is home Wi-Fi used for competitive online gaming?
- Is there a frequent need to upload large files?
- Is the internet used for simple online tasks, or for more complex applications like streaming 4K video?
- Does lagging or slow loading cause frustration?
Unlike typical carrier services, BroadbandBI speeds are symmetric on almost all plans, meaning upload and download speeds are the same. Upload speeds are critical as they impact file transfers (to Google Drive, Dropbox, and other locations) and video quality (when using Facetime, Skype, Zoom and other video-intensive internet applications.
Since every household is different, it is difficult to predict individual needs. BroadbandBI monthly pricing for Best Effort plans enables customers to change plans as needed based upon actual household usage experience.