How the
Northwest Connects

 

NoaNet FAQs

We understand that the topic of broadband development and the larger discussion of digital inclusion may be new to some, so please review our list of frequently asked questions. If you don’t see your topic list here, please feel free to reach out to us directly.

Who does NoaNet serve?

NoaNet continues its mission today with the goal to connect as many anchor institutions and communities as possible with access to high-capacity broadband and next-generation telecommunications services in rural Washington State.  We provide the infrastructure necessary to connect our private sector service providers with their business and residential customers across our statewide footprint.  We bring economic prosperity to our rural communities by empowering them with access to reliable broadband.

Can NoaNet help my community get broadband?

This is the number one question we answer from community members. We would love to be in every community in Washington State that needs better broadband connectivity. However, we have learned that in order to have a successful community broadband program, a team of stakeholders bringing their unique skills to the equation is critical.

There are many factors to consider when figuring out the path to expand broadband infrastructure. NoaNet has already deployed over 3,300 miles of fiber infrastructure in our state; we already touch every county. The cost requirements of implementing new fiber-optic lines are expensive and therefore, every mile of our network has to be well thought out to maximize impact. If your community leadership is interested in exploring how to expand infrastructure, we can help with the plan for that.

If you are a community member who needs better access to broadband, we encourage you to talk to your community leaders and let them know your concerns. NoaNet’s Community Broadband Solutions program has dedicated staff who will work alongside city leaders to review infrastructure including roads, underground and overhead utility paths, permits, and more. We believe that for community broadband projects to be successful it must be a joint effort. Every project is unique and it takes time to develop a plan and figure out financial hurdles, but where there is a will, there is a way!

What is open access?

NoaNet’s infrastructure is open access which means that we lease access out to service providers who would like to use it to provide services on a non-discriminatory basis. Because we are a municipal broadband network, we do not (and cannot) provide Internet services directly to end-users by Washington State law. Instead, we provide the infrastructure and our customers are ISPs, which then sell retail services to end-users such as homeowners and businesses.

How is NoaNet funded?

NoaNet does not collect tax revenue. Our nonprofit operations are paid for with proceeds from the retail of wholesale telecommunications services on the competitive open market. To capitalize new network plant, we leverage fiscally-sound debt practices to ensure we can continue to expand broadband access into Washington’s rural communities.

Why fiber?

Optical fiber is a hair-thin strand of glass, specially designed to trap and transmit light pulses. Fiber broadband technology uses light instead of electricity to carry a signal. It can carry high bandwidth signals over long distances without signal degradation, and it can provide those signals simultaneously in both directions – upload and download. Fiber-optic broadband infrastructure can support virtually unlimited amounts of bandwidth use and has very little signal degradation over long distances. For example, copper wire loses about 94% of its bandwidth capacity over 100 meters, where the fiber-optic line only loses about 3% over the same distance. Broadband can also be delivered through non-fiber technologies such as copper wire or over wireless signals. Wireless can be a good solution when wireline infrastructure is cost-prohibitive due to difficult geography or low building density. However, wireless infrastructure can be impacted by weather, trees, and other environmental factors.

How do I get a quote?

Contact NoaNet’s sales team to get a quote. Please note that NoaNet is unable by law to serve homeowners directly. Click here to submit a quote request.

How do I get broadband service at my home/business?

A 1990s state law restricts NoaNet from selling full retail telecommunications services to city and county citizens, agencies, and businesses.  NoaNet is only allowed to provide non-retail services, including wholesale networks, community networks, and certain other telecommunications services.  Contact your local service provider and public officials about your desire to connect to high-speed fiber optic-based services, and let’s see what we can do for your community.

Who Owns NoaNet?

NoaNet is owned by nine public utility districts and one joint operating agency in Washington State:

Benton PUD #1
Okanogan PUD #1
Jefferson PUD #1
Kitsap PUD #1
Pacific PUD #1
Clallam PUD #1
Franklin PUD #1
Pend Oreille PUD #1
Mason PUD #3
Energy Northwest

Visit our Board and Members page to learn more about our leadership.

Where can I learn more about broadband?

There are two great resource links we recommend. Start here and here.

Have more questions?

Contact NoaNet and let’s start the conversation. Click here to get started.

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