Fiber Optic Internet in Anacortes

Can you think of a day in the last week that you didn’t use the Internet  at least once? Oh, there was that one day. No wait. Hmmmm. Nope. Impossible, isn’t it? You use the Internet constantly, without even  thinking twice. Whether it’s pulling out your phone to look up an address to a business, mapping directions, streaming a video on your home computer or listening to a podcast, you use the Internet. And, that Internet usage comes at a price. Sadly, it’s usually a pretty high  price. The City of Anacortes is trying to change that.

Fiber Optic Cables on Street

Broadband Survey

Over 1600 residents completed our broadband survey.  Your feedback helped to build momentum to move forward with a fiber to the premise project.  Anacortes is moving forward with the network expansion. 

Current Providers

Currently, Anacortes residents have the choice between Frontier, Comcast / Xfinity, or Wave Cable as their Internet providers. These are Telecom DSL service, and in the case of Wave, cable Internet service. This technology is reaching its peak, and though there are small improvements that can happen, cable and DSL service will be outdated in several years. When Mayor Laurie Gere conducted her listening tour, shortly after taking office as mayor, she heard residents talk about the need for affordable Internet connection. In fact, it was among the top five issues all citizens wanted to discuss. This being the state of  affairs, she laid out the issues with the City Council, and City staff have being researching affordable Internet connection options ever since.

New Internet Service

We did our homework. We investigated using a private provider, and we contacted current Internet providers about this project, but neither of these options were cost effective.

“We came to the conclusion that if we wanted to have better, faster, Internet service, we were going to have to do it ourselves,” explained Fred Buckenmeyer, Director of Anacortes Public Works. 

We think we can provide better, less expensive service than the current providers.

What are Fiber Optics?

So what are fiber optics? They are incredibly thin fibers that permit communication and transmission of information over longer distances at a higher bandwidth. What does that mean in layman’s terms? Data - what you look up or stream on the internet - will get to you faster for less. Anacortes uses a radio based telemetry system to communicate between  water and sewer pump stations, but it’s a slow and unreliable telemetry  system. What we propose to do is construct an fiber optic link between the sewer pump stations and water stations and reservoirs. In the future  this link would allow us to reach homes and business with fiber optics. The way we’ll do that is by partnering with a non-profit corporation called NOA Net to bring Internet over the fiber optic lines and make  them useable for residents. Then, Internet portals in homes and businesses will be as easy to install as an electricity outlet.

Additional Information

Wow! Can you imagine? Some day in the near future fiber optic Internet connection will be as reliable as turning on your water. Houses built in the next 10 years will have Internet hook-ups much like water or electricity. Internet connection will be affordable and accessible to all. Imagine the possibilities of having citywide, affordable Internet access - shopping, commerce, technology, communication. Now this is something to get excited about. If you’re excited, or have questions about this project, you can always get in contact with Municipal Fiber Broadband Manager Jim Lemberg at 360.588.8360 or jiml@cityofanacortes.org.