West Hood Canal Residents:
It’s been a long while since our last public meeting, and we have been working to secure the necessary contracts with the various parties to begin launching the network before the snows return this winter. After all this time we received our final terms from the company in Hawaii (yes, Hawaii) who purchased the towers on Mt Jupiter this spring.
And then something else happened. When we plugged our trusty radio in to do some site surveys, we noticed a new signal from the tower. A commercial provider had arrived. On July 28, North Olympic Wireless launched wireless service from the same tower we had been negotiating to use on Mt Jupiter. NOPDC is the same company we had mentioned in our original presentations, and who has also been attending all of our community meetings along the way.
While we can’t claim original inspiration, they were moved by the community interest, and have been planning expansion to our area. That day has arrived, as service is now available for the Dosewallips river valley, and has been available to homes with line of sight to Seabeck since late last year.
For us working on the West Canal Community Broadband Project, a lot of time and energy went into designing the network, finding vendors, community meetings, and financial planning. It would have been exciting to put that work to good use, and have the chance to create a permanent non-profit whose goal is to drive pricing lower and expand access for the community. While we’re disappointed that our non-profit idea won’t go forward, there are a lot of advantages to this plan: North Olympic Wireless (NOPDC) already has a local team who do this full time, they have more experience, and they offer services at lower price points than we could.
While we’re not managing the radios ourselves, we believe our project brought visibility to a dire need in the community, and had a hand in encouraging someone like NOPDC to bring service faster than they would have otherwise.