Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

By Kara Davidson
Gazette Reporter 

Port gets report on calls for fiber bids

 

January 3, 2019



Port of Whitman County commissioners received an update at their Dec. 20 meeting following a request for services which were issued in November for the fiber to the home projects.

The port has received grants and loans from the Washington State Department of Commerce for $1 million to be combined with a $2 million match from the port to extend fiber to houses in Garfield, Oakesdale, Palouse, Rosalia and Tekoa.

The port also issued requests for proposals for a design contractor for the project.

Two companies provided the port with proposals for the operator service. The operator would be required to activate and operate the line system after it is installed.

Kara Riebold, chief operating officer of the Port, said Noel Communications from Yakima, received the top rating of the two operations applicants because they had responded to questions on local staffing and services.

Pocket iNet, operators for fiber in Walla Walla and the Tri-Cities, did not respond to questions on who would be the representative for the system in this area, Riebold, explained.

Negotiations on an operations contract are expected at a later date.

None of the proposals for a fiber-to-the-home design appealed to the port staff. The pricing was far higher than the port had anticipated, and the companies who made the proposals were either from out-of-state or from the west side of the state.

The Port of Whitman decided to look for other alternatives.

Riebold also told the port commissioners the Port of Garfield has inquired about assistance on a fiber project at Pomeroy. Port staffers there have applied for a state CERB (Community Economic Revitalization Board) grant to extend fiber to residents in Pomeroy. The port commissioners could request to be added to the system with Lewiston and Clarkston.

 
 

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