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TMCNet:  PUD to lift fiber moratorium in March

[February 06, 2013]

PUD to lift fiber moratorium in March

WENATCHEE, Feb 06, 2013 (The Wenatchee World - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- The Chelan County PUD will lift its moratorium on new fiber-optics hookups March 18.

Crews will start slow, with only 40 new hookups per month, and "ramp up" July through December after crews finish storm-repair work in the heavily forested Upper Wenatchee Valley.

The PUD expects to meet its budget for 600 new fiber hookups this year, Mike Coleman, managing director of fiber and telecommunications for the utility, told commissioners Monday.

Officials from LocalTel Communications, a private company that sells Internet, telephone and cable TV services to the public over PUD fiber, says more than 200 customers are already on a waiting list for hookups.

PUD officials imposed the county-wide moratorium in December amid uncertainty over repair costs linked to a series of snow and wind storms that caused extensive damage to PUD power and fiber lines, poles and equipment in the Lake Wenatchee, Plain and Coles Corner areas.

Repair costs, which will exceed $2 million, include replacing the about five miles of fiber along Lake Wenatchee's south shore at an estimated cost of $650,000. The existing line was damaged beyond repair in the December storms.

The job and materials will be put out to bid toward a mid-June completion, Coleman said.

PUD officials say 64 fiber south-shore customers will be without service until the line is repaired.

LocalTel estimates that number to be closer to 80, when they take into account the customers who canceled their service after the storms to avoid being billed while service was down, and also customers who only subscribe part of the year.

LocalTel has since announced that all its affected customers would receive a credit.

Christine Pratt: 665-1173 ___ (c)2013 The Wenatchee World (Wenatchee, Wash.) Visit The Wenatchee World (Wenatchee, Wash.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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