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FAQs

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You must always start by providing your address so that we can be sure that you live in an area where we plan to build our network. By using your address, we can also determine the area to which you belong so that you’ll be referred to the correct website for your neighborhood. Knowing your location also helps us to estimate the cost for connecting you to the network.
It's probably because your email address was registered when you previously completed our survey.

Do this:
1. Click "Login" (in the top right of the page).
2. Click the text "Forgot or Don't have a password?" found under the login button on the login page and request a password for your email address (which is also your user account).
You will receive an email within a few minutes with a link that you click to enter a password. Once done, you are logged in and can proceed.

If you have not previously registered or want to change your email, you may want to create a new user account to another email address, then choose "Create Account" and fill in the information.
If you for some reason have changed your mind, just make another survey and it will replace the previous one.

Background

A city-owned and operated internet service provider that was overwhelmingly approved by local voters. The Waterloo Municipal Communications Utility (MCU) was established in 2005 by the voters of Waterloo. The vision of the voters was to deploy a locally owned, controlled and operated telecommunications utility and ubiquitous fiber-optic network – Waterloo Fiber – to connect every home, business and institution in Waterloo, modeled off the experience of neighboring Cedar Falls Utilities. Waterloo Fiber is making sure everyone will have the opportunity to access fast, reliable internet at their homes and businesses. While the Board of Trustees had studied broadband and fiber-optic services for many years, in 2020/2021 given the increased need for internet service during the COVID-19 shutdown and the need for broadband improvements, the City of Waterloo and the Waterloo MCU decided to move forward with a city-wide buildout. This buildout is supported by federal and state funding, as well as local funding passed by the voters again in 2022 when they approved a GO BOND referendum supporting the project’s deployment. The city is also deploying a fiber-optic backbone to connect every city site, facility and important public space, as well as supporting numerous third-party community partners, such as Waterloo WaterWorks, Mid-American and Waterloo Schools.
Waterloo’s fiber-optic broadband project is structured as two sub projects. Project One is construction of a fiber backbone to support the city’s municipal operations; including utilities, traffic, public safety and future smart city initiatives that use information and communication technologies to increase operational efficiency. Project Two is the build out and delivery of next-generation fiber-to-the-home/premise (FTTH/FTTP) services, enabling high-speed internet access to every home and business throughout Waterloo.
Waterloo will begin building out the network beginning in Q2 2023. The entire project is expected to take three years.
NO! Waterloo Fiber will be available phase by phase beginning in 2024. There will be fiber broadband in the area from competitors, but you will not receive the benefits from it that you will experience by being a Waterloo Fiber customer. Our customers will be able to select the fastest fiber internet speeds in the area at competitive prices. Additionally, we are local. The Waterloo Fiber team lives in the community we serve, while our leadership does as well, meaning you are getting the same first-class products and services that our own team uses. Keep in mind, the dollars invested in Waterloo Fiber stay in the community since we are the community we serve. If it doesn’t say Waterloo Fiber Internet, it’s not us! Make sure you look for our Orange W!
The high-speed service will offer locally-based customer service at an affordable rate. Waterloo’s FTTH (Fiber To The Home) service will be reliable, affordable and backed by your local, trusted utility, and the City of Waterloo. First and foremost, we are accountable to our community instead of corporate shareholders so you will receive more responsive service and local control. Subscribers’ money stays in the community, paving the way for future technological and community enhancements that will strengthen Waterloo’s quality of life and its economic development potential.
The residents spoke, and we listened! About 10 years ago, voters approved our municipal utility to provide internet service. After addressing various factors, voters approved funding for the project in 2021, and now we are ready! Bringing this network to fruition will provide a level playing field for everyone in our community to have access to high-speed, secure internet service.
Funding for the Waterloo Fiber project will come from various sources, including utility revenue bonds, the federal American Rescue Plan, a federal grant provided by the U.S. Economic Development Administration, along with a GO Bond that was approved in a 2022 referendum by Waterloo voters. City departments, including Waterloo Water Works, and other utilities also are funding portions of the project.
The fiber backbone is benefiting city offices and services, while the FTTH/FTTP portion of the network will provide fiber internet access to residential and commercial business areas.

