Yes, the public overwhelmingly agrees that fiber internet, often referred to broadband, is essential and should be treated as a utility. Congress recognized internet access as a utility in the 2020 CARES Act which established aid, relief, and economic security at the onset of the COVID pandemic.
Here's a breakdown of fiber internet as a utility:
Access to telecommunications facilities and services is essential to all persons and entities in both rural and urban areas
Many people and entities, particularly in rural areas, do not have adequate access to advanced telecommunications facilities and services
Public Utility Districts are well positioned to construct and operate telecommunications facilities in a cost-effective manner
KPUD has operated its fiber optic network for over 20 years. Our fiber optic network has been essential to connecting area public safety agencies, schools, government buildings, and naval bases. Today, we offer our high-speed internet service to businesses and residents throughout Kitsap County.
The cost to bring KPUD fiber to the home is based on several variables, including the proximity of the nearest connection point on the KPUD fiber network, an aerial or underground connection to the home as determined by existing utility easements, and presence of available vacant conduit to your home. Complete our online Estimate Request to receive projected costs to connect your home to fiber.
There are several options to pay for fiber infrastructure to be built to your home.
Option 1: Contract and Payment
Residential contract signed by homeowner with a check made payable to KPUD prior to construction and fiber installation to the home.
Option 2: Local Utility District & Non-Contiguous Local Utility District
Local utility districts (LUD) and non-contiguous local utility districts (NCLUD) provide individuals or a group of homeowners the ability to finance construction costs for fiber infrastructure improvements over a 20-year loan period. These costs are guaranteed with a lien against the property and are repaid annually through the Kitsap County Treasurer's Office with interest. More detailed information about LUDs and NCLUDs can be found in the Residential Fiber Financing section.
KPUD uses capital budget funds to build "middle mile" fiber infrastructure along main roads of Kitsap County. This does not include building fiber to individual homes. Residents are responsible for the cost of bringing fiber to the home.
KPUD operates a community-owned open access network. We provide the fiber infrastructure and wholesale internet to internet service providers (ISP) who use our infrastructure to provide the internet services to the community. Think of it like an airport, KPUD is the airport with different runways, gates, and terminals. The ISPs are the airlines that use the airport to provide customers with services. KPUD provides a competitive marketplace, so you're never locked into one ISP.
Self-reported research show that fiber subscribers pay almost the same for their internet, voice, and video services as do customers of DSL and cable providers, with FTTH subscribers actually paying less per megabit of bandwidth that they receive. Additionally, surveys of broadband consumers conducted by Consumer Reports magazine and by the FTTH Council have shown that subscribers of FTTH services show considerably higher satisfaction rates than subscribers of other broadband services.
Since 2000, KPUD has used a small portion of property taxes and federal funds to construct its fiber optic (broadband) network. This network is made of over 500 miles of world-class, high-speed fiber optic cable, and is used by and connected to many public agencies in Kitsap County. The KPUD network is also used as the trunk system for some of the area's telecommunications companies, who in turn, sell retail services to customers. No water utility funds are used in the KPUD's telecommunications operations.
Open access is the term used to describe a network where more than one internet service provider (ISP) can provide service to the end-user. KPUD believes the open access model serves our communities by eliminating the costs of duplicative infrastructure and allowing customer to have a choice in ISPs. Customers often experience improved services and control costs in a competitive marketplace.