ABOUT PUD FIBER INTERNET SERVICE

    • The COVID-19 pandemic has made it clear that access to broadband internet is essential. But in rural, geographically isolated Jefferson County, quality high-speed internet is only available in a handful of more densely populated areas. Residents outside of these few areas lack access to internet that allows them to participate successfully in online meetings, remote schooling, and telemedicine. Some lack access to any internet at all, or try to make do with expensive and less reliable satellite or cellular connections.

      In order to facilitate access to high-speed, reliable, and affordable broadband internet for all residents in Eastern Jefferson County, the PUD has applied for and received multiple state and federal grants and loans. View the project areas below the FAQs to learn more about where the PUD is building fiber and providing service in the next few years.

    • The PUD will begin accepting registrations for fiber in grant funded areas this fall. Check back soon for sign up instructions. Construction will begin in early 2023.

    • GRANT PROJECT AREAS

      For most customers located in federal and state grant funded project areas, all costs to build fiber to the home and install the service are covered by the grant, including bringing the fiber optic cable to the outside of the home, and installation of the modem/router. Charges for monthly service still apply, and depend on the internet speed or package requested.

      However, to ensure that all of the costs of bringing fiber to a home or business within a project area are covered by the grant, eligible customers must sign up as soon as possible once registration is open. The registration window will remain open until construction is complete, and only the first 60%* will incur no cost for construction and installation. *70% threshold for customers in the East Discovery Bay project area.

      If demand in a project area is greater than 60%, any customers who sign up after the 60% threshold is met will be able to be connected during the project construction window, but may have to pay a portion of the construction cost. The same is true for customers whose homes or businesses are directly adjacent to grant funded areas. Construction connection costs for post- 60% registration and adjacent areas are currently under review.

      LOAN PROJECT AREAS

      Areas where construction is funded by a loan will be required to pay a construction charge. Currently our only loan funded project area is in Port Townsend. All business customers who wish to participate in the PT Business Fiber Project area will be charged $1200 to connect to fiber. There is no threshold for this project area.

      UNFUNDED AREAS

      Customers who do not live in or adjacent to eligible federal and state grant or loan funded areas currently have to pay the full cost of construction to receive a connection. Construction connection costs to non adjacent areas generally run from the thousands to tens of thousands of dollars.

    • Current rates for retail PUD fiber internet service:

      Customer Type150/150 Mbps1/1 Gbps3/3 Gbps
      Low-Income $45/mo$55/mo$155/mo
      Residential $65/mo$75/mo$175/mo
      Customer Type1/1 Gbps3/3 Gbps5/5 Gbps10/10 Gbps
      Business$100/mo$200/mo$500/mo$1,000/mo
    • The PUD’s fiber networks are open access, which means that any qualified internet service provider can use the network to provide internet service to a connected home or business. Currently, a handful of local internet service providers (ISPs), use PUD fiber to connect around 50 businesses in our county. Historically, large service providers like CenturyLink or Wave/Astound do not participate in open access networks, but they would have the option to take part if they chose to.

    • Current project areas were chosen because they lacked access to broadband internet speeds via a wireline connection and because they met the requirements of available funding opportunities.

      Depending on material availability and staff capacity, the PUD can build to areas adjacent to fiber already installed by the PUD, but  this is a secondary priority to building to grant or loan funded project areas.

      In the case of the PT Fiber business project, the impetus was a combination of existing fiber, available low interest loan funding, and demand from businesses.

    • In 2021, the Washington State Legislature passed laws that allowed PUDs to sell RETAIL internet service providers. Previously, PUDs could only sell WHOLESALE access, meaning they could build the fiber to the property, but another business had to come in and turn the internet on and send the bill and collect the payment. RETAIL means PUDs can build a fiber to a home or business and provide the internet service directly to the customer, the same way that it does for water and electric service. Providing RETAIL service means that customers will be guaranteed a an affordable, reliable, high speed service. It also greatly improves the PUD’s ability to recover the costs of building new fiber, especially in rural areas.

    • The PUD’s priority is building to areas that lack broadband speeds, or where strong funding opportunities exist. Because cable internet provides broadband speeds, and because grant opportunities for building fiber to areas already served by cable providers are very limited, the PUD is not prioritizing building to residential areas currently served with cable internet. While it is possible that the PUD could provide fiber service in areas where cable internet already exists, the customer would have to pay the full cost of installing the connection, generally thousands to tens of thousands of dollars.

    • Just because fiber is nearby, doesn’t mean its available. It could be that the fiber is being fully used, and no extra connections can be added. It could also be the case that though you may be able to see PUD fiber from your home or business, but the connection point (also know as the splice point) is blocks to miles away.

      The cost of connecting to splice points varies from a few hundred to tens of thousands of dollars depending on the distance and availability of excess fiber strands. In non- grant funded areas, this cost is currently paid for by the customer. If you are willing to pay the full construction cost, and capacity is available on the fiber line, it is possible the PUD could provide a connection. However, as our priorities are to connect unserved areas and business districts, those projects currently take precedence, and it may take some time before the PUD can address or complete a connection to a non-funded on non-priority area.

    • Optical fiber is a hair‐thin strand of glass that uses light instead of electricity to carry a signal. Optical fiber can carry high bandwidth signals over long distances with minimal to no signal loss, and it can provide those signals simultaneously in both directions. Optical fiber can carry a signal at speeds exceeding 100 Terabits per second over 1000 kilometers. The limiting factor to the speed of the transmission is generally the equipment at each end. The PUD will deploy an XGS PON (passive optical network) equipment in the project areas. This technology has the capacity to provide up to 10 Gigabit per second speeds up and down to any home or business in the network.

       

    • DSL uses copper lines to deliver internet service over the same network as traditional telephone service. While DSL is theoretically capable of delivering speeds that meet some definitions of broadband (25/3 Mbps), in Jefferson County, the average DSL customers struggles to get internet speeds of 10Mbps down 1Mbps up. Most DSL customers in our county have no other option for wired internet service and struggle to participate in online meetings where higher upload speeds are required.

      CABLE internet is delivered over the same copper based coaxial cable that provides cable TV. While cable internet can provide speeds up to 500Mbps down and 20Mbps up, cable internet services are built in what are known as “oversubscription models,” meaning the bandwidth of the signal is split between many customers at the same time. If too many use the service at the same time, the networks become congested, and available speeds per user are greatly reduced. Also, cable networks are designed for television and streaming downloads. Upload speeds over cable are significantly reduced, which when coupled with network congestion, can lead to difficulties participating in 2-way video technologies, such as online meetings, remote learning, telemedicine, or video calls with family during the holidays.

      FIBER internet delivers incredibly high speeds both up and down, and is the ideal choice for unimpeded access to all of the benefits of both today’s and tomorrow’s internet service. By installing a fiber to the home or business network, the PUD will provide eligible customers with the best possible internet service for many years to come.

    • The best way to learn more about the PUD’s fiber internet expansion plans is to email specific questions to broadband@jeffpud.org. Our broadband team will respond within one to two business days.

      You can also leave a voicemail for the PUD Broadband team by calling: (360) 379-5823. Again, team members should respond within 1-2 business days.

PUD Fiber Installation Project Areas

The PUD’s goal is to ensure everyone in Jefferson County has access to reliable, affordable, broadband internet.