The city has launched a new online survey tool to get an idea of the demand for a community-owned fibre-optic broadband Internet utility mucvh like the city's water utility.
For several years, residents of the city inquired if the city could improve the broadband service offerings for residents and businesses in the area. Now that the city is installing fiber optic lines as part of our water and wastewater telemetry system, an opportunity to utilize the excess fiber optic capacity exists.
The City is exploring if the remaining fiber optic capacity could serve as a backbone for a fiber optic broadband network in the community.
To better understand the needs of the community in deploying a fiber optic broadband utility, the city is using a survey tool to solicit feedback and organize data from the community for possible fiber network expansion. If the demand is great enough and the city moves forward with the network expansion, the system will also allow residents to track plans for construction.
The City of Anacortes is considering managing an open access community-owned network which could expand fiber-to-the-home options throughout the area.
Mayor Laurie Gere believes a municipal fiber system is, “an essential municipal service. I am proud of Anacortes for being on the forefront of exploring offering this service to our community and look forward to having data to accurately gauge community interest."
Emily Schuh, City of Anacortes Administrative Services Director who is managing the city's broadband project, says that the City is evaluating several business models for how to best serve the community.
Schuh explains, "An open access network for residential customers will allow us to collaborate with multiple Internet Service Providers for residential customers to increase competition, which is shown to increase service satisfaction and drive down prices for consumers. We're researching best practices for our local businesses to ensure all of our community will be served with robust high-capacity broadband services. We do not feel comfortable relying on anecdotal data to determine the next phase in this project, so we are seeking information from the public. Information from the survey will allow the City to collect data directly from City residents to be sure that community members are driving this initiative.”
Anacortes residents and businesses are asked to participate by vising the website http://cityofanacortes.servicezones.net and completing the online survey. This is the first step in expressing interest in a city owned broadband system.
“We need to ensure that we are responding to a widespread demand from our residents and that it is not just 50 or 100 residents who want better Internet access," stated Schuh. "This survey will allow us to gather exactly this data.”