Frequently Asked Questions
Get to know Tri-Co Connections, and understand our services better. Click on a topic below to expand the Q & As.
About Tri-Co Connections & Our Services
Tri-Co Connections is an LLC of Tri-County Rural Electric Cooperative. We have been serving our members with quality service and integrity for over 83 years. The same local company that has been your trusted utility partner will now deliver cutting edge fiber-to-the-home technology, unlimited local and long-distance phone service, streaming video service options and home security.
This means that we will provide state of the art Internet delivery over optical fiber — directly from our switching equipment all the way to your home or business. This fiber delivery system supports and allows for a multitude of services including the fastest Internet possible with speeds of up to 1 Gig.
Our first approximately 100 miles of fiber lines will be in the townships surrounding Coudersport in Potter County, as well as a fiber ring, or backbone, that will connect all of our Tri-County substations and offices. We will be reaching out, in advance, to each Member who will be able to receive our services to notify them when service is available.
For the first time, members in many areas of our service territory will be able to have access to high-speed Internet at competitive prices. High-speed connectivity provides many benefits, including:
• Fastest download and upload speeds
• Multiple household users enjoying the Internet simultaneously
• Easy access to streaming movies, television and events through the Internet
• Playing advanced video games online
• Ability for telecommuting, distance learning, and telemedicine
We provide High-Speed Fiber-Optic Internet. We offer two different speeds, 100 Mbps and 1000 Mbps ( which is 1 Gigabit). 100 Mbps will allow multiple devices to be used at the same time. Our service is Symmetrical (100 Mbps down and 100 Mbps up) which means that the information will come into your devices and leave at the same speed.
No. If you are a member, you will need to sign an application for service that allows us to run the Fiber to your home. You will also need to agree to an internet services agreement as part of the application. We are a month-to-month based service.
What if I rent?
We will need to get a signed permission form from the owner of the home or building.
This fiber Internet connection is 100x times faster than today’s average broadband service: 1 Gig = 1,000 Mbps
• Download 100 photos in 3 seconds
• Download 100 songs in 3 seconds
• Download an HD movie in 7 seconds
Our phone service will work the same as your existing service. Before installation, we will port your phone number to Tri-Co Connections or get you a new one. During installation we will connect our equipment to your existing phone or in-home wiring and you will be up and running. An 8-hour or 24-hour battery backup can be purchased for continued voice services during power outages.
We have partnered with Doyle Security who offers Honeywell Security products, paired with our high-speed fiber-optics internet you will be able to have top of the line home security systems. For more information about equipment, pricing and benefits, call 833-461-6591 and tell them you are a Tri-County Rural Electric customer.
Although we will not be offering a video product, with Tri-Co Connections High-Speed Internet, you can stream your favorite content through a wide variety of services at a fraction the cost of traditional cable!
We recommend YouTube TV as a great option for you to look into.
YouTube TV is an online streaming service that allows you to watch live television on computers, tv’s, phones and other devices. It requires a high-speed internet connection (which we will be offering.) It also offers local channels.
A YouTube TV subscription would be billed to you directly by YouTube TV.
If you have a compatible Smart TV, you can watch YouTube TV on your television once you have a subscription.
If you do not have a smart TV, there are multiple devices that allow you to utilize a normal TV. YouTube TV works with streaming media players including Google Chromecast, AppleTV, Roku and Amazon firestick.
Installation Q & A
Once service is active in your neighborhood, we will be calling our members to schedule a day to run the fiber line from the electric pole to your home. We will then schedule a day and time slot to have an installer run fiber from outside to inside the house, and get your router set up to deliver wi-fi to the home.
For the inside portion of the installation, the owner or designated representative aged 18 or older must be present to allow us onto the property and into the residence. The owner or designated party should know where they want the router to be located, or we can recommend the best location for maximum results.
Installation can take anywhere from 1 hour to 2.5 hours, depending on the size of the house.
To a degree. We will need to locate it in an area that is in practical proximity to the pole and then have clean access into the home.
