The Public Utility District No. 1 of Okanogan County began a broadband initiative in 1999 with an initial backbone construction. In 2011 the PUD received federal grants to improve broadband communications in rural America. Those funds were used for the Wifi Broadband network and to construct an additional 180 cable miles of fiber.
Today the PUD offers fiber, wireless and other carrier services to citizens of Okanogan County. Many cell phone, cable, and phone carriers traverse the PUD infrastructure. There is a fiber presence in all hospitals, libraries, and schools, as well as many medical clinics, public safety offices, and local government offices within the PUD serving territory.
The PUD has a 150-mile fiber-optic backbone that runs along the Hwy 97 corridor from Pateros to the Canadian Border, up the Hwy 153 corridor from Pateros to Twisp, and over Hwy 20 from Twisp to Okanogan.
There are fiber optic distribution networks in many of the towns within the county including Oroville, Tonasket, Omak, Okanogan, Brewster, Pateros, and Twisp. Distribution supports many of the retail businesses, medical clinics, hospitals, libraries, and schools in our communities. Services are also extended to residential locations.
The PUD also operates two additional networks. The PUD’s Wireless Broadband network utilizes 12 towers located in the following communities: Oroville, Ellisforde, Tonasket, Omak, Okanogan, Malott, Monse, Brewster and Twisp.
In 2014 the PUD finished construction of a Wifi Broadband network that includes over 170 access points throughout the county
OKANOGAN COUNTY AND COLVILLE CONFEDERATED TRIBES BROADBAND ACTION TEAM (BAT)
In 2019 the Okanogan County and Colville Confederated Tribes Broadband Action Team was created. This team is made up of representation from a diverse group of industries including healthcare, agriculture, retail, hospitality as well as school districts, and other private business. We also have representatives from the Okanogan PUD, cities, county, non-profits, and the CCT. The Team submitted an application to the Community Economic Development Board in June of 2019 to complete a Strategic Plan and Feasibility Study, we were awarded the funds and with an added match from Okanogan County and the CCT, we were able to hire our consultant ACRS to complete the study which was completed in December 2020 and is now available to review. In June of 2021, we were notified that we received a USDA RDBG grant to extend our existing study to include the cost to bring Fiber to the premise in the service areas that were identified. The BAT continues to meet monthly and continues our partnership with the Okanogan PUD as we explore funding opportunities to provide Broadband access to the citizens of Okanogan County and the Colville Confederated Tribes.