Vendor Switch Information

 

ShutesburyNETLogo

Our town-owned municipal broadband network was completed in 2019 and is currently used by over 90% of the households in Shutesbury. This makes our network one of the most successful networks in the state of Massachusetts!

Our Town’s Internet Service Provider contract with Crocker Communications is expiring this summer. Instead of renewing our contract with Crocker, we have decided to partner with SHELD (South Hadley Electric Light Department). 

This means that SHELD will be handling our billing, technical support, repairs, and network operations starting in late August. We are making the switch because as a neighboring municipality, SHELD simply can deliver more of what we need to run a stable, cost effective, reliable network. We are very grateful to Crocker Communications for all of their support up to this point.

Monthly costs for residents will not increase as a result of this switch. In fact, thanks to the great success of our townwide network costs will be going down by $15/mo. The switchover for all residents will happen on August 30th. Everyone must switch from Crocker to SHELD since SHELD will be our new townwide provider. 

Your broadband team is working hard to make this vendor switch as easy as possible for Shutesbury residents and if we do our job right, the change will be largely invisible to you. You don’t need to get new equipment or change your device passwords or change your phone number. We are confident that there will be no interruption in services at any time during the switch. 

 However, there are two things everyone will need to do because of this change: 

1) Set up new billing information and user agreement with ShutesburyNET/SHELD

**When it is time to set up your new billing information we will email you instructions to the email address on file with your account. This will come by the first week in September. You'll also receive a paper mailed bill in the beginning of September. Don't worry! We have a very long grace period during this transition so nobody's service will be shut off or penalized during the transition while everyone changes their billing.**

2) Set up your voice mail box again if you have landline service. Customers will be moved to the new service between October 19th and November 16th. You will receive an email about a week in advance notifying you of your switch date. You will also get an email the day before your switch to remind you to set up your voice mail.

 Please see the Frequently Asked Questions below for more information.

Customer Service:  855-415-7592

PHONE FEATURES MANUAL: ShutesburyNET Phone Guide

How do I set up my voicemail?

1.  Pick up phone handset and get a dial tone

2.  Press *333

3.  Wait for prompt to ask for your password.

4.  Enter the last four digits of your phone number as your password then press the # key

5.  Enter the last four digits of your phone number again and wait for prompt

6.  Create a new four-digit password following prompts

7.  Voicemail is now activated, and you may proceed with following prompts to create a greeting

8. Going forward dial *333 to access your voice mail

To access your voice mail remotely dial your own phone number, wait for the message greeting then press * and follow the prompts. If you'd like your phone messages to be sent to your email see directions below. If you get interrupted or make a mistake when setting up your voice mail, just hang up and start over.


 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS 

Do I have to switch? I really like Crocker Communications.

We like Crocker, too! However, this is a full town-wide switch. All customers who currently get their internet and phone services from Crocker Communications via ShutesburyNET must make the switch because this is a town-wide municipal network and Crocker will no longer be our contracted vendor to provide these services.

What will change and what will stay the same as a result of this switch?

ShutesburyNET will continue to be a town-owned municipal broadband network whose purpose is to deliver gigabit speed internet and phone to town residents. We’ll continue to own all of the infrastructure and partner with a local company to provide customer support, billing, tech support, maintenance and repairs and network operations. The company that provides this service is changing from Crocker Communications to the South Hadley Electric Light Department. 

You’ll have access to 24/7 technical support and with field technicians located just down the road in South Hadley, any outages or problems can be addressed quickly and reliably.

Your phone number, equipment, device passwords will all stay the same. No need to upgrade or change any of the broadband equipment in your home. 

Phone services will continue to include unlimited local and nationwide calling along with most standard phone functionality you are used to having. 

You can still choose to get auto-pay for your monthly bills or receive paper bills in the mail.

Monthly costs for residents who use ShutesburyNET will go down by about $15/mo. 

What am I going to have to do?

