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Washington City Offers Free Fiber Hookups for Businesses

Burlington, Wash., is offering businesses free installation to connect to its high-speed fiber optic network after the city got a $250,000 economic development grant to help businesses cover fiber installation.

by Jacqueline Allison, Skagit Valley Herald / October 22, 2020

(TNS) — The city of Burlington, Wash., is offering businesses free installation to connect to its high-speed fiber optic network.

The city received a $250,000 economic development grant from Skagit County, Wash., to help businesses cover the costs of fiber installation.

To sign up for free installation, businesses must have a current city business license, have a physical location in Burlington and be located within 200 feet of the city's fiber internet backbone.

The grant will pay for the costs to bring the "final foot" of fiber from the city line to individual buildings, said City Administrator Greg Young.

The fiber will be run overhead or underground.

Fiber connections cost on average between $1,000 and $2,000, but can run up to $8,000, Young said.

Three internet service providers — Pogozone, CSS Communications and Allixo Technologies — are waiving a one-time installation fee to activate the fiber.

The city asks that businesses sign up for service with an internet service provider prior to fiber installation.

Young said the city hopes offering zero-cost fiber installation will have economic benefits.

"If there is any bright spot in the pandemic, I think businesses are realizing the value of high-speed fiber and the value it brings from a productivity standpoint," he said.

Soria Real Estate in downtown Burlington is interested in fiber for reliability, speed and consistency, said owner Amber Soria. She said the business currently has a contract with Comcast and has experienced higher fees each year.

"It's pretty amazing that (fiber) is running through our little town, it's kind of rare," she said.

The free fiber installation program began Monday. Young said the city's goal is to sign up at least 100 businesses.

Free installation is available for a limited time to qualified businesses.

(c)2020 the Skagit Valley Herald (Mount Vernon, Wash.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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