Chelan and Douglas and other Washington public utility districts have been covering net losses for NoaNet since its inception and backing the considerable debt that was necessary to deploying NoaNet’s fiber-optic facilities. In an earlier Wenatchee World article, Christine Pratt writes,
Since NoaNet’s inception, Grant PUD has paid approximately $2.7 million, and Chelan about $2 million. Douglas has paid $870,000, and Okanogan a little less than Douglas.
Individual PUDs have found it necessary even after a decade to continue to use electric ratepayer funds to subsidize the operational net losses of their own fiber-broadband programs. As electric rates have increased, local pressure mounts for these programs to stand on their own or go out of business. The annual assessments they each send to NoaNet is money they could use to support their own fiber operations.
Not only does NoaNet membership require hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual (proportional) assessments from its member PUDs (especially Chelan and Grant due to their large size), but NoaNet’s member PUDs are financially liable for all debt repayment with little or no expectation today that new fiber deployments will produce the net revenues necessary for debt repayment of NoaNet’s lines of credit.
Grant PUD’s consideration of withdrawal from NoaNet failed on a 2-2 tie vote with one commissioner absent.