On August 30th all services will switch over from Crocker Communications to ShutesburyNET/SHELD. You will need to switch your billing information so you can be charged for monthly services after Crocker sends the last bill in August. Both paper billing and automatic online billing options are available. Residents who get telephone service from ShutesburyNET will need to set up a new voicemail box but the voicemail transition won't happen until later this fall. See more below.

How do I set up my new billing information? 

When it is time to set up your new billing information we will email you instructions to the email address on file with your account. This will come by the first week in September. You'll also receive a paper mailed bill in the beginning of September. Don't worry! We have a very long grace period during this transition so nobody's service will be shut off or penalized during the transition while everyone changes their billing. To set up your online billing account:

1) Open a web browser and go to www.sheld.org
2) Click on Manage Account Online and click Sign In in the upper right corner. 
3) Click Create Account. 
4) Enter your account number. Look to your paper bill sent in the mail if you don’t know your account number. 
Enter the last four digits of your phone number. 
This will likely be the phone number on file when you signed up for broadband initially with ShutesburyNET. 
Call Customer Service if you don’t know your account number and/or phone number.  
6) Follow the prompts and when you get the message that your account has been successfully created, 
you can log in at https://billpay.sheld.org/onlineportal. Bookmark this page for easy future visits. 
Here’s an instructional video on how to set up your account and overview of billing features: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07xUBVjYAOg

How do I set up my voicemail box after the switch? 

1.  Pick up phone handset and get a dial tone

2.  Press *333

3.  Wait for prompt to ask for your password.

4.  Enter the last four digits of your phone number as your password then press the # key

5.  Enter the last four digits of your phone number again and wait for prompt

6.  Create a new four-digit password following prompts

7.  Voicemail is now activated, and you may proceed with following prompts to create a greeting

8. Going forward dial *333 to access your voice mail

To access your voice mail remotely dial your own phone number, wait for the message greeting then press * and follow the prompts. See question below for sending your messages to email.

 

Tips for setting up your voicemail box: If you get interrupted or make a mistake when setting up your voice mail, just hang up and start over. During set up you will be prompted to record your name. The recording of your name will be inserted into an automated greeting will play for missed calls by default. If you prefer a personalized message, follow the prompts to create a full recorded greeting for missed calls.

 

How do I get my phone messages sent to my email? 

You can manage your phone features and services online. No need to call customer service (unless you want to!). From your Online Service Manager you can set up the option to forward your voice mails to email as well as other phone features such as the appearance of your name on Caller ID.

Go to fibersonic.myservicemanager.net. You will need your account number and telephone number to register. When setting up your phone account you should use Shutesbury's zip code (01072) even if you have an Amherst mailing address.

 

How do I use the phone features?

Download this guide that outlines all of your phone features. ShutesburyNET Phone Guide

If you'd like a printed copy sent to you, send your mailing address and request to broadband@shutesbury.org.

When will I get my last bill from Crocker Communications? 

Your last bill from Crocker Communications will be paid at the beginning of August for services through that month. You'll receive your first bill from the new vendor at the beginning of September. You do not have to close down your account with Crocker. You will stop being billed for services from them at the end of August.

Can I set up my new voicemail box now?

No, you won’t be able to set your new voicemail box until after your phone switch happens. Just keep using your phone and existing voicemail box as you always have until then.

What if I don’t set up my voicemail right away after the phone switch happens?

You will continue to get and place calls even if you have not set up your voicemail. However, you won’t be able to get voicemails until you set it up.

 

Why are local calls affected temporarily during my phone switch day and when will it resolve? 

Outgoing calls will not be affected and you will be able to contact emergency services at all times. However, incoming calls from other Shutesbury residents may not reach you for one single day. Here’s why: The process of moving phone numbers from one service carrier to another is regulated by the FCC (Federal Communications Commission). On the day of the switch our phone numbers get moved to SHELD, and Crocker will need to update their phone routing to ensure Shutesbury phone calls are routed through SHELD instead of through them. Only incoming local calls are affected “shutesbury to shutesbury” because of the way phone routing works. FCC rules dictate the former carriers have up to 24 hours to make this change but we are working with Crocker to make the change as fast as possible - much faster than if we were working with a national carrier. All this means that incoming local calls may not reach you for less than one day, but we are working to make that delay as short as possible. 

