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Utility may provide fast Internet

Lighting fast Internet to every home? Wireless access in downtown Truckee?

Those were two possibilities that the Truckee Donner Public Utility District board members considered at their regular meeting Wednesday.

Directors listened to officials with high-tech firms Quanta Services, North Sky Communications and 180 Connect say that they could deliver such services on behalf of the public utility.



The company representatives asserted that fast broadband service could be delivered to every home in the Truckee area within two years.

One of the possibilities would be to run fiber-optic cables directly to everyone’s house.



“The fiber to the home is the gold standard,” said district Director Ron Hemig. “We have to decide; this is a whole new ball game.”

When the district previously raised the possibility of providing Internet service, some competitors objected the utility’s proposal. Cequel III, the parent company of Truckee cable provider Suddenlink, which offers broadband Internet service, filed suit against the utility in 2004, delaying the district’s research and timeline. The Truckee utility won the legal battle in April.

Although those who addressed the issue said the cost of the system’s infrastructure is unknown, district Telecomm Support Manager Alan Harry said the price to the consumer would be competitive.

Harry also noted that California law prohibits the district from spending money earmarked for electrical or water services to furnish broadband service.

Thomas Jones of 180 Connect noted the project could offer WiFi or wireless Internet access throughout the business corridor, from downtown through west Truckee.

“We at the district think that WiFi would be a great asset,” Harry said.

If the utility board decides to provide Internet service, the district would lease the infrastructure from an investor, who would provide the tech companies with the capital needed to build the system and manage the project.


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