High Speed Internet is coming to the Key Peninsula.
Pierce County announced in a press release Monday its partnership with Comcast.
The agreement: “will expand the availability of high-speed Internet services on the Key Peninsula,” the statement said.
The Internet expansion will bring a “fast, reliable fiber-rich network and a full suite of services to more than 526 homes and businesses on the Key Peninsula,” according to the release.
The project is estimated at around $5 million. Pierce County is contributing $3.75 million from the American Rescue Plan Act.
“In July 2021, Pierce County committed $15 million in US federal Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) money to help close broadband gaps in the county,” Erin Babbo, chief executive, told Gateway on Tuesday. communications for Pierce County. “All ARPA funds must be expended by 2026 and meet donor requirements.”
The rest of the cost of the Key Peninsula project will be covered by Comcast, Babbo said. Comcast will also build the infrastructure.
“Now, more than ever, it’s critical that people have access to high-speed internet,” Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier said in the statement. “Whether it’s for work, school or play, we want to help all county residents enjoy the benefits of this important infrastructure.”
Pierce County and Comcast expect construction to begin late this summer after finalizing the design and beginning the permitting process, Babbo said.
They estimate construction will be complete by the end of 2024, Babbo said.
“Once permits are obtained and construction begins on public rights-of-way, Comcast will create an online resource for residents seeking information about network construction in their neighborhood, including answers to frequently asked questions and details on products and services,” the press release told me.
Plans for this project began in November 2021, when Pierce County began looking for potential partners to expand high-speed internet access to areas of Pierce County identified as unserved or underserved, Babbo said.
“Comcast was one of the respondents selected for their proposal to serve addresses in the North Key Peninsula Broadband Development District,” Babbo said.
Large parts of the Key Peninsula do not have access to internet service that meets a minimum 25 Mbps download/3 Mbps upload speed, Babbo told Gateway.
“Pierce County recognizes the public interest that broadband service can contribute to economic development and quality of life for local communities and businesses in underserved and unserved areas,” Babbo said. “All of our communities need to have access to this essential utility.”
How much will it cost residents?
Once WAN is activated on the Key Peninsula, prices will vary by plan.
Comcast’s home Internet services range from $19.99 to $80 per month, according to their website, and business Internet services range from $49.99 to $349.99 per month.
Residents will be able to sign up for the company’s Internet Essentials program, which provides low-cost high-speed broadband to low-income households, according to Babbo.
The Interest Essentials program offers free internet access to eligible residents through an application process.
“Comcast has connected more than 21,000 Pierce County homes to high-speed home internet, many for the first time, through the Internet Essentials program,” Babbo said.
Others may qualify for the Affordable Connectivity Program, Babbo said, which provides eligible households with a $30 monthly credit for internet and mobile services.