COS Service Zones Shows Public Utility Where to Invest

  • COS Systems
KITSAP COUNTY, WA — Little more than a year ago, residents started informally inquiring with the Kitsap Public Utility District (KPUD) to explore whether the PUD could provide Internet infrastructure, rather than relying on traditional telecom and cable providers who were not meeting the needs of this rural, mountainous region within commuting distance of Seattle.

“Kitsap PUD has been providing services to Anchor Institutions in Kitsap County for 15 years. Recently residents have been inquiring on how they obtain access to this fiber to have quality and reliable high-speed broadband services at their homes,” recalled KPUD Superintendent of Telecom Paul Avis. “It has only been in the last year, with the FCC discussing open Internet and Google Fiber, that we saw the extent of how unhappy residents were with their current services.” Case in point, “I live less than a half-mile from town,” Avis said, “and get less than 1 Mbps of service over a copper DSL line. Many residents can’t get any service at all.”

Resident-Driven Priorities

“As a government agency, we can’t rely on anecdotal data since we need to be responsible with public funds,” said Bob Hunter, general manager at KPUD. “What’s most appealing with COS Service Zones is that it enables us to let the gathering and push of interest to come from the citizens. We want to be sure the residents are driving this.” COS Service Zones provides an effective framework for residents who are rallying for better service to have a greater role in gaining better Internet faster: “The system is very well designed and able to handle all the data and capture answers to the questions we have. Are people happy with current services? Where is the need? Do they want services from the PUD?” Hunter said. “The Champions aspect of Service Zones is going to be integral to our success: Not just in gathering information but in getting service to the residents. The champions are able to explaining how it all works on a peer-to-peer basis, enabling PUD staffing to stay unchanged.”

“COS Service Zones enables the PUD to identify areas of need and want for open access telecommunications services and directs us to which neighborhoods to connect first," Avis said. “Because COS Systems’ technology enables self-service, once we’re deployed, we’ll be able to expand and continue to serve customers with minimal additional costs,” Avis said, describing the intent to continue working with the COS suite of products managing the day-to-day operations of the open-access network with COS Business Engine.

“If how COS Systems got involved is any indication,” notes COS’s Head of International Business Development Bjorn Wannman, “then it’s reasonable to expect that there is significant demand in Kitsap County. My first contact with this inspiring project was actually with a Kitsap resident, as a grassroots effort, who suggested we at COS connect with KPUD. This underscores the power of the community and its ability to engage; this is the very foundation of COS Service Zones.”

COS Chief Marketing Officer Isak Finér adds, “This is one of the most promising big-scale open-access projects in the US right now. They already have the backbone fiber infrastructure in the ground, and they know there is a great demand among the residents. With the right tool now in their hands to aggregate this demand and guide them to where they can confidently deploy to already committed customers, I’m positive this project will get a flying start and be a long-term success bringing new jobs and a higher quality of life to Kitsap County residents.”


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