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
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.
Optical fiber is a hair-thin strand of glass, specially designed to trap and transmit light pulses. The fiber uses light instead of electricity to carry a signal. It is unique because it can carry high bandwidth signals over long distances without signal degradation, and it can provide those signals simultaneously in both directions - upload and download. Copper media can also carry high bandwidth, but only for a few hundred yards - after which the signal begins to degrade and bandwidth narrows. Fiber optic cable is made from optical fiber and has been used in communications networks for more than 35 years, mostly to carry core telecommunications traffic from city-to-city or country-to-country.
Fiber internet (also referred to as broadband) access can be provided to residents over a variety of infrastructures. When the infrastructure used is fiber optics, it is called fiber to the home (FTTH). In this delivery model, KPUD extends its broadband network, using fiber from its nodes all the way to a home. Fiber to the home is the fastest growing method of providing vastly higher bandwidth to consumers and businesses, enabling more robust video, internet, and voice 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
As soon as it is determined that KPUD service is available at your home, you will select a KPUD approved internet service provider. Next, contact KPUD or work with your ISP to schedule installation of customer premise equipment (CPE) at your home. A skilled KPUD technician will visit your home to install the CPE and connect your home to KPUD's fiber network. Once connected, your ISP will complete the final step of activating your new fast, fiber internet service!
KPUD typically follows the power utility when determining how to bring fiber to the home. Overhead installation: If your utilities run from power poles into your home, we can usually follow that route for fiber installation. Underground installation: This requires digging a trench to place conduit underground from the nearest KPUD connection point to your residence. The fiber is then pulled through the conduit to the Customer Premise Equipment (CPE) attached to the exterior of the home.
KPUD skilled technicians will install a grey utility housing box on the exterior of your home. This housing protects the customer premise equipment (CPE) which connects to KPUD fiber. An interior power outlet must be located within 10 feet of the CPE. The housing box will be sealed and labeled with a "no tampering" sticker to help prevent damage to the fiber.
Use a "straight-through" network cable (TP-cable) with a RJ-45 connector when you connect your computer to the data socket. If you are uncertain which cable you have, please contact your internet service provider.
If you desire to have Wi-Fi throughout your home, you will need a wireless router. Please be sure to discuss these details with your ISP so they can help with router specifications/recommendations.
A common cause for losing an internet connection could be an interruption of power at the interior power outlet (also referred to as a wall wart).
The wall wart on the interior of your home provides power to the exterior CPE. There's a RESET button on the wall wart similar to a GFCI outlet. If there is a power surge, the circuit can trip and cut off power to the CPE. Additionally, check to see if any of the wires connecting to the wall wart have come loose.
Please contact your internet service provider (ISP) directly if you are experiencing problems with your subscription or connection.
Providing as much information as possible to your ISP will help resolve issues quicker. Be prepared to provide your ISP with answers to these questions:
- Have you connected your network cable directly into the data socket, or are you using a router or another kind of wireless connection? If so, do you experience the same problem if you connect a network cable directly to the data socket?
- Have you tried to change your network cable?
- Do you experience the problem at a particular time of day or throughout the day?
After investigating the issue, your ISP will contact KPUD if necessary.
If your home has a back-up generator that can supply power to your CPE and KPUD fiber has not been damaged during the power outage, you should have an internet connection. KPUD has back up batteries at our fiber distribution nodes as well as generators to support service during power outages.