Pend Oreille PUD officially began construction of a $34 million fiber to the premise project in southern Pend Oreille County in June, 2011. A ribbon cutting ceremony was held to celebrate the event and acknowledge the magnitude of the project and the resulting enhancements it will bring to the community.
There were only a handful of last-mile or fiber-to-the premise projects awarded under the Broadband Technologies & Opportunities Program (BTOP), and Pend Oreille PUD received one of the larger grant awards. This is one of the first projects (of approximately 125) to begin construction.
Pend Oreille’s project will span more than 565 miles, making affordable wholesale broadband access available to approximately 5,000 households, 360 businesses, and 24 community anchor institutions, in what is currently unserved and underserved rural areas.
The fiber line will pass about 5,000 homes and businesses between Usk and the Spokane County line. The grant requires the PUD to bring fiber to the premises of nearly 1,000 homes but if the project continues to stay under budget there’s a possibility that the PUD will extend fiber to more homes.
The project is required to be 95% complete by April 1, 2013.
The project will also add a redundant fiber optic cable to the PUD’s existing fiber system that runs from near the Canadian border to Spokane. This line is the backbone for high speed communications for the entire county, and having a redundant system will provide continuous service in the event of a cable break.
Through retail service providers, residents and businesses will have the opportunity to subscribe to a variety of high speed internet services. Currently, with the exception of a small percentage of the service area, most of the customers have very limited choices for Internet connections.
For a great article in the Spokesman Review giving further information about the Fiber to Premise project in Pend Oreille County and its significance, please click here.