The Technology

Fiber optics are flexible strands of glass that transmit light signals to carry data. This results in faster internet speeds and greater reliability then traditional copper transmission lines. Most internet service providers use some fiber in their systems but use copper lines for the final connections to residences and businesses. This results in slower speeds. A fiber-to-the-home/premise (FTTH/FTTP) system delivers the same high speeds throughout the network to the home or business.
Fiber-optic networks send and receive high amounts of data extremely fast. They also are more reliable – less susceptible to interference and damage from lightning and other acts of nature and natural disasters.
Broadband is a high-speed, high-capacity transmission method. It commonly refers to high-speed internet access. Broadband fiber-optic networks deliver data, voice and video services over the internet.

Benefits

Service providers might tell you they have fiber networks, but they might be using fiber and copper. Fiber might be the backbone of the network, but copper lines will be the last portion going to your home. Copper networks are old technology built to carry voice (phone) and video (one-way). They cannot handle the demands of data-driven applications that everyone uses in their daily lives. Fiber networks are futureproof because they have an almost unlimited ability to support transporting huge amounts of bandwidth over long distances. Waterloo Fiber will provide an all-fiber network to your home or business.
Overall, fiber broadband is better for data transmission than traditional copper lines. When considering the installation of a fiber network, benefits include:

Speed - Residential speeds of fiber broadband service customarily go up to 100 Mbps, enabling better video streaming for example. For a business, the faster speeds from fiber broadband can increase productivity as employees no longer spend time waiting for large files and videos to upload and download, enabling them to address more business opportunities in a shorter amount of time.

Bandwidth - Bandwidth availability – the maximum amount of data transmitted over an internet connection in a given amount of time – is significantly higher on a fiber-optic network, and the speed does not decrease when network demand is high. This enables more people – in both residential and business environments – to use the network simultaneously without seeing degradation in the service.

Reliability - Fiber-optic networks are stronger than copper transmission lines and not as susceptible to inclement weather or natural disasters. They are resistant to human or electrical interference unless the fibers are physically cut.

Signal Strength - The signal strength over fiber optics does not degrade as quickly as it does via DSL, Ethernet or copper cable. This is extremely beneficial in large spaces, such as offices, where equipment is located throughout a large area.

Symmetric Speed – equal upload and download times on an internet connection – can result in improved productivity for businesses as multiple people connect and transfer data simultaneously.

Latency - Fiber optics eliminates latency issues – the delays that occur while processing data over an internet connection. This translates into better voice quality via VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) for phone calls and video calls; the ability to move more data to the cloud; downloads and uploads of huge files without interruption; and improved collaboration between parties.

Security - Since fiber-optic communication is done by sending data as pulses of light across thin strands of glass. In addition to moving data more rapidly as speeds approaching the speed of light, it makes data signals much hard for hackers to intercept.

Cost Savings - Faster internet increases productivity and reduces downtime, and that leads to cost savings for businesses.

Getting Service from Waterloo

Providing city-owned fiber broadband internet service creates competition with the other service providers in the area, improves municipal services – such as better utility monitoring – and helps keep costs down for reliable high-speed internet. Having a city-owned broadband network will give more communities access to this advanced technology. The city sees it as in important asset for economic development, driving more growth and job opportunities throughout the coverage area.
Waterloo’s FTTH service will be reliable, affordable and backed by your local, trusted utility. First and foremost, we are accountable to our community instead of corporate shareholders so you will receive more responsive service and local control. Subscribers’ money stays in the community, paving the way for future technological and community enhancements that will strengthen Waterloo and its economic development.
All neighborhoods in Waterloo will have equal access to the high-speed, unlike some internet service providers that only provide coverage in certain areas.

