Anacortes, Wash., to Break Ground on $12M in Fiber Projects

Two projects are set to extend the city’s fiber-optic network to homes and businesses beginning later this year.

by Julia-Grace Sanders, Skagit Valley Herald / August 29, 2018
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(TNS) — ANACORTES, Wash. — The city of Anacortes will begin construction on two fiber-optic projects in September — the extension of a fiber backbone to the western half of Fidalgo Island and the construction of a business and residential broadband distribution network in the downtown area.

The broadband distribution network construction set for September is the first of three phases and will reach about 200 residential and business customers from Second Street south to 19th and from O Avenue east to Commercial Avenue, city Public Works Director Fred Buckenmeyer said.

Once the broadband distribution network infrastructure is complete, it will have to be connected to the Internet, council member Ryan Walters said.

It will cost about $12 million to construct a broadband distribution network throughout the city, Walters said.

The first phase is being constructed with about $200,000 in grant money from the Port of Skagit, Buckenmeyer said, and will tentatively be completed by the end of the year.

The Anacortes City Council is considering allowing the city to offer broadband Internet on this network as a municipal service, but has not yet voted on whether to pursue that plan, Walters said.

If the council decides not to operate the in-house network, he said there’s the potential of leasing the distribution network to an outside company.

The city will also begin the last phase of construction for its telemetry project in September, which is intended to connect water and wastewater treatment plants, pump stations and other public buildings.

This phase will extend the fiber backbone to the west side of Fidalgo Island, where a few remaining fire, sewer and pump stations will be connected.

The telemetry project won’t distribute Internet but is used to transfer data between city buildings, Buckenmeyer said.

Previously, the city’s 23 sewer pump stations, four water pump stations and four water reservoirs were connected with radio wave-based telemetry.

The connection was line-of-sight and weather dependent, which Buckenmeyer said sometimes left the buildings unable to transmit data.

“Before, there were hours of the day when some of our waste water pumps weren’t able to communicate back to the plant,” he said.

Phase three of this project will cost about $1 million, Buckenmeyer said, and should be completed by the end of the year. The entire project cost $3 million.

©2018 the Skagit Valley Herald (Mount Vernon, Wash.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.