The COVID-19 pandemic has made it clear that access to broadband is essential. But in rural, geographically isolated Jefferson County, broadband internet is only available in a handful of areas. Thousands of residents in the rural areas between Chimacum and Coyle lack access to high speed internet.
The PUD is putting together a plan to apply for $13M in federal funding through the ReConnect grant program to build fiber in this area. If awarded funding, construction could begin as soon as 2023. Over 1000 homes and businesses would be connected. Areas already served by fiber or cable services providing speeds over 100mbps would be excluded.
PUD fiber will offer minimum speeds of 100mbps upload and download, with gig or higher speeds also available. Fiber also means almost zero lag or latency in service, unlike satellite. Monthly cost for service is likely to begin at $65/mo before taxes. Low-income rates will be available. Voice over internet phone service will also be available. Although the PUD plans to be an internet service provider for connections built in this area, PUD fiber is “open access.” That means connected residents will have the option to choose a different service provider if available.