Comcast and Pierce County finalized an agreement in January to bring high speed internet to at least 526 homes and businesses on the north end of the Key Peninsula. The approximately $5 million project is being funded as a public-private partnership between Comcast and the county, with the county contributing $3.75 million of federal funding allocated through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
The project will take at least a few years to complete. “The permitting process — things like accessing the existing pole system — takes the most time,” said Terry Davis, the Comcast senior director of external affairs. “The project then moves to the neighborhood level, connecting with homeowners to follow existing utilities to get optic into each home. The good news is that we have existing resources in the area and a good relationship with Peninsula Light.”
The location of the project, Davis said, hit a “sweet spot,” between existing services in the Purdy area and Key Center. Comcast was interested in the location because its proximity to existing services assured the company that it could offer a good experience to these new customers, including timely service appointments and access to their stores for equipment and products.
Customers will be able to subscribe to the entire suite of Comcast’s offerings or they may choose to simply use the internet service. For low-income homes, the Internet Essentials program combined with the federal Affordable Connection Program could make internet access available at no cost. “It is not just about access but providing affordable internet to low-income households,” Davis said.
The north Key Peninsula project is part of the county’s multipronged plan to close the broadband divide. There is also an incentive program designed to attract service providers to expand their networks.
The county defined four incentive districts with no or inadequate internet. Two are on the Key Peninsula. Davis said that Comcast is exploring the incentive program.
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