Anacortes Municipal Broadband Business Manager Jim Lemberg shows off the fiber strands in a room at the Anacortes Public Library.

ANACORTES — The Anacortes City Council unanimously approved fees Monday for fiber optic internet service for residences and businesses.

It was the latest step toward building a citywide broadband network.

The City Council first passed a resolution Monday establishing the city’s right to charge for fiber internet service just as it charges for water, sewer, other utilities, and impact and development fees.

Council members then approved fees of $39 a month for 100 megabit per second (Mbps) service, and $69 a month for 1 gigabit per second (Gbps) for residences. The prices for businesses are $89 a month for 100 Mbps and $149 for 1 Gbps.

Jim Lemberg, the city’s municipal broadband business manager, told council members May 20 that staff developed the prices after a review of competitors’ prices, customer invoices and word-of-mouth reports from residents.

“We wanted to be lower than incumbents’ published prices,” he said.

The prices will remain the same, unless the City Council votes to raise them, Lemberg told the Skagit Valley Herald on Tuesday.

There will also be a one-time $100 installation charge to bring fiber from utility poles to individual homes and businesses. There is an optional $10 monthly fee for those who wish to rent a WiFi router from the city, Lemberg said.

The fiber optic network will not include TV or phone service.

Now that prices are set, the next step is to begin recruiting customers in the Central Business District and later in Old Town, two of three pilot areas for the project, Lemberg said.

To make its business plan successful, the city hopes to get 35% of total possible customers to sign up for the internet service.

Meanwhile, the city is working on other parts of the project.

That includes building fiber distribution networks in neighborhoods, hiring two new staff members, and exploring a remodel of the first floor of City Hall to make more room for the fiber department, Lemberg told council members Monday.

“We are making progress, not as quickly as I would like, but we are making progress,” he said.

The city has budgeted $3.1 million over the next two years to start up the network. Over the next four years, it hopes to expand the network citywide, according to city documents.

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

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