The fiber drop will be connected from the pole to an 8"x8" gray box (fiber transition housing) on the side of the house. From there a small fiber jumper will be run to the inside of the house and connected to the ONT (optical network terminal). This device will need to be installed near a power source.
The fiber will connect to the ONT within the home. The ONT is connected to the router by a Cat6 Ethernet cable. The router will be centrally located in the house for the best possible Wi-Fi coverage.
We prefer you do not. We would like our service to be up and running before you disconnect your existing service.
Yes, within reason. Our professional technician will suggest the best location to enable the router to provide the best wi-fi experience in your home.
Yes, we will be able to connect you through a buried fiber drop. However, there may be an additional charge for the installation.
Sales & Pre-Registration Q & A
We offer a month-to-month agreement. During our initial building phase, we will contact you to see if you’d like to sign up for service. You will be offered free standard installation at this time. However, if you choose to subscribe to our service after our initial building phase, we may be charging an installation cost. Also, Customers with longer than average drops could potentially see a construction charge.
Congratulations on pre-registering! Once we are ready to start installing services to you, a Tri-Co Connections representative will contact you with further information.
During signup you will be able to provide us with the SSID and passkey you would like to use for your in-home Wi-Fi. During installation our installer will provide you with the SSID and passkey and verify that it is working as expected. Any new device can be added by simply connecting to the specified SSID and entering the provided passkey into the device.
Yes, you can subscribe to our Whole Home Managed Wi-Fi Service to increase signal strength to low service areas throughout your home.
Mesh WiFi units communicate with each other to guarantee seamless handoff of the customer's device throughout the home and ensure the device is connecting to the best mesh unit at all times.
A wired device is physically connected via a cable to the wireless router or a switch in your home. Tri-Co Connections 844-E will provide 4 ports for devices requiring hard wired connections. A wireless device can be added with no cabling and simply requires the SSID and passkey that you have chosen to be entered into the device.
Accounts & Billing
No, you will receive a separate statement for your communication charges. Your bill will be sent to you as an electronic statement, but you can request a paper bill by contacting our office. The bill notification by email will prompt you to login to our portal (SmartHub) and pay your bill with either a debit card, credit card or checking account. You also have the option to print your billing statement and send your payment to us by mail.
You can print your statement from your SmartHub account.
When a payment is returned for non-payment, a fee of $35 will be charged.
Yes, a reconnect fee of $50 will be charged to have services reinstated.
If a bill is not paid by the due date listed on the statement, a penalty will be charged. The penalty will be applied on past due charges at the rate of 1.25%.
Currently, all bills will be prepared at the beginning of the month and due at least 20 days from the date of the invoice. If the due date falls on a weekend or holiday, the bill will be due the next business day.
You will see charges for the communication services, router charges, taxes and other miscellaneous items that you have signed up for.
- This 3 percent tax applies only to local service billed separately from long distance service.
- Taxes may be imposed by state, local, and municipal governments on goods and services, including phone service. These may appear as "gross receipts tax" or “sales tax” on your bill.
- All telecommunications service providers must contribute to the federal Universal Service Fund, which helps people in rural and high-cost areas, and income-eligible consumers, get access to telecommunications services at reasonable rates through programs and initiatives such as the Connect America Fund, Lifeline and the E-rate program for schools and libraries.
- A "Universal Service" line item may appear on your telephone bill when your service provider chooses to recover USF contributions from you, the customer. The FCC does not require this charge to be passed on to you, but service providers are allowed to do so. These charges usually appear as a percentage of your phone bill. Companies cannot collect an amount that exceeds the percentage of their own contributions to the USF. They also cannot collect any fees on services fully supported by the Lifeline program.
- 911 – To help local governments pay for emergency services such as fire and rescue.
- Local Number Portability – For keeping your current local telephone numbers when switching from one service provider to another at the same location. Fees may vary by company; some may not charge any fees. These fees are not taxes.
- Telecommunications Relay Service – To help pay for relay services that transmit and translate calls for people with hearing or speech disabilities.
