2010

State of broadband in Washington: Fast and plentiful, in cities (Seattle Times) December 28, 2010

Washington residents generally have good access to fast broadband services – as long as they’re not living in rural areas. That’s the gist of the first comprehensive report from the Washington State Broadband Office. A federal program to assess and improve the nation’s broadband funded the office, which is part of the state Department of Information Services.

Company wins bid to splice fiber optics (Wenatchee World) December 21, 2010

The East Wenatchee office of a Stanwood-based company Monday became one of the first three winning bidders for part of a federally funded project to extend the Chelan County PUD’s fiber-optic network.

Chelan PUD approves 2 percent rate hike (Wenatchee World) November 9, 2010

Chelan County PUD power customers will pay an extra 2 percent per month starting Dec. 1 to help the utility pay its share of a federal grant to extend the fiber-optic network.

PUD posts fiber optic locations (Wenatchee World (October 19, 2010)

Chelan County PUD officials have updated their website with the addresses of some 6,000 additional customers who will have access to fiber optics by mid 2013, when the network is extended to 98 percent of county residents.

Provider rates to increase (Lake Chelan Mirror) October 10, 2010

Wholesale internet rates will jump $4 per customer per month starting in 2011, raising an additional $200,000 for the financially strapped Chelan County Public Utility District and giving customers faster internet speeds.

Broadband summit set in Moses Lake (Columbia Basin Herald) October 7, 2010

Highlighting the success and true impact of high-speed Internet in four industries are goals of the Oct. 13 rural broadband summit at Big Bend Community College.

Grant PUD not among fiber recipients (Columbia Basin Herald) October 6, 2010

Grant County PUD isn’t among the newest round of federal funding recipients selected to expand high-speed Internet service.

Faster fiber speeds and rates approved (Wenatchee World) October 3, 2010

Users of the Chelan County PUD’s fiber-optic network could see Internet speeds four to 16 times faster as soon as Wednesday.

Faster fiber screaming this way (Wenatchee World)  October 1, 2010

Internet speeds at prices no competitor can touch are planned for users of the Chelan County PUD’s fiber-optic network.

Chelan PUD commissioners endorse strategic plan; get first look at budget steps (Chelan PUD) September 27, 2010

With slight changes to the utility’s Mission and Vision statements, Chelan County PUD commissioners on Monday authorized implementation of an updated Strategic Plan. The plan looks primarily at the next five years but is intended to set the PUD on a course toward long-term financial stability, efficient, responsible operation and solid relationships with customers, employees and agencies that have a say in how the PUD operates.

Many favor fiber stimulus funds (Columbia Basin Herald) September 21, 2010

Most people who spoke at a public meeting in Moses Lake agreed Grant County PUD should accept federal stimulus funds to expand Internet service.

The majority of telephone survey results shared Monday at a commission meeting also shared the same sentiment.

Why are we expanding the Fiber Optic Network? (Wenatchee World, Signs of Intelligence Blog) September 13, 2010

The Fiber Optic PUD internet access that is being promoted by the PUD is not exactly what I would call Earth Shattering, Decent, Fair, or even 20th century. I have been looking through the various deals that local ISP’s are offering and they range from stupefying to down right shameless.

Grant PUD shelves fee idea (Columbia Basin Herald) August 31, 2010

Grant County PUD is setting aside the idea of a customer surcharge and revisiting the issue later this fall during more budget talks.

The purpose of a surcharge would be to temporarily raise rates if the district’s reserves fall below $100 million. The year-end projection for the reserve fund is $95.4 million…

The PUD pays $120,800 per full time equivalent and the fiber’s losing about $5 million a year, he said.

PUD will accept $25 million fiber grant (Wenatchee World) August 25, 2010

Chelan County PUD commissioners this morning unanimously agreed to accept a $25 million federal grant that, when matched with the utility’s own funds, will extend fast Internet capability to 98 percent of Chelan County residents.

Grant PUD starts budget talks (Columbia Basin Herald) August 24, 2010

A 4 percent rate increase, more below-average water and a possible customer surcharge are issues surrounding Grant County PUD’s proposed $494 million budget for 2011.

As part of the budget talks, General Manager Tim Culbertson said staff was returning to the commissioners next week with a proposal for a temporary customer surcharge and to discuss rate structures.

Consultant says plan will work for the long run (Wenatchee World) August 24, 2010

No private company would likely ever have agreed to build a fiber-optic network in Chelan County. If you want to make money, it just doesn’t pencil out.

