Fast, affordable Internet access for all.
Mason PUD 3 Responds to Muni Fiber Demand with Fiberhoods - Community Broadband Bits Podcast 274
Mason County Public Utility District 3 covers a large area with a lot of people that have poor Internet access. If "PUD" didn't give it away, it is located in Washington State on the Olympic Peninsula and had already been investing in fiber as an electric utility for monitoring its internal systems.
Mason PUD 3 Telecommunications & Community Relations Manager Justin Holzgrove and Public Information & Government Relations Manager Joel Myer join us for episode 274 of the Community Broadband Bits podcast to discuss how they are expanding their open access fiber optic network to the public after seeing tremendous support not just for Internet access but specifically for the PUD to build the infrastructure.
We talk about how they are financing it and picking areas to build in as well as the role of the Northwest Open Access Network, which we have discussed on previous shows and written about as well. We cover a lot of ground in this interview, a good place to start for those interested in open access and user-financed investment.
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Listen to other episodes here or view all episodes in our index. See other podcasts from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance here.
Thanks to Arne Huseby for the music. The song is Warm Duck Shuffle and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license.
Image of the Mason PUD 3 Fiberhood courtesy of COS Systems.
Justin Holzgrove: They didn't bring pitchforks, but they brought their pens and they were ready to sign up with their checkbooks. And they said, "Bring it on. We want this now."
Lisa Gonzalez: This is episode 274 of the Community Broadband Bits podcast from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. I'm Lisa Gonzalez. Public Utility District 3 in Mason County, Washington, delivers symmetrical gigabit connectivity to every customer in its service area. They have no speed, capacity or data thresholds. You have access to a gigabit regardless of whether you are in a rural area or within city limits and whether or not you're a household, business, or one of the ISPs that work with PUD 3. This week Justin Holzgrove and Joel Myer from PUD 3 in Mason County spent some time talking with Christopher about how the Public Utility District is working to bring high quality connectivity to each customer. In addition to describing their plan to build out and manage their network, Justin and Joel share the story of how connectivity has come to be offered from PUDs in Washington. Now here's Christopher with Justin Holzgrove and Joel Myer talking about Public Utility District 3 in Mason County, Washington.
Christopher Mitchell: Welcome to another edition of the Community Broadband Bits podcast. I am Chris Mitchell at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance up in Minneapolis. Today I'm speaking with Justin Holzgrove the Telecommunications and Community Relations Manager up at Mason County's Public Utility District number 3. Welcome to the show.
Justin Holzgrove: Hey how's it going?
Christopher Mitchell: It's going well. I'm excited to learn more about what you're doing. But first I have to introduce our other guest. Joel Myer the Public Information and Government Relations Manager at PUD number 3. Welcome to the show.
Joel Myer: Thank you it's a beautiful day in the Fiberhood.
Christopher Mitchell: That's good. Joel I'd like to start with you. Could you just tell us a little bit about maybe Mason County, how it's situated, and a little bit of the background of the Public Utility District.
Joel Myer: Sure. Mason PUD 3 is located on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State. The main city in our service territory is the city of Shelton. The county has about 60 somewhat thousand residents, and it's relatively defined by natural resources including forest and aquaculture. We have a large number of seasonal customers that we serve for Mason County PUD number 3. About 25% of our customers as a matter of fact are seasonal, they come here for the beautiful views, the water and the forest. But we have approximately 34,000 customers that we serve with electricity but we also of course as is the focus of this interview have a fiber optic network that supports our network and also provides services via wholesale to customers throughout. But in terms of the history of PUD 3, it's an interesting rocky start but I think that it is proved for the customers of Mason County a real benefit. The Washington State Grange back in the 1920s was very upset that there wasn't enough electricity being brought out to rural areas in Washington State and if it was brought out by the companies that provide electricity at that time, it was brought out at extremely high cost and high rates. In the 1920s the Grange started a petition drive in Washington State and Washington State's initiative number one, the very first one that was brought to the legislature in the state's history to form Public Utility District for electricity and a number of other services that are outlined in the state law. It got onto the ballot and was overwhelmingly approved. Mason County PUD number 3 and its partner that were the only county in Washington State as two operating public utility districts within its boundaries PUD 1. PUD 1 started service in 1934, PUD 3 had to go through a long list of legal challenges until in 1939 we were authorized by the state supreme court to start serving customers. Our first customer base was eight customers and that's grown over the years as it's gone forth but public utility districts in general and Mason PUD 3 in particular has always had kind of the long view. What do our customers need to be successful in either their home life or in their businesses? How could we provide better service to do that? We've just slowly grown our systems benefits and its capabilities to meet that. In the late 1990s we started looking at using the fiber optic network to support our facilities and in 2000 the state legislature authorized the authority to sell wholesale. But Justin has a lot more information of how we went from there.