Construction Process

Network construction timelines vary based on numerous factors, including number of route miles to be built, number of premises targeted for connection and general deployment. Waterloo Fiber will provide information and updates to residents as the construction period for their area nears and throughout the process.
The construction process is broken down into approximately 5 stages.

The first is when construction crews are ready. At this time you'll receive a door tag on your door explaining they will be working in that area. They are responsible for calling in locates which are markings highlighting any utilities in their construction path - this helps prevent any damage to other utilities. Each company is responsible for marking their own lines. Also note that if you have sprinkler systems, invisible fences, or other underground items to please mark those or let us know immediately.

Next you will see construction crews out placing handholes on top of the ground above where they will be placed underground. The crews will dig down by hand, usually to the depth of 42". They then line up their directional drills at one end of a conduit path and begin to drill to the exact depth and path according to the maps created by our engineering consultants. Construction crews then track the head of the drill to make sure it's following the intended path, while continuously monitoring the depth and distance within the right of way. If an underground utility is in the path of our pipe, then our construction crews will expose the utility and measure its depth to make sure the drill will not intercept that utility. Once the drill has reached the end of the path, crews will attach the conduit to the drill head and pull back on the directional drill which then installs the conduit into the ground. Once all the conduit is in place the crew installs the hand holes in the previously dug holes, pack down the crushed gravel for a firm base and drainage, level and complete the restoration around it. This is typically done in your front yard easement. Depending on the size of the area this could take 1-2 days.

After the conduit crews are down, the next step is to pull the fiber through the conduit. The fiber is installed in one piece without cutting to minimize the signal loss and points of failure. The fiber is laid on the ground to prevent twist in the cable as it's being blown through the conduit.

The next step is splicing. This is the process of joining two or more fiber optic cables together to create a continuous path for data transmission. In this case they're splicing the fiber to go to each home.

The final step is yard restoration. This could be several days from the time you saw construction crews, but rest assured our crews will make sure everything is put back into place, the hand holes will be bolted down, and you'll be good to go! This means you're that much closer to getting notified that services are ready, and you can sign up to get fast, reliable, affordable fiber internet! Go to www.waterloofiber.com to make sure you're pre-signed up and get automatic updates for your specific area.
Construction can be disruptive, but the Waterloo Fiber team is working to make the entire process as smooth as possible for all involved. You will be notified ahead of time when construction is scheduled to begin. Additionally, our teams will do everything possible to be minimally invasive on your property and will clean up after construction and leave your neighborhood and lawn as close as possible to its pre-construction state. If at any time you have a question or concern, please call us.

Drop Bury Process

As a future user, you can expect a site survey on your property that will consist of determining the fiber drop route and where to enter the building.  A Waterloo Fiber affiliate will white line and flag the route and submit 811 locates before starting the drop bury process. You will need to show and inform the site survey technician any private underground utilities or obstacles and locate if possible. You will not need to be there when the fiber line is buried but you can if you choose to. You should also water your lawn after the line is buried so the grass can recover quickly and the ground can settle.
The duration of the fiber internet drop bury process depends on various factors such as the distance the fiber needs to be buried, the complexity of the route, and any issues that may arise during installation. However, the typical drop bury process can take anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days to complete.
There are several factors that can delay the burial process, including inclement weather, unexpected utility lines, holidays, or regulatory delays.
During the fiber internet drop bury process, service providers work to ensure that the installation does not cause any damage to the property; however, it's important for property owners to communicate any concerns they may have prior to the start of installation. For example: dog fences, irrigation systems, drainage tile, and any other private underground utilities should all be communicated.
You need to mark your private utilities because our crews might not be aware of their presence. It will also help prevent accidents or damages during the drop bury process.
If you forget to mark your private utilities, you might be held responsible for any damages or accidents that occur during the process.
You need to water your lawn after the line is buried to help the soil settle and prevent any damage or shifting that might occur.
Easement laws allow companies or individuals to use a portion of another person's property for a specific purpose, such as burying a fiber line. The property owner still owns the land but must allow the company or individual access for the specific purpose outlined in the easement.

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