May 31, 2022
The maintenance project to replace transmission poles in the area requires two... Read more
Providing the best internet available throughout the beautiful Panther, Tiger, and Mission Lakes areas!
The TriLakes Fiberhood will construct a ready-to-connect open-access fiber optic network to serve the citizens of Panther, Tiger, and Mission Lakes with unlimited, symmetrical, gigabit broadband. At the completion of this project, fiber distribution will be constructed along existing pole lines and available at the road. Customers will then be able to submit an application to get their home or business connected to the network so they can turn up world-class internet, HDTV, and voice services.
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.
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.
You likely saw heavy construction along Sand Hill Road and Bear Creek Dewatto Road last year. That was in preparation for the successful completion of this project. A telecom engineer has completed designs for the fiber cable installation and the pole make ready portion of the Sand Hill, Tiger Lake, and Panther Lake areas of the project. They are currently working to secure easements and tree trimming permits from private property owners in your community so that we can proceed with the project. We anticipate being able to release these designs for construction by PUD 3 crews this Summer. Following that, PUD 3 will hire a contractor to splice the cables together. We anticipate being able to accept applications for connection to the network in Winter 2022.
PUD 3’s goal is to connect as many customers as possible, as quickly and as safely as possible. This means that the larger overall project has been broken into multiple phases. For example, if you’re in the Tiger Lake Terrace area (Dogwood, Bella Vista, Laurel, and Daly Drive), your power is underground and we don’t have existing fiber conduit in your street. Therefore, once we complete the main distribution network at Tiger and Panther Lakes, we will have to come together with the community and Mason County Public Works to discuss options to bring the fiber to your homes. Don’t worry, fiber capacity has been reserved and dedicated for each parcel- we just need to establish a plan, create engineering designs, and then perform construction to get it to you. If you’re in these areas listed above, that’s when you’ll be able to get connected.
Similarly, if you’re in the Mission Lake community, we have separated out your area into a second project phase. Once the fiber is constructed to the north end of Tiger Lake, we will basically re-start this process for Mission Lake. We know this delays the timeframe for you to get connected, but we need to build upon each phase to get all homes and businesses connected.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!