Ellensburg, located in central Washington, is considering the pros and cons of a municipal fiber network. A big pro for the community of 18,000 is the ability to predict costs rather than depend on Charter Communications. Charter wants to begin charging $10,300 per month for municipal connectivity it previously supplied at no cost in return for access to the public rights-of-way.
The Ellensburg Daily Record recently reported that the City Council unanimously passed the first reading of an ordinance that will allow the city to establish a telecommunications utility. The city began using Charter's fiber optic network in 1997 as part of the city's franchise agreement. Educational institutions, public safety, and the county public utilities district also use the network. Ellensburg owns and operates its own electric and natural gas utilities. Energy Services Director Larry Dunbar was quoted:
“It’s clearly in the city’s best interest to just build it on its own and own it, compared to leasing it,” he said.
The community needs approximately 15 miles of fiber optic network to replace Charter's institutional network. The two parties are still negotiating and may still reach an agreement for a new contract although the article reports:
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