PORT TOWNSEND — The Jefferson County Public Utility District is seeking support from residents east of Discovery Bay for a $2 million grant request to build fiber for high speed internet.
The grant from the state Public Works Board would fund a project to build fiber out to more than 200 homes along state Highway 20 east of Discovery Bay between Anderson Lake and Four Corners roads.
The Jefferson Public Utility District (PUD) is asking residents of that area to fill out a survey online or send back a return service postcard that was mailed to the customers.
The online survey can be found here. All responses either online or via the postcard are due to the PUD by Sept. 24, said Will O’Donnell, communications director, in a press release.
The application is separate from the $12.6 million in federal funding that the PUD seeks in an August application to build more than 160 miles of fiber to connect more than 1,600 homes and businesses in Quilcene, Discovery Bay, Gardiner and part of Chimacum.
“The more support we get, the better our chances are for receiving funding,” O’Donnell said. “The current project builds off of our first and extends fiber north from the bottom of Discovery Bay up to the PUD’s main facility on Four Corners Road.
“As in the previous grant, funding is intended to build to homes who lack service or can only get service that doesn’t meet the state guidelines for broadband.”
Awards for both the state and federal grants won’t be announced until December.
Both projects would have construction start in 2022, if funding is awarded, O’Donnell said.
The PUD is advertising that fiber in the project area would offer minimum upload and download speeds of 100 megabytes per second, with gigabyte or higher speeds also available.
Monthly internet service from the PUD is set to begin at $65 before taxes. Low-income rates also would be available, O’Donnell said.
In a 2019 survey, about 70 percent of residents reported they did not have broadband service.
High-speed internet is defined as speeds higher than 25 megabytes per second.
Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5, or at [email protected]