How we use the Internet has changed dramatically since the heady days of the dot com boom. We now use the Internet for more than e-mail and surfing the web. Being online can include watching movies, video conferencing, playing online games and transferring large files.
We first connected to the Internet by attaching a modem to a voice telephone line. When web sites exploded what we called “Dialup” just wasn’t fast enough, web pages took forever to load. The phone companies came to the rescue with DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) which was a vast improvement in speed and also meant when you were on line you could still talk on the phone. The cable companies, not to be outdone also provided internet access.
Today, in a modern household with several laptops, Voice over IP (VoIP) phones, game consoles and a TV or two streaming Netflix and other services the load on a DSL or Cable is severely stressed. You can see this with drop outs and other artifacts.
What is wanted is more bandwidth, a fatter pipe to provide more data with no delays. The solution is a technology known as fiber optic broadband.
It would be nice if we had fiber optic access available here in Tillamook County. After all here along the coast of Tillamook we have several transpacific long distance fiber optic cables exchanging data with Hawaii, Japan, New Zealand etc. these go to the big data centers that provide users with access to web pages, movie streaming etc.
But we do have fiber available it just has not been made affordable to the residents of Tillamook. The fiber is owned by an Inter Government Agency and known as Tillamook Light Wave (TLW). The three agencies are Tillamook People’s Utility District (TPUD), the County Government of Tillamook and the Port of Tillamook Bay (POTB). They provide high speed fiber optic Internet access to the Court building, the Adventist hospital, schools, libraries, Cell towers, the city halls of several cities, the 911 building etc. There are a few large customers, but not many. According to the Tillamook Light Wave web site, they are in the business of providing affordable high speed telecommunications.
What will it take to provide easy affordable high speed access to the good burghers of Tillamook? What could be done is Tillamook Light Wave could become a “Municipal ISP” (Internet Service Provider). There are several municipal ISPs here in Oregon: Sandy, Independent, and Douglas are some. There are municipal ISPs across the US and in much of Europe. Some municipal ISPs are run by cities, some by Power Companies and in California there is one which is the Mendocino School district.
Municipal ISPs tend to be in rural areas and they help close the Urban Rural divide. When high speed internet comes to the rural areas, working at home and attracting companies doing back office work becomes attractive. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) estimate that bringing high speed fiber optic Internet access to Tillamook County would increase the income of the county by twenty million dollars.
Right now TPUD do the billing and accounting for Tillamook Light Wave. They are also ideally placed to be an ISP and phone company. Here are the reasons: They currently own the utility poles that connect power to every dwelling and building in Tillamook county. They have a billing system in place. They have a customer list. They own bucket trucks to attach the fiber to the poles. They are a known quantity to the residents of Tillamook County. Power companies across the US are in the business of Internet access.
I am a telecommunications engineer and will be happy to answer questions and provide help.