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06/24/2019 14:15 - 2019 Baker Hill Water Main Replacement (read more...)

On Petitioning the FCC

In February, the Federal Communications Commission "preempted" state laws in Tennessee and North Carolina that - the commission determined-served as barriers to broadband deployment. The FCC ruled those states' limitations on municipal broadband networks conflicted with Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 which directs the FCC to, "encourage the deployment on a reasonable and timely basis of advanced telecommunications capability to all Americans (including, in particular, elementary and secondary schools and classrooms) by utilizing, in a manner consistent with the public interest, convenience, and necessity, price cap regulation, regulatory forbearance, measures that promote competition in the local telecommunications market, or other regulating methods that remove barriers to infrastructure investment."

Kitsap PUD is considering petitioning the FCC to evaluate Washington's prohibition on PUDs providing retail telecommunications service. As per Kitsap County's Countywide Planning Policies (see below), the District would coordinate this petition effort with local governments and the Kitsap Economic Development Alliance.

Should the FCC preempt Washington's prohibition of PUD retail service, what might that mean for broadband service in Kitsap? Mainly, it would allow Kitsap PUD to serve as a retail service provider. This would help bridge a "last mile" gap in unserved communities and help spur competition in underserved ones. Competition has been shown to improve service, lower rates and spur deployment of broadband infrastructure.

KPUD currently has an LUD (Local Utility District) process for community drinking water and telecommunications projects. LUDs for telecom have often been derailed by the uncertainty of available retail providers and their rates. If KPUD is able to provide retail service, community groups interested in an LUD would have a better understanding of what their service-and rates-would look like after construction.

Obviously, recent moves by the FCC have invigorated the discussion around municipal broadband. Kitsap PUD is following these discussions closely. The District will consult with local governments, our fellow members of NOANet and the public on petitioning the FCC and crafting the best strategy for bringing broadband telecommunications to all of Kitsap's communities.

"The County and the Cities recognize that widespread access to broadband capability will enhance economic development in Kitsap County. Local governments are encouraged to collaborate with the KEDA to promote the expansion of telecommunications in Kitsap County and to coordinate telecommunications policy with regional and federal agencies, including public utility districts, Bonneville Power Administration, regional transportation planning organizations, and neighboring counties.


Kitsap County
Countywide Planning Policies
adopted November 2013

Board Meeting: July 9, 2019, 9:30am

Board Meetings are held every 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month at 9:30am. The meetings are held at our offices and are open to the public. For Minutes and Agendas from previous Board Meetings, visit our Archives
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