What is SPARC
SPARC is the advertising name of North East Fiber, LLC, the telecommunications subsidiary of North East MS EPA (NEMEPA), offering all-fiber internet and telephone services to members within NEMEPA’s service territory.
Why are you doing this?
By connecting our substations and office with fiber optic cable, we will create a truly smart grid that will provide us with more automation capabilities, ultimately increasing the reliability of our electric service to members.
This endeavor also falls in line with our mission to power communities and empower members. Broadband is the electricity of the 1930s and 1940s. Remember, in 1930, fewer than 10% of farms had access to electricity. Much like we did with electricity in 1938, we’re going to provide real, affordable broadband to our members.
What does this mean for the electric cooperative?
North East Fiber, LLC — SPARC is a wholly owned subsidiary of NEMEPA. It is a separate company, and therefore managed separately from the cooperative. SPARC was created to benefit the membership, the cooperative organization and the electric grid. Its purpose is to provide a truly smart electrical grid, offer true broadband to members and improve communication services in the region.
Will my electric rates go up?
Electric rates will not be going up because of the fiber deployment. NEMEPA will own the fiber and be able to utilize the fiber for its own electric grid communications and management. NEMEPA and SPARC are two separate organizations, and all costs and revenues will be separated appropriately. NEMEPA will cover all the costs of fiber through revenues received. SPARC will be a self-sufficient company.
What is fiber, and what’s so special about it?
Fiber optic systems use bursts of light sent through thin glass fibers to transmit information, resulting in much faster speeds than traditional copper lines. Most internet providers use fiber in their systems, but use copper lines for the final connection to the home, resulting in slower speeds. SPARC will bring fiber all the way into your home, giving you access to download and upload speeds up to 1 gigabit.
Internet Service FAQs
How much does it cost?
Internet service is $54.95 per month for 100 Mbps (upload, download) and $74.95 per month for 1 Gbps (upload, download). Both services include managed Wi-Fi. There are no other fees or taxes for internet service.
What is managed wireless?
Managed Wi-Fi enables SPARC personnel to quickly and easily set up, maintain and manage your wireless network, including troubleshooting, updates and security. It also includes free phone support, free on-site support, warranty and replacement and comes with a smart home app that allows the customer to view their download and upload speeds.
What equipment is required? How much does the equipment cost?
You are not required to provide any equipment for internet service, and there is no fee for the equipment. Managed wireless, which uses an Optical Network Terminal for a wireless router, is included with the service.
Are there any data caps?
No. Use as much data as you want with no caps or throttling.
Can I use my own equipment?
You must use the ONT as the modem, but you can use a different wireless router if you prefer. The managed Wi-Fi services, free phone support and free on-site support would no longer be included if the SPARC-provided wireless router is not used.
What happens if the equipment is damaged?
Physical damage will be charged to the subscriber. Malfunctioning equipment will be replaced by SPARC at no charge.
Do I have to return the equipment if I cancel service?
Yes. You are responsible for returning the equipment in good condition to our office.
Will you sell my browsing information?
No. We will never sell your information to third parties.
Will I get an SPARC email address?
SPARC does not provide email service. If you need a new email address, we recommend creating an account with one of the many high-quality free email providers.
Who can get SPARC?
We are currently in the Engineering & Design phase of the project. You can preregister for service at www.nesparc.com. Once construction has begun in your area, someone will notify you within two months of service availability so you can complete the registration process.
How do you decide who can get service first?
In order to achieve maximum security, pricing and reliability, connectivity to internet distribution hubs will route through our main office.
In deciding the phases of construction, we will consider density, total cost, cost per home or business passed, the number of potential subscribers, cooperative communication needs and revenue projections. The project must be financially viable in order to succeed.
How do I sign up?
Go to www.nesparc.com and enter your name, address, and ZIP code to get started. If you are within NEMEPA’s service territory you can preregister for service.
Can I call in to sign up?
Not at this time. You may either sign up at www.nesparc.com or come by our office.
How long will it take for service to be available to all members?
Approximately 40 months.
What if I’m not an NEMEPA member?
We plan to offer SPARC to all NEMEPA members before we consider whether to expand outside the NEMEPA coverage area. You can go to www.nesparc.com and register for information even if you are not an NEMEPA member. We will use this information to gauge interest outside our service territory.
How do I get NEMEPA if I’m a renter?
You’ll need permission from your landlord to have the installation performed.
Once I’ve signed up, when and how will you contact me to select a package?
Once you’ve signed up and construction is close to completion in your area, we’ll get in touch by email or a phone call to set up your services.
Are there any package discounts being offered?
Not at this time.
Is this a promotional price?
No! Our great prices are full price from the start, so you don’t have to worry about prices skyrocketing after a promotional period is up.
Are prices going to go up?
Prices may potentially increase due to increases in wholesale or other unforeseen cost increases that may arise. However, SPARC does not intend on having promotional or introductory pricing structures that increase after a set amount of time. Any increases would be made for all subscribers.
Do I have to pay taxes?
Internet service is untaxed. Telephone service is subject to standard taxes and fees, which vary based on your location.
How do I schedule installation?
Once you have signed up for service, we will contact you to schedule a date for installation.
Can I schedule a time for installation?
You can choose either a.m. or p.m.
Do I have to be home for installation?
Yes, you must be home for installation to verify your selections and choose where to place the equipment.
Will somebody come inside my house?
Yes, the installer will enter your home to install the fiber optic cable and necessary equipment.
I’m building a house. What should I do to make sure it’s ready for SPARC?
It’s best to run Cat-5E or Cat-6 twisted pair wire anywhere there might be a TV, phone, computer or router. We recommend running the cabling to a central hub, preferably in the middle of the house. Make sure not to run Cat-5 next to electric wire or over any electric lights — it’s not shielded, so it’s vulnerable to interference.
If you establish a central hub, we suggest stubbing a ½” piece of conduit outside near the electric meter, running flex conduit from there to the hub. When we install SPARC service, we’ll run fiber through the conduit, or give you fiber to run yourself.
Do I have to sign a contract?
When will I be billed for my service?
All billing will begin for SPARC services once installation is completed and all service options provided have been turned on. All services are billed ahead. This means that if you receive a bill in March, it will be for services in April.
Will my bills for electric and fiber be together or separate?
No. SPARC bills will be managed separately.
Is there a late fee if I don’t pay on time?
Yes, a late fee will be assessed on the account if the payment is not made on the original due date.
How much will the project cost?
The investment in the region will be about $45-50 million.
Phone Service FAQs
How much does phone service cost?
When combined with internet service the phone service is $24.95 per month plus standard phone taxes. Unlike many other phone providers, we do not charge any fees that aren’t mandated. Phone only service (no internet) is $49.95 per month.
Do you have any international plans?
The details for international calling have not been finalized.
Can I have multiple lines?
Can I keep my phone number?
You will be able to keep your phone number in most cases.
Will you offer home security?
We don’t currently offer home security but may in the future if there is enough demand.
What kind of economic development will there be? Will this create any new jobs?
It is too early to speculate how much of an economic development impact this will have for our area. We do know that competition is good for consumers. This region has been plagued with either a lack of true broadband availability or a lack of reliable and affordable service. This project will bring real broadband to some area residents and businesses for the first time.