Kitsap PUD want to expand Wi-Fi to Port Orchard

Kitsap Public Utility District Business Manager David Jones show a ground of POBSA members an antenna that is being used to create free Wi-Fi. - Dannie Oliveaux/Staff Photo
Kitsap Public Utility District Business Manager David Jones show a ground of POBSA members an antenna that is being used to create free Wi-Fi.
— image credit: Dannie Oliveaux/Staff Photo

Hard to find a Wi-Fi hot spot downtown for your cellphone, labtop computer or iPad. Well, that could change in the near future.

Kitsap Public Utility District wants to expand its free Wi-Fi service to downtown Port Orchard.

PUD currently is providing free Wi-Fi hot spots in Poulsbo and Kingston, and is working with the Bainbridge Island Chamber of Commerce to being the free service to residents.

PUD Business Manager David Jones told members of the Port Orchard Bay Street Association (POBSA) last week his district wants to expand its free Wi-Fi throughout the county.

“We want to empower people’s tool to the communities, so they can build their own communities,” Jones said.

In order to bring the Wi-Fi to the downtown area, Jones said PUD would install antennas to buildings to create a hot spot that could provide services for boaters, as well.

Jones said each antenna costs between $3,000 to $8,000, depending on size, strength and direction of signal.

“The more attennas, the stronger the signal,” he said.

Jones said business owners who host an antenna would have to pay between $25 to $50 a year for electricity to power the antenna.

He said fiber-optic lines would be needed for one or two antennas.

Ryan said there’s a fiber-optic lines installed along Sidney Avenue and reaches to the library.

“With free internet, anyone can get access to it,” Jones said. “You will be able to pull it up on your phone, computer or iPad.”

Jones said the PUD placed four antennas in downtown Poulsbo and two in Kingston.

“We hoping the community embraces it and it grows,” Jones said.

POBSA President Don Ryan said he’s excited about the free Wi-Fi coming downtown.

“This would be an exciting opportunity for us in Port Orchard,” Ryan said. “They would bring free Wi-Fi downtown.”

Ryan said, at his business in Poulsbo, his company dropped their router because of free Wi-Fi.

“It would be a great attraction for business to come downtown,” Ryan said. “That’s a free service we are paying for through our internet providers.”

He said Mansour Samadpour, who owns the old Slip 45 building and several others in downtown, is installing a fiber-optic line in the new indoor market building.

“We can have this in place in 30 to 60 days, before Harbor Festival and the boating season,” Ryan added.

In 1999, PUDs were granted statutory authority to provide wholesale broadband capacity to their districts. Kitsap PUD began providing wholesale, open access broadband in the county in 2000.

The Kitsap Public Utility District, an independent agency with its own board of commissioners, is installing antennas in downtown Poulsbo to provide free wireless Internet access.

The project is testing the waters to determine demand and how it will be used.

The district has 120 miles of fiber optic cable around the county and, according to its website, will install an additional 100 miles using federal stimulus funds.


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