 PUD patrons favor fiber, survey finds (Wenatchee World) August 24, 2010

More than 60 percent of Chelan County PUD customers polled say the utility should accept a $25 million federal grant to extend high-speed Internet capacity to virtually all county residents – even if it means everyone will have to pay slightly higher electric rates.

Fiber for all may be too much (Wenatchee World) August 21, 2010

We should know by now that liking something and paying for it are two different things. There is a lot to like with Chelan County PUD’s broadband fiber-to-the-door network, otherwise known as PUD fiber. But, there is a lot to pay for, and we should decide how deep we have to go before we get any more. It may be that something very good comes at too high a cost.

On PUD fiber — a tough choice (Wenatchee World) August 20, 2010

Many of you know the PUD began building a broadband fiber-to-the-home network in the county in 2001. We’ve reached about 85 percent of the county’s population, and what’s left are the most remote and rural parts of our county. This fiber network allows other independent companies to offer high-speed broadband Internet and telecommunications services to businesses and other consumers. Since the fiber network doesn’t pay for itself, and probably never will, our electric rates have had to be higher. The last couple of years have hit the PUD budget hard, and we postponed finishing the network. When we asked people about this decision in a survey last year, most of them favored a delay, especially when we talked about how much it would cost to complete the fiber network.

Grant no easy money for Chelan PUD (Wenatchee World) August 17, 2010

Facing a tight federal timeline, the Chelan County PUD may have to decide as early as next week whether to accept a $25 million stimulus grant to complete the utility’s fiber-optic network.

PUDs to sue state for tax collections (Wenatchee World) August 5, 2010

Chelan and Grant County PUDs will jointly sue the state Department of Revenue to recover taxes they say were erroneously collected from the utilities’ ratepayers in 2008 and 2009.

Feds offer Chelan PUD $25 million for fiber  (Wenatchee World) August 5, 2010

The feds have agreed to give the Chelan County PUD $25 million to extend fiber-optic service to the most rural areas of the county, utility officials learned Wednesday.

Rural Washington broadband effort get $40 million in federal funds (Puget Sound Business Journal) August 4, 2010

Rural areas in Chelan, Okanogan and Mason counties in Washington will get $39.8 million in federal grants to build high-speed internet lines.

PUD will carefully analyze federal fiber grant opportunity (Chelan County PUD) August 4, 2010

With help from consultants who are already evaluating the wholesale fiber-optics program from top to bottom, Chelan County PUD intends to look carefully at all the potential ramifications of accepting a $25 million grant to continue building out the fiber system to many remote areas not yet served in Chelan County.

Chelan PUD sales forecast better but still bad (Wenatchee World) August 3, 2010

May and June showers spelled summer flowers for the Chelan County PUD – in the form of nearly $4 million more from surplus power-sales revenue than utility analysts expected.

Janney to fill top spot at Chelan PUD (Wenatchee World) August 3, 2010

Chelan County PUD commissioners have unanimously named the utility’s chief financial and risk officer, John Janney, as the permanent replacement for former General Manager Rich Riazzi.

Chelan County PUD new executive manager and chief risk officer, John Janney. Photo provided. Janney, 48, had been serving as interim manager since Riazzi left last week to head a utility in his hometown area of Pittsburgh.

Grant PUD has to cut $28 million off budget (Wenatchee World) July 29, 2010

The Grant County PUD will cut $28 million from its budget this year as low river flows continue to wither its projected revenues.

PUD spokeswoman Sarah Morford said Wednesday that cuts to this year’s nearly $519 million budget are in addition to last year’s budget shortfall of $23 million.

Grant PUD cuts $28 million (Columbia Basin Herald) July 27, 2010

Grant County PUD General Manager Tim Culbertson finishes employee talks this week to answer questions about the utility’s financial situation.

The district expects to receive $80 million less this year because of the financial impacts of two below-average water years.

Grant PUD pursues $266K tax refund (Columbia Basin Herald) July 27, 2010

Grant County PUD commissioners agreed Monday to pursue a roughly $266,000 tax refund from the state Department of Revenue.

There’s opportunity for the PUD (Guest Ed: Verner Janssen, Wenatchee World) July 27, 2010

With the resignation of Rich Riazzi, the Chelan PUD commission has the opportunity to search for the best combination of management skills in a new leader. Manager Riazzi in his short tenure made a significant, but timid start toward major improvements.

