By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News
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But exactly when homes and businesses can enjoy the speedier service is still uncertain, according to a speaker at the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce meeting Monday.
About 70 people attended the luncheon, which featured Jefferson County Public Utility District Resource Director Bill Graham,
“If you want service, you will need to contact some of these people,” Graham said indicating a list of companies that included Wave Broadband and Comcast.
“They will be the ones to supply last-mile service.”
Graham said the service in some parts of Jefferson County is “of diminishing quality” and that available broadband would create a competitive environment resulting in connected rural areas.
The step scheduled for completion by the end of August is to bring the service to more than 70 “anchor institutions,” from which service can be routed to private homes and businesses.
The anchor institutions, which include schools, health care facilities and public buildings, will pay wholesale prices for the bandwidth, and the consumer cost will be in line with current levels, Graham said.
“High bandwidth will be critical for advanced medical services,” Graham said,
“We’ve heard of stories where a guy with critical injuries was airlifted to Harborview [Medical Center in Seattle], and he made it faster than his medical file.
“That’s inexcusable, especially with the medical technology we have.”
The level of service required by government agencies will now be available to them, Graham said.
The rest of the population will see a difference, although not immediately.
“On the lighter side, WiFi is coming to public locations such as parks, although there is a question as to whether it will be free,” Graham said.
The PUD is working with NoaNet, Northwest Open Access Network, a statewide broadband consortium, in building the network.
It currently is laying optical fiber and, in some cases, stringing wire above-ground.
The grant money for the laying of the fiber covers the $2.8 million cost but will need to be returned if it’s not finished by the end of August, although an extension could be requested, Graham said.
“The consumer still needs a last-mile solution,” Graham said.
“But we should be at the anchor institutions between now and the end of August.”
Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.