Justin Holzgrove: I think it's a really great story when we talk about the origins of public utility districts, how they were formed for the very purpose of bringing a required utility, a necessary utility, an essential utility to the rural communities in that case it was the electricity. We take that for granted now but today, we're looking at that as high speed broadband as an essential utility, and we're working as a public utility to bring high speed broadband to communities that are in the rural setting, rural context that don't have other options for high speed Internet. We see a lot of parallels between the electrification of rural Mason County, rural America if you will and the high speed broadband infrastructure being put into rural America. We're happy to continue our legacy to help support our customers in that way.
Christopher Mitchell: Justin I get a sense that with the utility district the fiber was probably built first to support actual infrastructure probably electricity, water services maybe, but the infrastructure that you are already doing.
Justin Holzgrove: Yes absolutely that's correct. The primary goal of our fiber optic network is to support as you said electrical infrastructure. That means we network our facilities in the field such as substations or reclosers, regulators, different offices. We have several communications towers throughout Mason County. We have the fiber backbone too and they support things like our grid modernization project, advance metering infrastructure and our radio system. So they are increasingly communicating to each other and operate the system. We do have a very extensive fiber network throughout Mason County, but it is primarily backbone and part of our history on that is when we first started putting this up there was a great interest from some of the larger customers as well, as we were putting this up. They had a real need for higher bandwidth services. As we expanded for electrical needs, we also were able to pick up a couple of our larger customers. We had goals of picking up our top 20 and then it grew to top 50 customers. We brought our fiber network to area such as our poor districts and throughout our downtown districts. But when it gets into the rural communities, we found ourselves in, we didn't have a plan to have a long-term expansion and a long-term plan to serve all customers in our neighborhood if you will. We had to really solve that problem.
Christopher Mitchell: This is something that I actually in some way sympathize I suspect with you Joel in that I've seen where residents can get quite forceful about really wanting to see the utility district being more aggressive in building out fiber. Whereas, you might find other people are equally aggressive about the public utility district not doing it. I'm curious, tell us a little bit about that, and I think that maybe things came too ahead a bit in 2015 for you.
Joel Myer: That's a very good point because over the years, I think the word we became somewhat the victim of our success on the electric side, and the expectations of what we could provide on the broadband side. For example over the years that we have had the authority from the state legislature to provide wholesale telecommunications. We have heard long, loud and often from many of our customers that not only do they want broadband in their areas, they want PUD 3 broadband because their expectation is that our servers would be as good if not better than our electric side. Which brings the discussion of the wholesale versus retail relationship that we can have with our customers. But I would say on our list right now of our 34,000 customers, we have a continuous list of about 4,000 residents, customers that are clamoring for it in their neighborhood. Some, they just don't have service. Some, they don't like the service they have because it's either too expensive or too slow or not reliable and then they look at us and they go, "You're always reliable with your electricity, and your prices are pretty good. Why don't you work to get it out to us so that we can have the same type of quality for our broadband." The big balance is that wholesale, retail relationship kind of holds us back but also provides the opportunities for local economic development through the formation of businesses that can be that retailer for us.
Christopher Mitchell: And Justin I'd like to get a little bit of your perspective on this with how you are expanding the fiber network to some of these residents, what that plan is. Maybe we can just start by where Joel left off. I looked at your website and there's several companies that are offering very high speed services. How exactly is that working out for you?
Justin Holzgrove: I think it works out well and it works out better for our customers when we have a selection of retailers for them to choose from. As we know competition brings price down, it brings the best out of everybody whether it's sports or in business and as we've had more retailers join our network and offer their services to our customer, our customers are benefiting. They're benefiting by a faster speed and lower prices. That's one of the things that we really like about our network, it's open access non-discriminatory so our customers can choose any of the retailers that are partners with us and that's a really big win.
Christopher Mitchell: Justin let me ask you this because one of the criticism we've had sometimes in theory, sometimes in practice is that in an open access environment like you have in which there's actually a fair level playing field. Inevitably one or two firms capture most of the market anyway. Is that something you see or the distribution of subscriber split a little more evenly among the service providers?
