FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

Here you can find answers to the most commonly asked questions. If you cannot find the answer to your questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us!

Answer: Broadband internet (FCC defined as 25mbps download/3mbps upload) is critical for today's digital economy, educational resources, public safety, and more. The state of Washington State Broadband Office has set the goal for every home and business in the state to have access to at least 150/150mbps broadband service by the year 2028.

Broadband deployment is increasingly considered an essential infrastructure. In today's connected world, it is extremely difficult to fully engage in learning, working, or accessing healthcare without the availability of high-speed internet services. 100 years ago, the major infrastructure push was to get electricity to all Americans. Today, it's high-speed internet.

Answer: The primary technologies utilized for the delivery of high-speed internet service are: wireline (fiber optic, copper, cable), land-based wireless (microwave, 5G), and satellite. 

Wireline: Fiber-optic broadband infrastructure is considered the "gold standard" of these options because it can support unlimited bandwidth use and has minimal signal degradation over long distances. Copper wire loses about 94% of its bandwidth capacity over 100 meters, whereas fiber-optic line only loses about 3% over the same distance. While wireline generally provides the most reliable service, it is also more expensive to deploy.

Wireless: Wireless is a good solution when wireline infrastructure is cost-prohibitive due to difficult geography, which would be very expensive to get a wireline solution to, or in rural areas with low building density. However, wireless infrastructure can be impacted by weather, trees, and other environmental factors.

Satellite: Satellite technologies, including traditional and low-Earth orbit, are useful resources for remote locations where wireline and wireless are not available. However, due to their high latency and instability of data transmission, the FCC does not recognize satellite internet service as broadband. As such, current grant programs will not award grant funds for satellite deployment. 

Answer: In March 2020, the PUD launched a community-wide broadband survey. The survey aimed to understand if Lewis County residents and businesses were satisfied with broadband service availability. The survey also included a speed test component so the PUD could understand areas that were or were not being served adequately. 3,673 respondents took the survey, showing that 77.2% did not have access to adequate internet speeds. 97% of survey respondents indicated that they feel broadband is an essential utility like power and water.

Because of the volume of responses the PUD received expressing dissatisfaction with current internet speeds, the PUD began working to acquire grant funds to build updated infrastructure. To date, the PUD has received 5 grants to build fiber optic broadband infrastructure for communities throughout the PUD's service area. The PUD will build the network needed to provide 1Gbps/1Gbps services to funded areas and then open the network to qualified service providers to serve our communities.

The PUD will also be able to use a small portion of this infrastructure to support its electric system infrastructure.

Please take the survey if your home or business is not in a grant-funded area! Your survey information will be used to provide compelling data to help the PUD apply for more grants and expand the fiber network to more unserved and underserved areas. (Don't worry- we will never share personally identifiable data, only statistics.)

Answer: The PUD is continuously working to secure funding from state and federal agencies to deploy broadband infrastructure to unserved and underserved areas in the PUD service territory. Once grant funds are awarded, the PUD will begin building on a rolling basis. Construction is currently underway for some communities; for others, it may take several years. 

As of March 2024, the PUD has received grant awards to deploy fiber optic broadband infrastructure to the projects outlined below. To check if your property is included in one of these awards, please use the search tool on the homepage

Answer: This portal will be where you'll eventually sign up for services in the broadband marketplace. After submitting an application for a line extension and getting a fiber drop to your home or business, this portal will have all participating Retail Service Provider's services available for purchase. Watch the video below for a sneak peek of an example marketplace!

As infrastructure is expanded, you will receive communications from the PUD on how and when you are eligible to apply for a fiber drop and join the community network. To check the current status of your property, please search your address in the search tool on the homepage.

We are excited to support provider expansion into new markets and to have a thriving broadband ecosystem in Lewis County!

Answer: No. The PUD’s cost-based electric rates are derived primarily from the cost of wholesale power and the operation and maintenance of the electrical system.

The PUD is maximizing the grant funds available to leverage fiber optic network buildout for our communities. 

