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News and comments on community broadband networks, the communities deploying them and the technologies that support them. Published by Denise Frey and Al Bonnyman.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2003

 

Bickering continues over FTTH project at Grant County PUD

Bickering continues over FTTH project at Grant County PUD

"Grant County PUD commissioners have directed their attorney and auditor to work to recover all inappropriate payments made to Benton REA, Power Telnet and GVNW in response to a report given by independent investigator James Austin."

The investigator has already stated that any mistakes made in Grant County PUD's dealings with Benton REA and the other players in Grant County's award-winning FTTH (fiber to the home) project were technical in nature and made with the best interests of the utility in mind. However, the controversy continues, kept alive in part by some PUD customers that never wanted the fiber project in the first place. In spite of the investigator's recommendations to not move too quickly on recovering any improper payments, the board is apparently moving ahead anyway.

Some of the difficulty stems from Washington State laws that forbid the PUD from offering service directly to subscribers but instead require them to act as a wholesaler to multiple retail service providers. Cable TV and telecom company lobbyists love to impose this requirement on utilities that want to offer FTTH because they know how much harder it makes it for them to get their FTTH business going.

If I have been reading the newspaper reports correctly (they're a little confusing), the PUD apparently tried to help Benton REA, their first provider, get started offering services so the FTTH system's users would be able to get service. Sounds like a good idea -- too bad they're getting punished for taking some initiative.

Article

Grant County Zipp Network

(P.S., if someone else knows more about this case -- or has a link to the investigator's report -- I'd be interested to hear from them)

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