Justin Holzgrove: We have a handful of service providers. They all are participating from my perspective at a level that suits their business desire. So we have one service provider that maybe isn't so much interested in growing their business. Their desire is to focus on the handful of customers that they have and they're doing well with that. We may have another business retail service provider that's been there since the beginning and they have the majority of the customers because they have maybe a more robust name and the history there. And we have one who is a little bit newer and they're doing a really good job of being competitive and doing a lot of marketing and advertising about the benefits of fiber all the way to the home. So they are, as we expand the network are picking up their share of customers as well. It seems to work out really well for us. We also have two providers that are focusing on business or enterprise services and that's a really good niche for them and that's working out well for them as well. They aren't interested in doing residential and in some cases not the other way vice versa. So it seems to work out well.
Christopher Mitchell: I think that it's a really good perspective of a reminder that even if businesses isn't capturing a massive part of the market, they might be fine with that. It's a good reminder. So how are you expanding the network given all this incredible demand to go further with it?
Justin Holzgrove: Well, Chris I want to go back a little bit to the 2015 kind of point that we ran into and I think that that's a good place to tell the story of where we sort of pivoted with our network. We have extended the network to most of, not all of but most of the areas where we need it for the electrical distribution system. Well, that's always growing. Mason County is a defined area and we're pretty well spread throughout there. We've also worked with NoaNet and we've established several contracted cell phone towers. They have paid to expand the network to some areas as well. So we have a pretty widespread backbone.
Christopher Mitchell: NoaNet for those who haven't run across it is the Northwest Open Access Network. Let me strongly encourage you, if you're unfamiliar with it to go back in our archives, we've done several interviews with them. So Justin please pick up with how you're expanding it beyond the electrical and where it was in 2015.
Justin Holzgrove: In 2015 we really were beginning to make a pivot with our philosophy on how we approached the expansion of our fiber network. As you know we've talked about this, we're able to sell the excess capacity on our network with fiber and today's optics in electronics, that is near limitless. The only thing that we are limited by was where the actual physical connections, the physical strands of fiber. So we're just really working hard to try and figure out what's our philosophy? What are our construction centers, how are we going to engineer and design this. We're a bunch of electric utility folks not so much telecom folks. With electricity, it's easy, you find the wire you cut it back and you put a hot clamp on it and there you go. But as you know fiber it's a little bit different. As we are exploring on the construction side on how to do this, we're really getting a lot of pressure and interest from our customers to expand fiber to them. Everybody wants it and they want it now. We had a high speed broadband expo where we invited our customers in, then we focused on several areas that were rural, folks on several areas where we thought there maybe some possibilities in doing some pilot project expansion. We had over 800 people join us on a Thursday evening, I believe it was in May 2015.
Christopher Mitchell: That's crazy.
Justin Holzgrove: They didn't bring pitchforks, but they brought their pen and they were ready to sign up with their checkbooks. And they said, "Bring it on. We want this now."
Christopher Mitchell: When 100 people show up at a meeting on a Thursday night that's considered huge, 800 is off the charts so congratulations and I guess caution.
Justin Holzgrove: I think you're on it there. I don't know that we were so wise with this. It was all part of the process and the process is necessary. We had 800 people ready to sign up right now and that was a big deal. We had a place for them to share their interests, record their address, we had this thing where you could stick a dot on your home location in Mason County and so we have this large poster size chart of Mason County that looks like it has a chicken pox because everybody wants it all over the place. We had a bunch of stations that could need our retailers, the active ones that are on our network, ones that interested in expanding, see their services. Really it was a positive step because it made our customers' interests very clear. They want to see the fiber network expanded. Unfortunately you mentioned caution, we have this term that we sort of developed around that point called anticipointment. This is where people are anticipating something but are disappointed when they can't get it. That really sort of became the theme of our fiber network unfortunately, that wasn't the intention but that kind of became a reality. So we went from 2015 from that kind of big kind of landmark event to really needing to buckle down and get our construction standards figured out. So we tried several different ... We had been working on several different distribution models and we were able to identify a couple of ways that we wanted to go about it. We moved into a distribution hub and a RC terminal ready to connect terminal model for our neighborhoods and we focus on areas where there's overhead power or where there's a conduit available. And so we built a couple of networks in several of the more 'densely populated' and I put that in quotation, areas in rural Mason County where they didn't have any other access to high speed broadband available. So we've built these networks and we're able to work out some things with our process and really establish some really good construction and engineering standards and establish some cost measureables so that we could move forward and look and see what it would take to really roll this out much, much broader. While we were doing that, we also did a survey. We did survey with our customers, that's in this past Winter 2016 to 2017. We did a statistically valid phone survey. So asked several questions such as, "What kind of broadband do you have now so we can measure the need?" Then we wanted to measure the desire. "Are you interested in seeing the PUD expand?" We also asked, "If we expand are you interested in paying a little more per month on your broadband bill to pay for the cost of the expansion?" And the overall answers were, "No we don't have broadband access or we're not satisfied with it and yes we want PUD to build it and yes we're willing to pay extra." So that was the part of serving our customers with a statistically valid phone survey and then several months later we did an online survey so that we could give everybody the opportunity to respond if they wanted. We also had a mail and valid as well if you will. And the results were pretty consistent across the board.
