City high-speed fiber system moving swiftly

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City crews have started preliminary work in preparation for a new fiber optic network connecting the Riverbend water treatment plant with city water equipment in Anacortes. The system, the city says, is about a year ahead of schedule.

City Public Works Director Fred Buckenmeyer told the City Council this week that the first two phases of the city’s three-phase system will allow telemetry control between the city’s water treatment plant and city water pump stations is a year ahead of schedule. And, he said the first parts of the new fiber optic system should be installed by the end of the summer.

The third phase of the city’s system will connect the central area of the city to the west end will be tackled at a later date, possibly as early as next year. The city has estimated the west end work could cost $3 million.

The City Council approved at its Monday night meeting contracts to get construction started. The fiber system will be installed by Henkels & McCoy of Portland, Ore. with a contract price of $1.019 million. The Council also approved a $154,097 contract to purchase fiber and a $47,758 contract for other construction materials.

The fiber connection from the Riverbend treatment plant will be inside conduit that will be installed, in turn, inside the 36-inch water main connecting to the city. This system has already been approved by the health department, according to the city.

Anacortes is the first location in the U. S. to utilize the fiber-in-waterline system. It is already in used in other countries.

The new fiber backbone being installed over the coming year or two will provide the basis for a new high-speed Internet service to each home in the city.

Buckenmeyer offered the Council the option for the city to lease space on the new fiber system to commercial Internet providers, in addition to the city’s own planned Internet service.

Photo: City crew installs equipment to allow fiber optic line in city water main. City of Anacortes photo