State Approves PUD Partner Request, 700+ Residents Respond

As the first step in a plan to increase broadband access to all under and unserved residents in Eastern Jefferson County, Jefferson PUD is partnering with the State of Washington Broadband Office (WSBO) on a grant from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA)to build out a fiber network to the communities of Quilcene, Discovery Bay, Gardiner, and portions of Chimacum.

Jefferson County PUD laid the groundwork for this project in 2020 by leasing access to the Bonneville Power Authority’s fiber trunk line running from Olympia to Port Angeles along the eastern flank of the Olympic National Park and Forest. In partnership with the state, we have applied for $12.6M in federal funding to connect the BPA fiber to over 1600 homes and businesses in the project area. Construction would begin in early 2022 if awarded.

As part of our grant request, the PUD put up an online survey and sent post cards to the residents in the project area asking for public support. Over 700 responded that they support the project!

PUD fiber when built 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.

More updates coming soon.

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