Douglas County PUD Commissioners voted at their June meeting to use surplus revenues from the debt-free fiber-optics network to lower hookup costs for some county residents.
Customers who live in areas already served by the fiber-optic network will now pay $500 to hookup and the PUD will pay all costs after that..
Those who live outside the service area of the existing fiber network will continue to pay full hookup cost if they want to connect.
Local service providers use the regional PUDs’ fiber networks to sell fast Internet, telephone and cable TV services to county residents.
Douglas PUD officials put a moratorium on network buildout last July following revenue dips. During the moratorium, the PUD would connect only new fiber customers who agreed to pay the entire cost of the hookup.
Of the region’s three PUD-owned networks, Douglas PUD is the only network that is debt free and self-sustaining. Revenues from the $27.1 million network more than cover its maintenance and administration costs.
Currently about 45 percent of Douglas County residents have access to fiber.
Chelan County PUD’s network covers about 70 percent of the county but is $91 million in debt. The Grant PUD network covers 45 percent of the county but is about $70 million in debt.