Christopher Mitchell: Joel I'd like to bring you back into this. One of the thing we've seen with surveys in some of the other public utility districts is a question of whether they want to modestly increase the price of electricity to help finance the cost of the fire burning. It sounds like you're actually focused on making sure the broadband customers alone are the ones paying for the expansion. I'm curious can you tell us a little bit about your thinking about that.
Joel Myer: We've seen this question come up again and again at other utilities in Washington State as to whether or not customers, A want it, B would be willing to pay extra on their electricity bill to share the costs of bringing the service out. And it's been kind of mixed in the answers and the results. For example in one study I remember there was a question about that and so the utility started to expand and when they expanded and started talking about an adder on the electricity bill. People suddenly got all excited about it. So it proved that while your survey may say that the actual implementation may not be as real life there. So we wanted to make sure that those who would benefit from the broadband service would be the ones that would be actually paying for it, which is their vote, if you will paying with their dollars, that "Yep we want it, we're willing to pay for it, here's my check." That would come through the retailer. Seeing those experiences and also our gut feeling as to how our electrical customers would feel if there was an adder on to their electricity bill for it, gave us that kind of weathervane to move us in that direction. We did and I think it's really interesting when you start taking the look at the Fiberhood project, which we will discuss later that people are boarding with their dollars and their feet on this. That they want it, they're willing to pay for it and will.
Christopher Mitchell: Joe one of the things that we recently did an interview with Kitsap where they're using a model where the people in a neighborhood can petition the utility to expand it. I think you're going in a little different direction. Maybe you can explain that model and just enlighten us a little bit about that.
Joel Myer: There are various funding models that are available to the public realm in Washington State help fund facility expansion and growth. Most of those tend toward the local utility district, local improvement district type model. They're very, very intricate and cumbersome and take a long time to form and also to close out. One of the things that Kitsap has done and I applaud them for that is that some of their local utility district extensions have been in part of other utility extensions as well. So it's kind of a package of utilities that's moving into a community so there's a greater benefit than just the broadband coming in which makes it a little bit more easy to use those state funding models. Because one of the things that you run up against is if you do an improvement through a local utility district or a local improvement district, the value of your property increase is the most that you can charge for an assessment for bringing that improvement to the property. So if the property improvement is $1000 in valuation, that's all you can charge them under state law. Your extension could cost more than that per customer. So taking not only the cumbersome nature of those funding measures but also some of the legalistic restrictions that are placed on you and how you can access it, that for local utility district expanding broadband and no other public utility is part of it becomes a little bit of a problematic approach.
Christopher Mitchell: Justin you want to just dive in and talk about you've expanded.
Justin Holzgrove: We were looking at all of these different inputs and pieces and of information from our engineering standards to our customers desire to the survey responses to the LUD models that some of our neighbors were using and we decided that there had to be a way to blend all of this together and create a solution that would be able to meet everybody's desire. And that's birthed our Fiberhood program. Fiberhood program is really quite simple. The PUD has reviewed its service territory and has designated specific boundaries or borders, we have 20 onwards and that represents the potential to serve several thousand customers. Within these Fiberhoods we've let customers know that they are up for consideration of potentially receiving a fiber network being expanded to and built throughout their neighborhood. We've partnered with COS systems, coos is what we've been calling it in-house, systems they're out of Sweden and they have a fantastic software platform that we've been using to communicate and interface with our customers on this.
Christopher Mitchell: That's the service zones platform right?
Justin Holzgrove: Our customers log on to our website, pud3.org/fiberhood and they launch the COS system service zones application and all they have to do is type in their address. If their address is within a Fiberhood, then they're able to make a commitment. Once 75% of the customers was in the Fiberhood, make commitment, PUD 3 will extend fiber and build a distribution network to serve them. It really is quite simple and it's very, very successful so far. As I mentioned we have about 20 Fiberhoods, we launched it in early August and we have several that are very, very close. One Fiberhood is about seven signups away and we have others on its tail we are very excited about that process and we're looking forward to launching that.
