An Update to Stevens County’s Future Broadband

Stevens County Public Utility District is still in the environmental study stage of their broadband project. They’re working with several different agencies including the local Indian tribes to make sure no ecology or sacred sites are affected by the installation of the 100 Mb broadband. 

Kelly Terry, Stevens County PUD’s IT Administrator, hopes the study would be completed in a couple months. “From there we’ll go through the engineering process, which is the design of the route. We have to get all the permits. The permits and right aways are the biggest time consumer.” He continued, “We hope to then break ground in early 2012. It will take 6-9 months for that construction. Customers should be hooked up by the end of 2012.”

Right now, the internet access in Colville, is held together by one link. If it goes down, everyone is down. The new broadband installation will be built in a ring. When something happens to the connection, it will automatically route the data to the opposite direction. Service will never be loss. The fiber line will start in Ione and be built all the down Highway 20 to Colville, through Kettle Falls and Republic and then over to Tonasket.

“That’s the major build of the project. It’s about 70 miles. It will take nine months to get that line in and to customers,” Terry said.

Those customers will consist of local hospitals, school districts, emergency services and libraries. “Right now we’re planning to connect those and local businesses,” explained Terry. “At this point we don’t see a need for customers at home. If they want it, we’re happy to build it for them, but at this moment we’re not really sure how much it could cost to get them connected. We’ll know that after the engineering process.” 

Currently for a T-1, 1.5 Mb connection in the area, it costs a customer $500/month. According to Terry, this service will be significantly cheaper and faster. This new connection will be 100 Mb of broadband for anyone who wants service. 

For more information about the broadband connection, Kelly Terry will be speaking at the April 12th, Colville Chamber Meeting at Stephani’s Oak Street Grill Banquet Room from 12-1:00 p.m.