When the City of Anacortes needed to update its telemetry system for its water and wastewater services, it began exploring the idea of expanding a fiber backbone to facilitate a broadband network for use by the city’s residents and businesses. Anacortes partnered with NoaNet to for consulting services to form a municipal broadband action plan and much more.
“This (pandemic) event has really made it clear how important it is to have high-speed, reliable broadband access,” – Emily Schuh
The City of Anacortes saw value in improving the reliability and speed of Internet services by constructing a fiber optic based internet network for commercial and residential use. High quality affordable fiber optic technology gives consumers access to fast Internet and provides the community with new opportunities including telehealth, education, and business growth. The City recognized that greater accessibility and faster speeds translates into improved business performance which can lead to the creation of jobs, innovative business solutions, and business expansion as companies grow or relocate to Anacortes.
NoaNet collaborated with city stakeholders to design, engineer, and oversee the deployment of their fiber-optic wastewater telemetry system, and prepared the system as the backbone for a community city-wide Fiber to the Home deployment network, currently being piloted in select parts of Anacortes, with a fiber department overseen by Emily Schuh, the City’s Director of Administrative Services. NoaNet also helped engage the community with broadband education, outreach, and an island-wide survey for public feedback. It engineered and implemented the first phases of the wider network deployment.
Just as water, sewer, and public safety are considered essential public services, broadband access is vitally important to establishing and maintaining the quality of life in a community,” – Nicole Tesch
Internet started in three pilot areas in 2019. If the pilot reasonably demonstrates the project’s financial, technical and logistical feasibility, Anacortes will continue expansion of the network into 2021 and beyond. Already, Schuh reports that interest from businesses and residents is resoundingly strong.
Anacortes is the first North American city to use a Pipe in Pipe technique for installing fiber optic cable using existing, live water lines, a cost-effective and faster means to run the cables. This medium is likened to having a water pipe inside another water pipe (similar to a straw in a glass of water) with no chance of fiber contamination or intrusion. The 30 miles of pipe extends from Mount Vernon to Anacortes.
The City estimates that if municipal broadband can capture one-third of the Anacortes market for internet service, the project will pay for itself in 15 years.