Former Chelan councilwoman eyes PUD post (Wenatchee World) July 21, 2010

The Chelan city councilwoman who resigned her post to protest private use of PUD land at Lake Chelan will try to unseat Anne Congdon on the Chelan County PUD board.

Chelan PUD nets June gain in ‘negatively priced’ power trading (Wenatchee World)   July 15, 2010

The Chelan County PUD came out $13,000 ahead last month in its sales and purchases of market power at “negative” prices.

Douglas PUD to pay $27,000 for cyber audit dings (Wenatchee World) July 15, 2010

The Douglas County PUD will pay $27,000 for allegedly violating seven federal regulations designed to secure utilities’ computerized operating and security systems.

Janney will be interim [Chelan] PUD boss (Wenatchee World) July 7, 2010

Chelan County PUD commissioners Tuesday named John Janney to fill in for outgoing General Manager Rich Riazzi until the board hires a replacement.

Chelan PUD staying with lobby group – for now (Wenatchee World)   June 30, 2010

Chelan County PUD commissioners Tuesday agreed not to withdraw from a 75-year-old state public utility lobby group.

Chelan PUD’s debt floats past $1 billion (Wenatchee World) June 30, 2010

The Chelan County PUD is more than $1 billion in debt. To be precise, its debt totaled $1,044,346,398 through late 2009.

Grant PUD power is oversold (Wenatchee World) June 28, 2010

The public is not being told all the facts surrounding our dwindling power supply and financial concerns published in recent articles. Much is being said about all the new, large industrial companies moving in and expanding, creating jobs – companies like REC, SGL, Microsoft and other server farms in the Quincy area, with more companies coming.

Chelan PUD to withdraw from state lobby group (Wenatchee World) June 22, 2010

Exasperated by what they view as too much talk and not enough action, Chelan County PUD commissioners Monday agreed in a split vote to withdraw from the Washington PUD Association, a 75-year-old public utility advocacy organization.

Chelan PUD financial plan approved (Wenatchee World) June 22, 2010

Chelan County PUD commissioners Monday unanimously approved a five-year financial plan that staffers say will steer the now cash-strapped utility to solvency.

Grant PUD to cut budget (Columbia Basin Herald) May 28, 2010

Grant County PUD staff recommend commissioners reduce the district’s $517.8 million budget by more than $15 million.

Cost of PUD fiber-optics will increase before it gets cheaper(Wenatchee World) May 26, 2010

The latest projections show that costs to build and operate the Chelan County PUD’s fiber-optic network will continue to increase at least through 2013.

 Audit says PUD cooperation would save money  (Wenatchee World) May 25, 2010

A first-ever state “performance” audit of the Chelan, Douglas and Grant County PUDs concluded the utilities could save money by combining purchasing, computerized data services, real estate functions and administrative services.

Audit advises shared services for public utility district (Columbia Basin Herald) May 25, 2010

A state performance audit of public utility districts in Grant, Chelan and Douglas counties recommends they share services in the areas of insurance, information technology and procurement.

Chelan PUD agrees to pay fine after ‘cyber security’ audit(Wenatchee World ) May 18, 2010

The Chelan County PUD has agreed to pay $13,000 to settle a dispute with federal authorities over three alleged violations of standards for computerized security systems.

Chelan PUD to take hard look at fiber optics (Wenatchee World) May 6, 2010

An independent consultant will study the Chelan County PUD’s $80 million fiber-optic network for ways to lower costs, boost revenues and ensure its technology is up to date.

Breaking the Broadband Monopoly, How Communities Are Building the Networks They Need (The New Rules Project) May 2010

Across the country, hundreds of local governments, public power utilities, non-profits, and cooperatives have built successful and sometimes pioneering telecommunication networks that put community needs first.

These communities are following in the footsteps of the publicly owned power networks put in place a century before. We watch history repeating itself as these new networks are built for the same reasons: Incumbents refusing to provide service or charging high rates for poor service.

Chelan PUD gears up for next round of opinion gathering(Wenatchee World) April 13, 2010

How should the Chelan County PUD best spend its money? What could it do to protect its bottom line? What should happen with the fiber-optic program? Are PUD officials making the right decisions?

At what price fiber optic service (Werner Janssen Blog) March 23, 2010

The word on the street indicates the Chelan PUD may be considering an independent professional study concerning their fiber optic program. The study needs to explore ways for high speed broadband to serve Chelan County without sinking the Chelan PUD into further debt. I would urge the PUD to be open to selling the project to a private enterprise if generating sufficient revenue through the current business plan proves impossible.

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