Phillips Road Fiberhood

Phillips Road Fiberhood

Providing the best internet available throughout the Phillips Road community!

Project Information is up to date as of 06/22/22.

The Phillips Road Fiberhood will construct a ready-to-connect open-access fiber optic network to serve the citizens of Phillips Road and the surrounding area with unlimited, symmetrical, gigabit broadband. At the completion of this project, fiber distribution will be constructed through new underground conduit systems and available at the road for new connections. Using the fiber cable provided by PUD 3, customers will be able to get their home or business connected to the network so they can turn up world-class internet, HDTV, and voice services.

PROJECT PARTNERS/FUNDING

This project is made possible in partnership with PUD 3’s Fiberhood program and the Community Economic Revitalization Board (CERB). PUD 3 was awarded a grant and loan to construct this network in May 2019. PUD 3 intends to meet the requirements of the grant to have substantial completion of the fiber distribution network by November 2023, and hopefully much sooner.

WHAT WE NEED FROM AREA RESIDENTS:

THERE IS A DEADLINE FOR THIS NEXT PART: JUNE 1, 2022! (THE DEADLINE HAS PASSED)

To speed up the timeline and help our engineers plan ahead for the scope of the project, we are asking residents in the project footprint to let us know if they would like to be placed on the construction list for connection to PUD 3’s gig-speed fiber optic network. Eligible properties received a letter, application, and instructions in early-April 2022. Customers that have updated contact info on file with PUD 3 received a heads up to be looking for the application around the same time. If you are within the project area and you need another application, please email fiberhood@masonpud3.org

If you are interested in connecting to high-speed internet via PUD 3 fiber in the future, please download and return this Construction Application BY JUNE 1, 2022 by sending it to:

SCANNED: telecomconnect@masonpud3.org; or by mail:

Mason PUD 3 – Telecom Department
PO Box 2148
Shelton, WA 98584

This application will notify the engineers that you want to be included in the construction phase. They will schedule a site survey with you at your home and design a plan to install conduit for the fiber cable. Even if you are not planning to get connected right away, it is very important to submit your application now so that we can prepare the path for future fiber while our construction crews are in the area.

The Fiberhood application fee of $250 will not be billed until the connection phase of the project when it is time to install the fiber optic gateway on your home.

If we did NOT receive your application by June 1, 2022, PUD 3 will still reserve fiber for your home at the road, but the connection to your home will be put in the queue along with the rest of the county-wide applications, which will delay your connection significantly longer. Those applications will be addressed following the completion of the rest of the project.

MANY STEPS TO GETTING CONNECTED

We understand that you likely wish you were connected already. Extending fiber networks to rural, unserved areas like yours is a very difficult, costly, and time consuming endeavor. If it was easy, a private for-profit company would have done it already! There are many, many communities throughout Mason County that are in similar broadband-deserts, without access to adequate internet. PUD 3 staff has to tell many inquiring customers every day that we are not in a position to serve them right now. Thankfully, your community’s story is different! You have done your part to rally your neighbors and express interest in PUD 3’s Fiberhood program. Now, it’s our turn to do the heavy lifting. Don’t worry, PUD 3’s teams are experts in this process! About 3,000 homes and businesses around Mason County, in some of the hardest to reach areas, are now connected to the fiber optic network. We are working through our long construction queues and turning up new neighborhoods every month or so.

 

Here's a quick overview of the 8 STEPS to a PUD 3 Fiber Connection.

  1. Pre-Construction Engineering – Engineers evaluate poles in the area and call for adjustments or replacements to make room for the fiber cables, OR if existing power service is underground, they create designs to install new conduit where it won’t interfere with existing utilities and make as little impact as possible to roadways.
  2. Make Ready Crew – Linemen replace or reframe the poles AND/OR they dig trenches for fiber conduit if the main electrical lines are to remain underground.
  3. Telecom Engineering – Engineers then design the maps and estimate the supplies and equipment needed. This is a very technical process to ensure there is enough fiber for each existing parcel, and room for growth as the neighborhood develops. This step also includes identifying a location and installing a fiber distribution hut and creating a safe pull-off for PUD 3 crews to work at the hut.
  4. Main Line Fiber Crew – A fiber crew then installs the main fiber-optic cables and the service terminals in the neighborhood. This is very often a contract crew that PUD 3 hires to perform this work. The required competitive bidding process takes additional time, but it ensures PUD 3 is in compliance with the law and that we get the best deal possible on behalf of our customers.
  5. Splicing Crew – Splicers must join the newly installed cables together with a high-tech fiber fusion machine. This is usually yet another sub-contracted group. Sometimes this phase can seem to take a long time because the work occurs in a box van and is less visible than the installation of new infrastructure such as poles, conduit, or fiber cable.
  6. Service Drop Designer – Once the network is constructed at the road, customers within the Fiberhood can apply to get connected! An engineer meets with the homeowner on site to plan the best path to the home and review requirements.
  7. Service Drop Install Crew – The installation crew extends a service line and attaches a fiber gateway to the exterior of the home.
  8. Pick a Provider – With PUD 3’s open access fiber network, a number of retail service providers can deliver unlimited, symmetrical, gigabit internet (1000/1000 Mbps), HDTV, and/or phone services to your home over the single fiber optic cable. Shop around to get the best deal! If you’re not happy with one, pick another and utilize the same fiber line installed by PUD 3.

