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Fiber to the Home FAQs

New, exciting opportunities are coming to Story City, Iowa. Discover what makes fiber optics a better option for internet, telephone and TV services and what it takes to get it to your home or business.

Understanding Fiber

What is fiber and why is it better than what I already have?
Fiber optic cables contain optical fiber, which are hair thin strands of glass specially designed to trap and transmit light signals. Unlike copper, optical fiber can carry data for great distances without signal loss or interference. Optical fiber can also transmit signals in both directions simultaneously – upload and download at extremely high speeds.

How will a fiber connection benefit me?
A fiber connection will provide you with access to virtually unlimited bandwidth capacity and internet speed, enabling you to enjoy a better experience with data-intensive applications such as video streaming, online gaming, cloud storage, online education, and more. Fiber also increases service reliability and stability. Stratford Mutual Telephone buries fiber optic cables to ensure that they will endure harsh environmental
factors such as sunlight, storms, ice, snow, and high winds. Our fiber is strong, weatherproof, and UV resistant.

In addition, having a fiber connection may increase the value of your home and increase the amount renters are willing to pay.

What services will I be able to choose with Fiber from Stratford Mutual Telephone?
SMTC offers internet, telephone, and TV over fiber optics.

  • Ultra-fast internet plans up to Gigabit Speeds
  • Reliable Telephone Services (You can keep your current number)
  • Crystal-clear TV lineups with HD, DVR, and Premium Channels available

How fast can internet speeds be for my home or business on a fiber connection?
A fiber connection can provide virtually unlimited internet speeds. We have fiber offerings up to 1 Gigabit. To put that in context, an internet speed of 1 Gigabit is equal to 1,000 Mbps. So if you currently have an internet plan with 20 Mbps – about the average for a US household – 1 Gigabit would be 50 times faster.

Sign Up, Fees, and Timeline

How and when do I sign up?
Sign up for Story City is available now! Install dates will be determined by construction activity, your location, and may be subject to a weather delay. However, calling early ensures that we get you on the schedule and complete the outside service work timely and at no cost to you! You can provide authorization by calling us at 515-838-2396, emailing us at or completing the form on this page.

What is the cost to sign up?
Sign up is absolutely free and there is no contract to sign. Contacting us early ensures that we don’t miss your address while our crews are in your neighborhood.

Are there additional fees?
No. If you contact us during the initial construction phase, there will be no charge for us to bring the service to your home or business. There is an installation fee for work inside the home. $99 for residential and $149 for small businesses, which can be paid up front or spread out over your first three payments.

If I rent, am I able to get fiber?
If you rent a house or apartment, we’d love to hear from you. However, we will need you to provide your property owner’s contact information so we can obtain authorization.

When will fiber be available to me?
Due to the possibility of weather delays, we cannot provide exact timelines, but we have an interactive map that will be updated as we progress. We would also encourage you to call us even if you live outside of the current project area. This will help us identify additional areas of interest.


Will the installation of fiber disturb my yard or property?
We do our best to leave your property in good condition, but some disruptions may occur. The majority of cables will be placed with a vibratory plow machine, which will put a temporary line in the yard. This is usually unnoticeable within a week. We will always work with property owners to ensure that we have restored the property back to its original condition. We have also made commitments to the city and county through the permitting process that we will restore any damage to their satisfaction.

Will there be any new equipment installed at my house?
No, not during the construction phase. During this phase, we plan to stop at the outside of the property where we will terminate the fiber in a gray enclosure that will be mounted to the side of the house. We will, however, install new equipment inside the home should you choose us as your service provider.

Do I need a modem with fiber internet service?
No, your fiber connection does not require a modem but we recommend a router with a firewall for security. The router provides a wireless connection (Wi-Fi) to your devices

What happens when my service is “switched over” to the fiber network?
Our goal is to switch customers over with minimal inconvenience. After the main line construction is finished, and you have contacted us to permission to proceed, our technicians will complete the connection of your home. At this time, the technicians will not disconnect or remove your current service feed or any inside wiring. Once all this is completed, a Stratford Mutual Telephone representative will contact you to confirm your service selections and coordinate a date for your conversion. Typically, on the day of installation, a customer will be without service for five to ten minutes while the actual cut-over takes place.

Do I have to switch to fiber, or can I keep the service I currently have?
Ultimately, we would love to earn your business. However, you are under no obligation to sign up for service with us. Even if you don’t have any immediate plans to switch providers, we would still encourage you to contact us with authorization to run the service to your property. During the initial construction phase, this is being offered at no charge to you. Should you decide to switch later, there may be a charge to do so. Contacting us now also ensures that there would no future delays and as previously mentioned, may actually increase the value of your property.


Will there be disruptions during construction?
As construction is happening, work may be disruptive. We understand that noise and constant construction activity are less than optimal, but we will attempt to minimize any disruption to residents and the community. We will also always work within the constructs of our permit.

There are flags and people in my yard, what are they doing?
The flags or marking in your area were placed by the local utilities companies and help our team identify where the lines are underground. When we begin fiber construction, we use these markings to protect against damage to your property or utilities.

How deep will you have to dig to bury the fiber line?
The main line in the easements and right of ways are normally buried at least three feet deep and the fiber drop to the house or vault may vary between 12 and 18 inches in depth.

What is a fiber drop?
A fiber drop connects a single fiber cable to larger cables from Stratford Mutual Telephone’s network, and then to the side of your home or building.

What is splicing?
Splicing is the process of joining two fiber optic cables together. Spicing consists of four basic steps:

  • Stripping the fiber – Removal of the protective polymer coating around optical fiber. The splicing process starts by preparing both ends, and making sure that all protective coating is removed or stripped from the ends of every fiber.
  • Cleaning the fiber – We clean the fibers to ensure we get good fusion between the pieces of glass
  • Splicing the fiber – We use a fusion splicing machine to align the two fiber ends. The glass ends are fused together using heat. This produces a continuous connection between the fibers
  • Testing the fiber to make sure everything is connected correctly