Where is the PUD building fiber and how do I know if I am eligible?
Olympic Fiber Corridor
(Purple) Includes portions of Quilcene, Gardiner, Discovery Bay, Chimacum. Eligibility Rules: Grant covers all costs to build fiber to first 60% of homes and businesses in project area. Customers who sign-up after the 60% threshold has been met may have to pay a portion of the installation costs. Note: A limited number of homes in the project area are ineligible for no-cost installation due to federal funding rules. PUD staff will contact if your home is affected.
(Orange) Includes portions of Discovery Bay, Cape George, N. Hastings, Marrowstone, Woodland Hills. Eligibility Rules: Grant covers all costs to build fiber to first 60% of homes and businesses in project area. Customers who sign-up after the 60% threshold has been met may have to pay a portion of the installation costs.
East Discovery Bay
(Green) Includes parts of Hwy 20 and Anderson Lake Rd. Eligibility Rules: Grant covers all costs to build fiber to first 70% of homes and businesses in project area. Customers who sign-up after the 70% threshold has been met may have to pay a portion of the installation costs.
PT Business Fiber
(Red) Includes the Port Townsend Business District extending from Fort Worden to Glen Cove. Eligibility Rules: Businesses only, must be located within project boundary and have UBI to participate. $1200 installation cost, which can be paid in installments. Construction begins in early-2023.
Project Adjacent Areas
(Yellow) Homes or businesses immediately adjacent to project areas may be able to have fiber installed by paying a portion of the construction cost. More info coming soon, sign ups are open now.
SE Jefferson County
(Blue) Extends from Chimacum to Ludlow to Coyle. Project area is currently pending until funding is secure. It is not open for registration at this time. Construction is anticipated in 2024, if funded. Grant covers all costs to build fiber to first 65% of homes and businesses in project area. Customers who sign-up after the 65% threshold has been met may have to pay a portion of the installation costs.
What if I don't live in a funded project area?
The PUD's current priorities are to build fiber in or directly adjacent to grant or low-interest loan funded project areas. We are unable to install fiber to homes or businesses outside of designated project and zoned adjacent areas at this time. However, as we extend our network across the county, we may designate new grant project areas. We encourage customers to enter their addresses into the sign-up form.
What does it cost per month?
The PUD operates open access networks. That means that any qualified provider can offer services over the network. The PUD currently works with a handful of local service providers on our legacy wholesale network. A list of these providers is available here. Service can also be obtained directly from the PUD.
Service from the PUD: Home Internet services from the PUD start at $65/month for 150/150Mbps service and includes a 1Gbps Wifi router. We also offer an automatic $20 discount to customers enrolled in our low-income program. 1-Gig home service starts at $75/month. Additional speeds and packages are available.
Business Internet service starts at $100/month for 1/1Gbps speeds and includes a static IP address for PCI compliance and a 1Gbps Wifi router. More info in the Services tab at the top.
When can I get connected?
The PUD will begin construction on the Olympic Fiber Corridor in early-2023, other areas will follow in the months after. Monthly service is scheduled to begin in the summer of 2023 in some areas. All customers in eligible funded project areas will be connected by the end of 2024. We will provide updated timelines, including monthly construction and connection schedules, as our projects progress.
What's so great about fiber, anyway?
Fiber internet is approximately 100 times faster than average cable internet speeds. Fiber uniquely delivers the same speeds up and down. Why is that important? If you've ever had to turn off your video feed during a remote meeting or school session it was because your internet connection did not have enough bandwidth to UPLOAD your video. Most non-fiber internet technologies prioritize download speeds over upload speeds. Low upload speeds hinder participation in video conferencing for online meetings, remote learning, and telemedicine.
Though cable internet can provide download speeds up to 1Gbps, the technology is very limited in upload speeds (often 20Mbps or less). Cable networks are also designed to be oversubscribed. What does that mean? It means that multiple subscribers share a limited amount of data, and when everyone is using it at the same time, speed and performance degrades. If you paid for Gig or 250Mbps cable internet, but still found your service buffering when trying to watch a movie at 8pm, this is why.
Fiber is approximately 1000+ times faster that most DSL, which uses copper phone lines to transmit internet over the same connection. In rural Jefferson County many DSL customers cannot get download speeds greater than 10Mbps, and some struggle to get upload speeds of 1Mbps.
Satellite internet can provide broadband speeds, but suffers from lag times that make online meetings and online gaming difficult. Satellite and cellular connections also tend to cost more than wired service for the same amount of data and have serious limitations on coverage. Physical blocks, like mountains, trees, and buildings can negatively impact service greatly.
Why is the PUD getting into the internet business?
The COVID-19 pandemic made it clear that access to broadband internet is essential. But in rural, geographically isolated Jefferson County, quality high-speed internet has only been 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 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 at 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.