Alford has some broadband service, but we are still lacking complete coverage. Thanks to the residents who kindly participated in this year’s Alford Broadband Survey, I can give you a more accurate representation of the internet services that are currently available to our residents. I will discuss residential services from fastest to slowest, and will note the availability of each…
Also known as fiber-optic, this is the fastest form of internet service available. (Some people incorrectly refer to it as FiOS, which in fact is a specific form of fiber-optic service offered only by Verizon in certain metro areas.) Fiber is not currently available in Alford, but the Alford Broadband Committee is working on it.
Alford does not have Cable internet or television service. Once fiber has been established, similar but faster services will be provided via fiber-optic cables in place of the older copper-based Cable technologies.
According to our 2012 Broadband Survey, there are 15 fortunate residences in Alford that get Verizon’s DSL service. This service is limited to Route 71 (a.k.a. Green River Valley Rd), and offers sparse availability to Crooked Hill Rd, Dellea Rd, Green River Rd, Riverside Farm Rd, and Whites Hill Rd. This DSL service overflows from North Egremont, and is not technically hosted in Alford. Verizon has no plans of propagating or expanding DSL service in our town.
WiSpring is a line-of-sight wireless internet service (a.k.a. WISP). Our Broadband Committee worked hard to help establish tower placements for this service in Alford over five years ago. The connection speeds for this service are similar to DSL, and the installation process is similar to that of satellite internet, but it is not slow or weather-dependent like satellite internet. This service covers approximately 85% of Alford. From the Broadband Survey, it appears that some residents on the northern ends of East Rd and West Rd (and a few others) lack the line-of-sight to currently get this service.
Verizon is the primary cellular provider for our state, but Alford does not host any cell towers. We generally get a “skip signal” from surrounding towns which tends to be unreliable. Residents at higher elevations may be able to get consistent cellular service from other towns, the best way to test consistency in your own home is with a regular cell phone. If you get consistent cellular phone service, you could get Verizon Wireless internet service for your residence. They have mobile hotspots for multiple computers, USB modems for single computer connections, and other home services. Other cellular internet providers may work on Verizon’s towers as well.
Satellite internet was the primary high-speed internet service in Alford before the arrival of WiSpring. Satellite internet is offered by HughesNet and ViaSat (who bought out WildBlue). It is of course weather-dependent, and signal is regularly lost in inclement weather conditions. Also, satellite internet is regarded by some to not be true high-speed internet service due to its long “ping delays” (a.k.a. data packet latencies) which prevents it from being used for effective audio and video streaming, gaming, etc. However, satellite internet may be your only option if you cannot get WiSpring or other services in Alford from your residence. Note that residents along West Rd in Alford, as well as other parts of town, have difficulty getting satellite service, as it requires a clear view of the southwestern sky from any given residence.
There are local and national dial-up providers, too many to bother listing here, and they can often be found in the local yellow pages. Dial-up is of course the slowest and most obsolete form of internet service, but is obviously available throughout 100% of Alford to anyone who has a regular old copper phone line from Verizon telephone.
Last But Not Least… Experience The Town Hall Hot Spot
For those of you who cannot get any high-speed internet service in your home, the Alford Town Hall has a free Wifi Hot Spot, which anyone can access with a wireless laptop, netbook, tablet, Wifi-capable phone and other Wifi devices. This hot spot is powered by WiSpring, and offers a convenient public internet location so that you don’t have to drive all the way into neighboring towns to get quick, free internet access.
Sincerely, Arthur Dellea
Alford Broadband Representative