Quality Bainbridge hosts meeting next week on expanding Internet service

Bainbridge residents may soon have more options for high-speed Internet than CenturyLink and Comcast.

Quality Bainbridge is hosting a public meeting Thursday, July 17 with Dave Siburg, the general manager of the Kitsap Public Utility District.

"Many Bainbridge residents think that the big corporate providers — Comcast and CenturyLink — are the only choices on our island for high-speed internet for home or office," said Barry Peters, a board member of Quality Bainbridge.

The good news, Peters said, is that KPUD — a local, public service provider with a publicly-elected board — is willing to work with Bainbridge residents and businesses to offer a more affordable option.

As a public utility provider, the district would give islanders nonprofit rates by funding, constructing and maintaining the Internet service for Bainbridge neighborhoods and business districts.

KPUD has provided fiber-optic Internet in Kitsap County and to Bainbridge public schools, fire and police departments, city hall and public library for more than a decade as a Washington State-authorized wholesaler.

In addition to working to bring public WiFi to the Downtown Winslow — a project that began late last summer — KPUD is now looking to partner with a nonprofit, co-op to retail their service to homes and businesses on Bainbridge.

"KPUD can work with neighborhoods, homeowner associations, business owners or other groups to finance and construct fiber optic or other effective service to neighborhoods not adequately served by high-speed internet," Peters said.

Residents are invited to learn more about the KPUD Internet service in a 90-minute meeting at the Bainbridge Public Library.

The meeting will be held at 7:15 p.m. Thursday, July 17.

Siburg will lead the discussion followed by a Q&A with district tech staff.

There will also be a demonstration of the Internet service that KPUD currently provides to the public library.

The meeting will likewise give participants the opportunity to meet some Bainbridge residents who are currently actively considering using fiber optic Internet with KPUD and a nonprofit retailer.

Quality Bainbridge arranged the meeting in response to public concern for the inadequate Internet service on much of Bainbridge, most of which in remote stretches of the island.

The organization began in 2013 with the mission to communicate community needs, share community values and support the quality of life on Bainbridge Island.

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