Christopher Mitchell: I'm curious, the ones that are the most popular, that are the closest to hitting fruition. Are they ones that have zero service providers currently or are they ones who are more ... They have an option but they're not happy with it?
Justin Holzgrove: We didn't qualify customers that have other service provider options in Fiberhood. Really if you're Fiberhood, you have a DSL or worse so these people are ones that don't have any high speed broadband options available. We have several providers in Mason County and we are staying out of their territory for several reasons. The first is we want to focus on those that don't have service, just like that public utility model in the beginning that we talked about. We want to make sure we're providing service to those that don't have it available. We also don't want to infringe upon or over-build a private company, that's their deal. They should be working on that. We also don't want to expand the network very near them in which case they would then over build us. That's not good either. We have our focus on our customers that don't have other service options.
Christopher Mitchell: Some of my aggressive listeners, myself included would say, I hope that over time you will be expanding your network to everyone. Presumably it will be up to people themselves whether or not ultimately you are competing with some of the existing providers. I'm just in the sense that while I certainly agree with you that you want to be careful about respecting the private investments that others are making to some extent you may see some negative side effects if you have partner areas that have over high quality network and areas that served but served poorly by a cable company or something. They might get more frustrated. In the longer term I'm curious if you think that you'll be expanding that network into more areas.
Justin Holzgrove: I would say that in the longer term is a long term for us. We have a very large and very real community, Mason County and there are many, many, many areas that do not have other options. The work ahead of us is great and we want to make sure that we are meeting the needs of those that don't have options before we need the needs of those that do have options or maybe are receiving poor options. So well, that may change, right now our focus really is on those that don't have options. I think that that's just a look at Mason County. Our trees outnumber our people by a lot and so we are quite rural here.
Christopher Mitchell: It is worth remembering that western counties can be the size of eastern states.
Justin Holzgrove: Yeah, that is a good point. We are the size of Rhode Island I believe. Is that correct Joe?
Joel Myer: That is correct.
Christopher Mitchell: There's some good perspective there.
Joel Myer: It is correct. It's interesting to note when you take a look at the various municipal broadband models throughout the United States, that there's a panoply of it. I mean you've got cities who are given broad authorities by their states to provide a number of services for their citizens. In Washington State where the law is silent on an authority, it's assumed that a city or a county or a general government have the authority to do it. That's why you see some cities are going out and they're building municipal broadband networks on their own and competing as a retailer because they have authority under it. You have electric coops that can pretty do almost anything they want, going out as a retail service provider and using their member revenues to build that up. They are not under a state chatter so therefore they can do things like that. Whereas, Washington State Public Utility District law is a little bit different. Whereas as I mentioned where cities were silent on authorities, that they have it as long as it's legal. Public utility district only have the authorities that are expressly given to them under Washington State law. So if it doesn't mention it, we don't have the authority. So specifically the authority we have is wholesale, broadband services or telecommunication services that will always require a retailer as the contact with the customer. Our customers are initially the retail server providers, the ultimate customers of those retail servers provided are the end users and we have to make sure that that model is followed very carefully because it's being very closely watched not only by the legislator and state regulators but also folks who see this as competition.
Christopher Mitchell: One of the things that we've seen in a lot of places is that model is particularly challenging financially, which is one of the reasons that we've mentioned that no one at the Northwest Open Access Network because you were one of the founding members. I think the success of that organization is one of the reasons we've seen Open Access be more successful on Washington State than in other states.
Joel Myer: I agree the NoaNet has gained the capacity and the reputation of being a very good partner with people who either are funded or get service from it. We are really proud of that because it's a unique type of organization. I think that it will only continue as that reputation for a can do it attitude and good management of assets continues for NoaNet. It will continue the expansion to very rural areas of Washington state.
Christopher Mitchell: Justin speaking of expansion to rural areas, there's always the question of how one pays for it. So within the system that you've described, with the service zones from COS. How exactly does it work then that you can afford to build this out?
