Mason PUD 3 provides broadband access to over 1 000 households in addition to businesses, anchor institutes and their own facilities on their open-access fiber optic network. This summer, the PUD (Public Utility District) ramped up their network expansion by offering their customers a favorable amortization plan to recover the installation costs, thereby not restricting residents from signing up due to high initial expenses. To stay within budget and optimize the order of build out they turned to NoaNet for support in demand aggregation. By utilizing the COS Service Zones platform NoaNet offers this in partnership with COS Systems.
Shelton, WA – Mason County is nestled in the rural southeast corner of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. Like most rural communities, residents are clamoring for better broadband. Since 2000, Mason PUD 3 has been extending its open-access, nondiscriminatory fiber optic network to various regions of its service territory.
Besides serving its own facilities, PUD 3’s network reaches over 1,000 businesses, homes, and anchor institutions.
Recently computed PUD 3 customer surveys showed that slow speeds, high costs, or unavailable service were frustrating shortcomings for those who live in the more rural areas of Mason County.
“PUD staff was happy with the clarity the survey provided,” said Justin Holzgrove, Mason PUD 3 telecommunications & community relations manager. “A large number of county residents wanted PUD fiber connections. We are good at what we do: providing reliable fiber service that retail service providers can use to deliver high quality broadband services.”
In July, 2017 Mason PUD 3 commissioners approved a “Fiberhood Program,” designed to expand access to PUD 3’s fiber optic network for gigabit speed broadband service. Holzgrove added, “This program is a milestone in the history of PUD 3.”
To save money and improve the effectiveness of network extensions, the PUD turned to the Northwest Open Access Network (NoaNet) for support in demand aggregation. Because NoaNet uses the COS Service Zones platform it offered its use in partnership with COS.
PUD 3’s “Fiberhood” process identifies potential neighborhoods that are unserved or underserved by broadband providers. Among other factors, expansion of service is based on a guaranteed level of customer commitment to obtain service from the fiber optic network. Cost recovery for the project comes through a monthly “construction adder fee” paid back over 12 years. As a public utility, it is PUD 3’s intent to recover costs, not create a profit.
“A demand aggregation campaign to secure a commitment for connections was based on two components,” said Holzgrove. “First, we can ensure that we are investing in areas with demand and commitment. Connecting areas with great initial take-rates, means revenue to fund continuous deployment. Second, many residents are clamoring for faster and more reliable Internet connection. Building first, where most people want it and will commit for it, is fair.”
Mason PUD 3 is a founding member of NoaNet. The PUD sought NoaNet’s support in setting up the demand aggregation campaign.
“Kitsap PUD, another one of our forming members, has had positive experiences using COS System’s software,” said Angela Bennink, communications and outreach director at NoaNet. “We recently initiated a partnership to broaden NoaNet offerings to include demand aggregation and Open Access network operations. In cooperation with the COS experts we are happy to support Mason PUD 3 with the software and support they need to quickly launch their demand aggregation campaign.”
“At COS we are very excited to be a part of this project,” said Bjorn Wannman, COS systems manager of partnerships and strategic accounts. “Mason PUD 3 has a confirmed need for better broadband in their area, and a very attractive offer to their subscribers. I am positive it will be a great success, especially with such an experienced partner as NoaNet by their side.”
About Mason PUD3
Mason PUD 3 serves over 34,000 electric customers in Mason County, Washington. PUD 3 also runs a wholesale fiber optic telecommunications network, which supports the operation of its electricity system. For more information see www.pud3.org/fiberhood. For the COS Service Zones campaign platform, visit www.pud3.servicezones.net.
Northwest Open Access Network (NoaNet) is a wholesale only telecommunications provider. With a world that is becoming ever more digital, it is critical for communities to have access to high quality telecommunications technology that is affordable. We engage our mission to serve as a platform provider for the State by consistently looking for new opportunities to expand in Washington in meaningful ways that bridge the digital divide. Our goal is to be innovative and meet the changing needs of the Washington community. For additional information, see http://www.noanet.net.
NoaNet was formed in 2000 as a non-profit corporation by a number of Public Utility Districts in Washington State in order to provide access to high speed broadband statewide. They currently offer fiber related services and operate a fiber ring spanning thousands of miles throughout the entire State of Washington allowing the forming PUD’s, but also private providers and municipalities to connect to the backbone to serve areas where high speed broadband was often not previously available.
About COS Systems
COS SYSTEMS is a leading provider of software to plan, deploy and manage modern broadband networks that support services from one or more providers, using a powerful yet simple self-service interface. COS Systems takes customer needs and delivers innovative software solutions that streamline operations, accelerate revenue and deliver more satisfied subscribers. Learn more about COS Systems on www.cossystems.com.
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