The City Council appears to be poised to take the first step in constructing a high-speed fiber optical Internet network for the city.
A new network could offer Internet speeds far in excess of what’s available today in Anacortes, according to two consultants who met with the City Council earlier this week.
The Council was told by Bruce McDougall, an Anacortes resident, that the city could and should develop a fiber optical network that would connect to all 6,600 buildings, both residential and business, in the city. And, he said the could develop it and run it much as it currently runs the city’s water utility.
The Council also heard from Goeff Thumma, Business Development Manager for OFS of Norcross, Ga., that his company would design a fiber optical network for Anacortes for $5.00 per building, with a maximum contract price of $35,000.
The contract, he said, would result in a “giant detailed fiber map, block-by-block,” showing where to run fibre lines and where to place access points.
He and McDougall pointed to a small town, Sandy, Ore., which has done just what Anacortes is looking at doing. They have built out a network that runs high-speed fiber past every door in the town of around 10,000 people. And, with a price of $40 for 100 Mb speed and slightly higher price for 1 Gb speed. This compared with telephone company DSL speeds at 6 Mb in Anacortes.
McDougall suggested that the Sandy prices could work fine for Anacortes if 35 percent of the residents signed up. Sandy has had 60 percent of their residents sign up.
Mayor Gere told the Council that Sandy’s mayor told her that it is their number one economic tool and the town’s number of quality of life tool.
Council members seem excited to move ahead, asking that a contract proposal be brought back to them in the next few weeks.
Council member Brad Adams said he thought, “this is veery doable here.”
“We should move full speed ahead,” said Council member Ryan Walters. He said he was worried that the city would miss out on the next economic boom if the city didn’t have high-speed Internet, adding, “I would be pleased to be part of building a citywide network.”
Liz Lovelett, a Council member, said, “This is almost too good to be true.”
And, Council member John Archibald said that most of the people he’s discussed a fiber network with are “really excited,” adding, “We should go forward.”