- Directory Assistance – For placing 411 or (area code) 555-1212 directory assistance calls.
- Monthly Calling Plan Charge – For any monthly calling plan, such as unlimited long distance calling on your wireline bill or unlimited minutes on your wireless bill.
- Operator Assisted Calls – For calls connected by an operator. Rates for these calls generally are higher than rates for unassisted calls.
- International Toll Calls – For calls made outside of the continental United States.
- Features Charges – For services such as call forwarding, three-way calling, call waiting, voice mail and caller ID.
Fiber Optic Build
Not quite, there are multiple stages involved in this project and the lines are being built out rapidly. However, the speed at which we connect members is not as fast as we build the lines. If you have pre-registered, you will receive an email notifying you that service will be available in your area. If you have not pre-registered, we will be contacting you to see if you’d like the opportunity to be connected.
This fiber buildout consists of multiple phases. First, we run a wire strand which will stabilize the fiber and attach the fiber to the strand. Then, we splice the fiber to prepare for the run to the house. Since there are many parts to this process, you may see multiple crews working in the same area.
After the fiber is spliced and attached to our electric poles, we will run a line to your home from the pole. We will only run this drop to your home if you have subscribed to our service. The line will initially connect to a box outside your house. Then, our professional technicians will bring the line into the house and connect it to a router, which will provide wi-fi to your home.
General Information / Q & A
We had been hearing from our members about the lack of high-speed Internet in our area. As a cooperative, our mindset is always focused on what we can do to help our members. We knew that some other cooperatives had already begun building and offering fiber-to-the-home, so we knew it was possible. We then conducted a feasibility study to see if this was something we would be able to do for our members.
This project will include building out approximately 2,800 miles of fiber across 5,000 square miles to portion of Tri-County’s service area. Tri-County’s service area include portions of Potter, Tioga, Bradford, Lycoming, McKean, Clinton and Cameron counties.
Our goal is to provide broadband service to as much of Tri-County’s service area as is feasible. We will also have the ability to serve additional customers who are not members of the cooperative in areas where feasible.
• This is an approximately 6-year project that began in late 2019.
• The project began in Potter County due to funding received to assist in an approximately 110-mile fiber deployment to approximately 1,100 Tri-County members, both residential and business.
• First customers anticipated to be hooked up for service in 2020.
• Construction of the system began in November 2019. Engineering of the entire system is underway.
• After the first approximately 110 miles is complete, the project will proceed to connect the Tri-County electric backbone which will improve electric system communications, decrease outages and enhance safety for all Tri-County Rural Electric Cooperative members.
• The number of miles will vary from year to year as the project progresses.
No. Our internet venture, Tri-Co Connections, has been set up as a limited-liability company (LLC) owned solely by Tri-County Rural Electric Cooperative. Tri-Co Connections will be providing the internet and phone service.
We currently have six full-time employees dedicated to this project. We also have additional employees that spend a portion of their time on this project. This does not include contractors hired to design and construct the system. We expect there will be a significant number of contract workers who will be involved in the project, probably between 25 and 50, and we will encourage our contractors to utilize the local workforce as much as possible.
We own the poles that will be used to build the fiber network. We also have the trust of the membership; they know we are not going anywhere. We are invested in our local communities, and we view this need for broadband much as our founders viewed the need for electricity in the 1930s. Electric cooperatives seem to be best positioned to provide solutions for developing high-speed internet networks in our sparsely populated territories.
• Senior to Senior Program: Tri-County REC and Tri-Co Connections have partnered with the Potter County Education Council and local banks to develop a program that facilitates seniors in high school helping our area’s senior citizens in learning how to use a computer, better understand technology and learn how technology can enhance their lives, provide a better quality of life, reduce health care costs through the use of telehealth, and allow them more independence as they age. Tri-County and TCC hope to replicate this program in other areas of the fiber build throughout the life of the fiber project.
• Business Sustainability
• Capitalize on local talent
• Prevent Youth Out-Migration