The PUD’s telecommunications and electric services operate on a not-for-profit basis. The PUD is customer-owned, which means there are no shareholders for whom profits must be generated. The revenue the PUD receives from its customers is used to operate and maintain the infrastructure that provides service.


FAQ for Broadband Survey

General questions regarding the broadband survey can be found here

Answer: The survey will only take about 5 minutes to complete and the information will be invaluable for LCPUD to evaluate if the Internet needs of the community are being met and, if not, help to secure grant funds to build the needed infrastructure.

Answer: This survey requires you to provide your address so that we can ensure you live in an area where we collect survey information.

Answer: Absolutely not! The survey is for informational use only to identify areas that are unserved or underserved by current internet services. There is absolutely no commitment or obligation attached.

Answer: Yes. As long as you can reach the survey/signup form on your device, it will work for taking the survey. To get the most accurate speed test possible, please connect to your home or business Internet service with a wireline connection, or be close to your wireless access point.

Answer: If your address is not found, please send us a message through the contact tab at the top of the page. Our staff will review your address and get back to you.

Answer: If you want to update your survey answers, just take the survey again. This will replace the previous version on file. Please note that you'll need to use a different email address.

Answer: Only one survey per household/business will be accepted. If you live in an apartment building, please include your unit number so we know it is a separate residence. If you run a business out of your home, you can submit a survey as a resident of the address as well as an additional survey for the needs of your business, just make sure you select the appropriate customer type at the beginning of the survey.

Answer: The data collected will be used as statistical data to understand the community's broadband needs and opinions. Additionally, the data may be used to support grant applications to obtain funding to build networks in areas found to be unserved and underserved. Any information from the survey presented publicly or in applications will not include any personally identifying details.

Answer: This survey is only a data collection tool to understand your community’s broadband needs and to help secure grant funds to build infrastructure. This does not mean there are any plans to build new infrastructure to your area currently. Once grant funds are secured for a community, the PUD will reach out to residents and businesses in the build area with more information. 

For the most current status of your address, please use the search tool on the homepage

Answer: Lewis County PUD is utilizing the open-access operations model for our broadband network. This means that several qualified Retail Service Providers (RSPs) can share the network equally to provide services to end users. The PUD has chosen the open-access operating model because it has been shown to reduce service costs and improve the customer experience for end users. The reason for these positive consumer outcomes is that in an open-access marketplace with multiple providers, the providers must compete to gain customers' business. If someone is unsatisfied with their service quality, customer service experience, or other reasons, they can elect to change providers through our broadband marketplace. 

Answer: If you have an issue with your existing broadband service, please contact your current Retail Service Provider (RSP). Your RSP will assess your home connection and help you troubleshoot the issue. 

Answer: The PUD has a $100 one-time non-refundable fiber application fee for all customers. For addresses included in grant areas, that may be the only cost to the home or business owner, as the grant will cover the infrastructure costs. For non-grant-funded addresses and areas, there may be an additional one-time line extension fee. The property owner and the PUD will coordinate that cost on a case-by-case basis. 

For active services, the monthly recurring costs between the property owner and the Retail Service Provider (RSP) will be shown in the marketplace. These rates may fluctuate over time as market conditions evolve, and it is at the sole discretion of each RSP to determine. 

Answer: Congratulations on your new home! If you have searched your address, and it is not showing as a grant-funded premises, your home is not part of the grant award package. This is because if your home didn't exist at the time of the application (often 3-4 years ago), then we couldn't request funds to build to it. In this case, you must coordinate with the PUD on a line extension agreement if you'd like to connect to the LCPUD community network. Please take the survey available after searching for your address to let us know about your interest in future service.

Please note: The survey does not start the application process but will log your information with the PUD.

If you're currently under construction, we encourage all new homeowners to build conduits to their homes for future fiber to be pulled through. This will provide huge cost savings down the road if fiber becomes available! Please contact the PUD for specs for conduit placement that will meet current codes and compliance requirements.