ANACORTES — The city of Anacortes plans to gauge public interest in a proposed municipal fiber optic internet network that could be cheaper and faster than what is currently offered in the area.

The city will work with municipal telecommunications organization Northwest Open Access Network to conduct a survey of residents and businesses.

On Monday, the City Council approved conducting the survey, which will cost about $10,000.

The city is building a $3 million fiber optic network to control its public works utilities. If there is enough demand, the city could utilize that network to offer fiber optic internet to residents and businesses.

A survey will help the city determine if there’s demand, said city Administrative Services Director Emily Schuh. If there is, the next steps would include creating business models and establishing cost estimates.

If the city moves forward with providing fiber optic internet, it would operate it as a utility, Schuh said. The city would be tasked with network maintenance and repairs.

Northwest Open Access Network could provide a customer support line, said Angela Bennink, outreach and communications director with the network.

The city could also choose to rent its fiber optic line to other broadband providers.

— Reporter Aaron Weinberg: 360-416-2145, aweinberg@skagitpublishing.com, Facebook.com/byaaronweinberg

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