- What is broadband?
- How does broadband work?
- What is NoaNet?
- What is Clallam PUD’s relationship to NoaNet?
- What areas does the NoaNet infrastructure cover?
- What does broadband provide the community?
- Who will benefit from broadband?
- Where will Clallam PUD’s backbone be built?
- Who will be Clallam PUD broadband customers?
- Are electric rates going up because of broadband?
- How much will it cost customers?
The term “broadband” can be used in a variety of ways and most often represents a communication line or medium that has greater bandwidth than a typical phone line or voice. Coaxial -cable used with a television is an example of a copper broadband medium. Clallam PUD will use fiber as a broadband medium to transport information from one point to another in the form of light (fiber optics). Did you know that the entire contents of the Library of Congress can be transmitted over one fiber across the country in 4 seconds? Fiber is the fastest most reliable broadband medium.
The light is easily transmitted through fibers or thin rods of glass. The use of fiber in telecommunications is growing because it is durable, reliable, and provides more bandwidth (information-carrying capacity) than traditional metallic-based cable. The use of fiber optics in telecommunications ranges from global networks to local telephone exchanges to Internet subscribers’ homes. All involve the transmission of voice, data, or video over distances from less than a mile to hundreds of miles (see Fiber Optics Primer)
Late in 2000, a group of Washington public utility districts formed Northwest Open Access Network (NoaNet www.noanet.net) to utilize some of the spare BPA fibers available for public benefit. NoaNet, a nonprofit public corporation that has licensed fiber optic cables from the Bonneville Power Administration, will license fibers from other sources and make the network available to utilities and communities in the Pacific Northwest. NoaNet is not a traditional telecommunications company. This new network is being designed and built with the future of the converging telecommunications industry in mind and it focuses on deploying this network to rural areas.
All members of NoaNet are nonprofit, community-owned electric and water utilities. We use the NoaNet fiber optic system for utility purposes such as real-time metering, energy management, load control and networking among remote utility facilities. NoaNet, Clallam PUD, Jefferson PUD, Kitsap PUD, Mason PUD and other members’ success are mutually inter-dependent on one another.
Clallam PUD is already using fiber links to NoaNet, other PUDs, and our own operations. Future anticipated benefits to Clallam PUD are numerous including better, faster computer connection to substations, facilities, and SCADA; improved reliability and speed of the SCADA system; improved customer service; better load control, and numerous capabilities yet to be understood. We have already used video-conferencing to start lowering travel costs.
The fiber optic network parallels BPA’s transmission system, covering much of the Pacific Northwest, creating an economical opportunity for rural telecommunication needs. NoaNet has licensed fibers on over 2100-miles of BPA fiber in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana.
Reliable high-speed digital infrastructure often is one component in economic growth and diversification within a community. It draws and sustains college students, clean high tech business, medical providers, and others who want to live rural yet still be connected to the world. Businesses can use broadband to expand their customer base, and save money through smart technology and energy management.
Everyone. Large businesses need high-speed point-to-point network connections for daily commercial traffic (payroll, bills of lading, purchase orders, automated library systems, medical information) and Internet access. Fiber optics will advance health care providers’ ability to share diagnostic and non-diagnostic images and confidential information with other physicians across the town, state, and nation. For instance, hospitals need fast, reliable, secure digital network connectivity to other medical providers. This allows the secure confidential transmission of large amounts of information such as x-rays, MRI, CT scans, medical and insurance records, which translates to better health care services. Schools need interconnection to provide educational tools, research sharing, and distance learning opportunities. Agri-businesses can use broadband to monitor field conditions, water and electric usage and access market information.
Clallam PUD’s fiber optic backbone will be built in phases. Each phase will be carefully studied to ensure the economic viability of the route. In addition, each Clallam PUD substation will be connected to the backbone, to position the District for future technological opportunities. The initial phases connect the Port Angeles PUD office to the Happy Valley sub-station in Sequim.
We provide wholesale broadband services to ISPs (Internet Service Providers), who in turn sell services directly to businesses and residences (See list of approved ISPs). Service is currently available within the 2003 Broadband Pilot area. We will expand into other areas of the county according to demand, logistics, and capital required to expand the network. It is the intent of Clallam County PUD to supply broadband services areas of the county that would not readily be serviced by private carriers.
Are electric rates going up because of broadband?
No. Clallam PUD’s cost based electric rates are derived primarily from the cost of wholesale power, operation and maintenance of the electrical system. These factors will not change because of the loan to the broadband business.
As a public utility we can offer fiber-based broadband to our customers at an affordable rate. Like our electric system, Clallam PUD broadband will be operated on a “not-for-profit” basis. Current for profit copper broadband rates are perceived by our customers to be much too expensive. Our customers, schools, and hospitals can have faster, reliable, confidential and secure communications at a low compelling cost point that does not encumber their budget.