SO, WHICH STEP ARE WE AT NOW?

Bringing fiber into the Phillips Road community will be one of our most challenging projects to date, since all of the existing utilities are underground. Additionally, due to the grant/loan requirements, PUD 3 will have to hire an excavation contractor to install the conduits and then a telecommunications contractor to install the fiber and splice it together.KyleRob

You will likely see PUD 3’s engineers, Rob and Kyle, in your area over the next several months. There may be new paint markings on the ground which identify underground utilities and perhaps small wooden stakes. These aid in the design and safe construction of the fiber optic network. As we transition from design to construction, we appreciate your patience and potential traffic delays while our crews and/or contract crews perform their work. Thank you for helping us to make safety a top priority.

COVID IMPACTS

COVID-19 has brought additional challenges in forecasting and executing construction projects throughout the world.  PUD 3 is no exception to these impacts caused by COVID-19.  For example, the raw materials used to construct our fiber network ranging from fiber optic cable, distribution terminals, pole attachment hardware, splice enclosures, vaults, pedestals, conduit, and the electronic gateway components that we install at each premise have been impacted at the manufacturing and distribution levels.  We have been (and are currently) experiencing supply-chain delays impacting several of these items.  We are doing everything possible to secure these needed materials to keep construction moving forward.  For the latest information on the supply chain issues that we are experiencing, click here.

Additionally, labor resources have been impacted due to COVID-19.  This, unfortunately, has caused construction times to increase due to absenteeism when a person gets infected, or has been in close contact with someone who is infected.

Please understand that we are working though these challenges diligently to keep projects on track in the most efficient manner possible.

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What should residents in the area expect during active construction?

Customers should be prepared for construction activity, increased road traffic, possible lane closures, and noise. The PUD will be using a contractor for the project, so residents may notice work vehicles that do not have the familiar PUD logo on them. However, rest assured, PUD employees will be on-site overseeing the activities at each step of the way. We do ask residents to practice safe driving and social distancing around construction zones for worker safety. During construction, there may be a need to take short outages to ensure the line workers’ safety. If that is necessary, affected customers will be notified in advance.

Why isn't the PUD doing the work?

Since this is part of a grant the PUD was awarded to extend its fiber optic network to an underserved area, the PUD must use a contractor to fulfill the grant's requirements. The contractor who successfully won the bid is performing the work but all work is overseen by PUD personnel. 

When will I be connected to fiber internet?

Honestly, probably not as soon as you would like. This very large project will take time to design and construct, with many phases in several different neighborhoods throughout your area. Once we have the designs completed, we will install conduit at the road; then bring it to your home; then install the fiber optic cable in it and splice every strand together; then test each strand throughout the whole network; then install the gateway at your home. Describing it is the easy part. As you’ll see, it will take many skilled craftsmen many dedicated, hardworking hours to get this lasting, future-proof network built. You can see a high-level overview of the process here.

How much will internet cost and how fast will it be?

We see Fiberhood customers getting unlimited, symmetrical, uncapped internet at 1000/1000 Mbps for about $85/month. HDTV and phone services are additional. However, PUD 3’s fiber network is unique. It is an “open access” network, which means that you, as the end user, can select from a number of different retail internet service providers and their packages. These providers deliver the service over the single PUD 3 fiber optic cable and they bill you directly. If you want to switch, it’s easy- and you don’t need a new connection to your home.

Why do I still have to pay the Fiberhood Application Fee and Construction Adder if you got a grant to build the network?

The CERB grant and loan covered a significant portion of the network construction and allowed us to consider the your area for fiber expansion, but it does not cover all of the expenses. The Fiberhood costs cover the remainder as well as a portion of the operating costs of the network into the future.

What if I don’t want to get connected now, but I may want to hook up sometime later?

You don’t have to get connected now. We will dedicate fibers to each parcel at the road. However, if/when you change your mind, you will be added to the queue and have to wait your turn. Sometimes that can be months. It’s best to submit your application for fiber connection as soon as we announce it is available. Only customers who are connected to the network and actively taking services pay the Fiberhood Construction Adder.

Will there be any additional costs to me other than the Fiberhood Application Fee and the Construction Adder on my internet bill?

The Fiberhood program covers most scenarios. However, each property may have unique challenges that we may not be able to accommodate. A customer may need to provide trenching and restoration for a portion on their private property; or a conduit pathway under a landscaped area, driveway, or sidewalk; or perhaps may need to permit the use of an aerial installation. Our engineering team are well versed in identifying great solutions to get homes connected to fiber and to help customers find a path that works for them.

What’s a Fiberhood?

Fiberhoods are the bedrock of PUD 3’s fiber expansion program. You can learn more about Fiberhoods here: www.pud3.org/fiberhoods. Your area does not need to sign up to reach the 75% goal; you’re already under construction!

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