Crews from Spokane-based Potelco were stringing new fiber optic cable along Cherry Street in Oroville last Monday. The new cable is part an Okanogan County PUD project where 180 cable miles of fiber is being installed along Highway 97 from the Canadian Border to Pateros and along Highway 153 from Pateros to the Methow Valley. The project is being paid for through a $9 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) awarded to the PUD to bolster high speed broadband access in rural America. Along with the new fiber optic cable, 172 wifi modules, or outdoor access points, are being installed on power poles and one and a half mile intervals. Each of these modules will be connected to a fiber optic line and will provide access to broadband by customers who subscribe to Internet Service Providers (ISPs), retailers, who use the PUD system. Like the current PUD internet system, the PUD will act as wholesalers. “People will be able to subscribe to an ISP and connect to the module to gain access to broadband,” said John MacDonald, Network Engineer with the PUD. “We have tested the system and people can expect speeds up to 10 megabits a second from about three-quarters of a mile away from a module.” MacDonald said the network is being engineered in such a way that it will not be over-subscribed and slow down access. He said that if some areas have more subscribers a second module may be added in the area to prevent slow-downs from happening. “At this point we are running cable to about Veranda Beach on the east side of the lake and to the Canadian border on the west side,” said MacDonald. “We will be going from the north in Oroville to Pateros first, then from Pateros to the Methow.” He said there are also plans to run spurs along Havillah Road, up Swanson Mill Road, South Pine Creek and to Loomis, as well as to Wannacut Lake. Gary DeVon/staff photo
About Gary DeVon
Gary DeVon is the managing editor of the Okanogan Valley Gazette-Tribune and celebrated his 25th year at the newspaper in August 2012. He graduated from Gonzaga University with a degree in Communications - Print Journalism, with an emphasis in photojournalism. He is a proud alumnus of Oroville High School. His family first settled in Okanogan County in the late 1800s. His parents are Judy DeVon and the late Larry DeVon and he has two younger brothers - Dante and Michael. Many family members still call Oroville home. He has a grown daughter, Segornae Douglas and a young granddaughter, Erin.