What if things go poorly or I can’t set up my voicemail or have some other problem as a result of the switch?

We are working very hard to make sure that the switch will be seamless and invisible to Shutesbury residents. On the 30th you should be able to keep using your internet and phone services in your home without noticing that anything has changed. But if you do have a problem we’re prepared! We will have additional customer support technicians available 24/7 via phone and email as well as in-person field technicians and customer support personnel in town for select hours in the days following the switch.

What if I have old voicemails that I want to save from Crocker’s system?

If you have old voicemails that you want to save you’ll have to record them on a personal recording device. Voice mails are not transferable. Unfortunately there is no way to save or store these messages as audio files on line. After the phone switch old voice mail recordings stored on Crocker's voice mail system will be removed. 

Will the tech support number change?

No, the number you call for tech support will stay the same at 855-415-7592.

 Why are you making this switch? Isn’t everything working well?

We’ve had a very successful initial three years of operations of our network and Crocker Communications has been a dedicated partner during that time. We’re not renewing our contract with Crocker Communications because the price, service and stability that can be offered by a neighboring municipal provider aligns better with our goals to deliver a cost-effective and reliable network to Shutesbury residents.

It’s great we can lower rates for everyone. But won’t they just go up again in the future?

We are able to lower rates for everyone by $15/mo for internet and phone service because of the high success of our town-owned network. The construction costs of our network were under-budget thanks to careful planning and additional state grants. In addition, over 90% of residents subscribe to ShutesburyNET services which was higher than we anticipated. This meant that in 2022 we were able to fully pay off a portion of the money we borrowed for construction costs. This reduced our annual operating budget by over $100,000. As a municipal utility, we can pass these savings directly on to you. Even with these lowered rates, we still continue to fund a very robust reserve fund and emergency fund to help maintain ratepayer stability over time. Rates likely will go up sometime in the future in small increments to match inflation and cost increases of running our network but we don’t currently expect any drastic changes. 

 What if I don’t get the emails, forget to switch my billing or I’m traveling for the next few months?

All ShutesburyNET customers need to set up new billing information but if we have trouble reaching you we’ll keep trying until we do! We’re building in at least a 60-day grace period in case we can’t reach you so that in case there’s a problem with setting up billing or you’re away, you won’t have your internet or phone services interrupted or turned off. We'll also attempt to reach you via phone and/or postal mail.

I get a Lifeline and/or ACP (Affordable Connectivity Program) discount on my monthly bills. How can I continue to receive these discounts? 

All of your benefits, if you get them currently, will be transferred and you will continue to receive them. You will need to sign some forms to get your benefits transferred. If you get ACP or Lifeline now, SHELD will be contacting you so you can continue to see the discount on your first bill in September. If you have question or problem about your Lifeline or ACP benefits please contact Kelly at 413-341-8947.

I currently have a Crocker email address. Will I be able to still get this service after the switch? 

Yes, if you had a Crocker email address before the ShutesburyNET was built or signed up for a Crocker email address during the last three years of operations, you will be able to keep your email address. Crocker Communications will charge a $54/yr fee to maintain this email for you. We hope the reduced monthly subscriber fees (saving $180/year) will offset this extra expense for those that choose to continue to use a Crocker email address. There are many free email services such as Gmail, AOL, Outlook, Yahoo and several others if you'd prefer not to pay an annual fee for an email address.

I have other questions or concerns not addressed on this page. Who can I contact?

If you have a question not answered here please contact Gayle Huntress, our MLP Broadband manager at broadband@shutesbury.org or by phone at 413-345-2855. Calls and emails will be returned within 2 business days.

 

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