Anacortes broadband

Anacortes Municipal Broadband Business Manager Jim Lemberg shows off fiber equipment April 12 at the Anacortes Public Library. Anacortes is now accepting orders for fiber internet service.

ANACORTES — Anacortes’ municipal fiber optic network, a project years in the making, is ready for its first customers.

The city began taking orders and pre-orders for fiber internet service Monday, Anacortes Administrative Services Director Emily Schuh said in an email. As of Thursday, the city had received 38 orders for fiber internet, she said.

Anacortes is rolling out the network in three pilot areas first, and hopes to make fiber internet available citywide by 2023, she said.

Residents and businesses in the first pilot area — the Central Business District, which includes O Avenue to Q Avenue, from Second Street to 19th Streets — may be able to get fiber internet service installed as soon as November, Schuh said.

The city expects service to be available in Old Town in the first quarter of 2020, and in the M Avenue pilot area in mid-2020, she said.

Anacortes has built a municipal fiber optic network to offer high-speed, reliable internet to residents and businesses at prices lower than those of competitors.

“We have reached a big milestone,” Anacortes Municipal Broadband Business Manager Jim Lemberg said Monday at the Anacortes City Council meeting.

Customers can order or pre-order fiber internet service on the city’s website. Schuh said residents outside the pilot areas are encouraged to pre-order service to help the city gauge interest in the network by neighborhood.

There are two speeds available: 100 megabits per second (Mbps), or 1 gigabit per second (Gbps), according to an online order form.

Residential customers can pay $39 a month for 100 Mbps, or $69 a month for 1 Gbps. The prices for businesses are $89 a month for 100 Mbps or $149 a month for 1 Gbps. A managed WiFi router costs an extra $10 a month.

There is a one-time $100 installation fee to hook up fiber to a home or business.

The Anacortes City Council approved about $3 million in its two-year budget last year to start the network, with the goal to have it pay for itself as more customers sign up. The city’s goal is to capture at least 35% of potential customers to make its business plan work.

Schuh said between the three pilot areas for the network, there are 894 possible fiber hookups.

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

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