About 8 Estacada area customers make the switch to fiber each month, company leaders say

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: RELIANCE CONNECTS - Workers from Reliance Connects are connecting many of areas of Estacada to fiber-optic internet this year.

This year, all areas within Estacada city limits will have access to fiber-optic internet.

Most areas in town already have accessibility, and Reliance Connects will soon bring that connectivity to the Tenth Street area, one of the last areas inside the city limits without the service.

The areas scheduled for fiber accessibility in 2018 include the Riverlake and Cadonau roads area; Coupland Road from Cemetary Road to Funny Farm Lane; Dowty and Folsom roads area; Bard, Tucker, Kinzy and Skinner roads; the Tracy road area; Sunview Lane; Moss Hill Road; Surface Road; the Springwater and Wallens roads area; Dubois Creek Road; Sweetwater Lane; the Tenth Street area and Milo McIver State Park.

"Our number-one goal is to get as much fiber to as many people as fast as we can," said Matt Day of Reliance Connects.

Fiber-optic connections can carry information significantly faster than the copper wiring found used with DSL Internet connections.

At Reliance Connects, fiber-optic speed ranges from 25-100 megabytes per second for downloading and 10-50 megabytes for uploading, compared to copper wiring 6-12 MPS download speeds and 1 MPS upload speed.

The approximate cost of bringing fiber to a home — which the company is absorbing — is $2,200.

Once a neighborhood is fiber ready, customers must opt to have their homes connected to the service. Of Reliance Connects' 4,000 internet customers, 1,000 have switched to fiber, and about eight customers make the switch each month.

Michele Jones of Reliance Connects thinks that number will likely increase.

"People are using more (devices) all the time, and sometimes they don't even realize that the need to go (to a higher speed)," she said.

When determining which internet speed will work best, leaders at Reliance Connects noted that it's important to consider the number of devices in your home that connect to the internet, such as smartphones, virtual assistants and gaming consoles.

"If a customer is upset with their speed, they might not realize how much internet they are using at one time," said Reliance Connects President Brenda Crosby. "It could be kids' laptops and iPhones, and they have three TVs and they're all watching Netflix at the same time. The more and more devices they use, the more speed they're going to have to have."

Additional areas tentatively on deck for fiber in 2019 include the Hillockburn and Morgan roads area; the Fall Creek Road area; Hayden Road; the power portion of Currin Creek Road; and Eagle Creek Road near Duus Road.

Along with equipping additional sections of the Estacada area with fiber, in 2018 Reliance Connects also plans to roll out a new service for customers who are having difficulty with wireless internet and backup networks to ensure that customers do not lose connectivity.

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