Justin Holzgrove: Add that to the challenges of being wholesale only and as a public utility district, we have to do everything at cost so there's not a profit margin here. Our revenues need to equal our costs and that's to the benefit of our customer. The way that it works is once Fiberhood reaches 75% threshold in economic construction list and we build the network, we have what we're calling a construction adder. This will be $25 charge per month on top of the customer's Internet, retail service providers bill and this $25 per month is to recover the cost of building the fiber extension, the distribution network and all the way to the home. So we're building all the way to the home with fiber and this $25 per month will last for 12 years. So it is a 12-year term and if a customer comes in and takes service on day one and we build to their home and connect them, they take Internet service then they pay their $25 per month. But maybe life happens. Two years down the road, they move or lose their job or life changes somehow and they say, "Gosh, I just can't afford to have Internet again or right now." Then they don't take Internet service and they don't pay that $25 per month. On the other side, let's say somebody maybe has a piece of property that they haven't developed yet but they still are interested when they do move into the county to get fiber, they may sign up on the COS software and see if they're interested but once they reach their goal and once we've built the network then they're not ready to connect. Maybe six years down the road, they do show up and they build a home and want to connect with fiber, well their $25 per month starts when they start taking service and it only lasts until the end of that 12-year term that the Fiberhood is under. So it really is tied to only the customers that are taking service are paying to help recover the cost of the investment. I think we talked about that earlier in the show, that was pretty important that we weren't having all electrical subscribers subsidize the cost of the fiber expansion and even within the Fiberhood, if you aren't interested in it, you didn't sign up for it, you're also not paying for it. I think that's the really key piece here.
Christopher Mitchell: I think one of the things that may help you out with that where that may not be as viable in other areas is that you are building to areas where they have no choices and so you know that you're going to get a lot of people to connect and so you don't really have to worry too much that those economics won't pencil out for you I'm guessing.
Justin Holzgrove: Correct, yeah that's exactly right. We are looking at a cost recovery model basis that is pretty conservative and it lasts over a longer period of time. In these rural communities what we often see is that there are lower economic abilities to pay for the large line expansions upfront. So by spreading it out over that 12-year time, we're also allowing maybe some of our lower income or the customers that couldn't afford that to be able to have access to high speed broadband. I think that's a really key piece to it too. To other listeners that might be interested, we looked at several models, many. But two of them that came to the front that we really explored were they putting a lien on a property for the investment and we found that that was just going to be too cumbersome both legally and in enforcing. And the other was the personal loan. We thought that also was very limiting in ability and so instead of tying the $25 to the customer's PUD electric bill, we decided to tie it to their Internet service provider bill. That way we could ensure that if you weren't taking service and therefore weren't benefiting from the network, you also weren't contributing to it. Our customers I will say in the survey preferred it to be on the PUD's bill, I think it's because we're a trusted community partner but we found that there were some struggles with that. If a customer didn't pay their Internet bill, could we disconnect their electricity? No. If a customer didn't pay their electricity bill, could we disconnect their Internet? Well that really is tied together. Maybe they didn't pay their Internet extension payment, so then we'll have to let their retail service provider know we're going have to disconnect them and that would be exposing potentially a personal hardship to the retail service provider or that would get in the way of their business relationship. So that was messy as well. So we found that putting that $25 construction adder on top of the $35 per month for gig service which goes to the retailer bill, it just became really clean and it would nice defining line on who's paying for what service.
Christopher Mitchell: That's a great description of a interesting approach on one of many that I hope is going to bring high quality Internet service to everyone in rural America. So thank you both for coming on the show to tell us more about what you're up to.
Justin Holzgrove: Happy to do it Chris. That's really great of you to invite us and we look to tell the story, we're really proud of it and we're also in agreement if everybody in Mason County could have a gig up gig down service through PUD 3 fiber that'd just be fantastic.
Christopher Mitchell: Thank you it's been a pleasure.
Lisa Gonzalez: That was Christopher with Justin Holzgrove and Joel Myer talking about Public Utility District #3 in Washington and how they're bringing high quality connectivity to every customer in Mason County. We have transcript for this and other community Broadband Bits podcasts available at MuniNetworks.org/BroadbandBits. Email us at podcast@MuniNetworks.org with your ideas for the show. Follow Chris on Twitter his handle is @CommunityNets. Follow MuniNetworks.org stories on Twitter the handle is @MuniNetworks. Subscribe to this podcast and the other ILSR podcasts Building Local Power and the Local Energy Rules podcast. You can access them on Apple podcasts, Stitcher or wherever else you get your podcasts. Never miss out on our original research by also subscribing to our monthly newsletter at ILSR.org. Thank you to Arne Huseby for the song Warm Duck Shuffle licensed to Creative Commons and thanks for listening to episode 274 the Community Broadband Bits podcast.