PUD Receives USDA RUS Grant

Submitted by isadmin on Tue, 10/11/2011 - 07:54

Okanogan County PUD was one of three public power utilities in the Pacific Northwest that were notified recently that they are eligible to receive federal stimulus funding for broadband initiatives. The award totaling $9,169,637 includes a grant of $5,501,782 and a low interest loan in the amount of $3,667,855. Okanogan PUD will use the funds to extend highspeed broadband to 6,543 residences and businesses located in rural, unserved and underserved locations in Okanogan County using a fiber backbone and 170 wireless access nodes. The project will benefit approximately 13,000 people, 1,100 businesses and 35 community institutions. In addition to the jobs this project will create upfront, it will help drive economic development and create jobs for decades to come.

Project Update

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 logo

We have been awarded American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding to deploy a Middle Mile and Last Mile broadband communication system throughout the county capable of meeting long-term residential, commercial, industrial and civic services to promote and expand the Districts Open Access Network for retail service providers.

In 2002, we began offering wholesale telecommunications services over its fiber-optic facilities. The District's open-access network is currently utilized by 15 retail service providers, supporting over 2,200 end-user customers. The proposed last-mile project will bring high-speed broadband to over 6,543 premises that currently lack such access, and foster competition and innovation among retail service providers, in turn, optimizing end-user adoption rates of the newly-available high-speed services.

This project will leverage approximately 82 miles of existing fiber backbone by adding clusters of wireless access points along the existing fiber route. Existing wireless access points are too few and located too far from end-users to effectively and consistently deliver more than 1 Mbps. The new network design calls for placement of approximately 170 access nodes, as well as extends the fiber backbone approximately 179 miles to provide necessary redundancy to the last-mile network.

As a wholesale provider to retail service providers, our open-access service offerings will support residential and business class broadband services, starting with offered symmetrical speeds of 1 Mbps to 7 Mbps and capable of up to 20 Mbps. The proposed project, upon completion, will serve as an enabler to broadband applications such as voice-grade services, video services, video conferencing, security services, data storage, web hosting, distance learning, telemedicine, and automated meter intelligence services.

Broadband Employees at work
Crew working on wireless access point in Omak

Read our PDF logo  Application (20MB), PDF logoSecurity Agreement (15MB), or the PDF logo  Project Map (600KB) for the grant.