Sprint and KPUD establish a high-speed understanding

POULSBO — While it wasn’t exactly what Sprint was looking for, it was better than nothing at all.

The company recently came to an agreement with the Kitsap County Public Utilities District about using the county’s high-speed telecommunications system.

Late last year, Sprint requested to use a portion of the KPUD’s unlit, or dark, fiber optics as a way to provide high speed services for Sprint customers in the North End, an out-of-territory market for the company. CenturyTel is the primary telephone and telecommunication provider for the North End.

“Dark” or “unlit” fibers are fiber optics that are not currently in use.

However, the utilities district didn’t have policies or procedures in place to lease or swap dark fibers to outside communication companies. Officials had considered it when they originally developed the business model for the fiber optic system, but decided against it after hearing about negative outcomes with dark fibers at other PUDs.

KPUD utilities operations manager Mike Koepke said the district responded to Sprint’s request at the district’s weekly meeting Jan. 27.

The KPUD will consider partnering with Sprint to contract out portions of their dark fibers on a case-by-case basis in the future, Koepke said.

Since 2000, the PUD has been establishing a $5 million fiber optic network throughout the county. The system, which transfers information at the speed of light, is used to monitor KPUDs’ water system. The underground glass fibers only reach as far north as the Port Gamble Indian Reservation, but the KPUD has plans to expand fibers into other areas of the North End.

The fibers can also be used for telephone, digital and high-speed Internet capabilities.

While Sprint officials were hoping KPUD would establish a policy, they understood that the district, which is new in the business of telecommunications, needs to go at its own pace, Camp said.

“The meeting was a good meeting,” Camp commented. “It came to an understanding of what we were looking for.”

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