Anacortes broadband

Fiber equipment at the Anacortes Public Library for the city’s municipal broadband network in April 2019.

ANACORTES — The city of Anacortes will not select a contractor by year’s end to install fiber optic internet for homes and businesses, which will likely result in another delay for customers who have signed up for the service.

The city began taking orders for fiber internet in October with plans to begin customer installations as early as November in the Central Business District — one of three pilot areas in the city’s planned municipal broadband network.

Due to challenges in finding a contractor qualified to install both the outdoor aerial fiber drop and indoor equipment, the city had set a new goal of mid-January for the first customer installations. The timeline may be pushed back further now.

Emily Schuh, director of administrative services, said the city received one bid this month for fiber installation in the pilot areas. While the bid meets the city’s criteria, it has a higher per install cost than projected, she said.

The Anacortes City Council will not take action on the bid until January, she said. If the council rejects the bid, the city will solicit bids again through a competitive bid process as required by state law.

Meanwhile, the city is considering doing the installations itself until it finds a contractor, Schuh said. In October, the city installed fiber internet service at Barrett Financial — the first privately owned building to receive municipal fiber in Anacortes.

Schuh said the city has received 704 orders for fiber internet service, including 155 in the three pilot areas and 47 in the Central Business District.

The city’s goal is to build out the network to make high-speed fiber internet available to every home and business in Anacortes.

— Reporter Jacqueline Allison: jallison@skagitpublishing.com, 360-416-2145, Twitter: @Jacqueline_SVH

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