Christine is committed to affordable, fast internet infrastructure across Whatcom: unlike other PUDs, ours hasn’t built broadband infrastructure and has missed millions of dollars in grant opportunities. We can do better.
Our internet infrastructure in most of Whatcom County is outdated. Much of the rest of the world (and many other parts of WA State) have fiber optic internet infrastructure. We have almost no fiber in Whatcom County—but the average household’s bandwidth needs are doubling each year. PUDs can build open-access fiber optic internet infrastructure—which they lease to internet service providers (ISPs).
Other PUDs in Washington started building broadband infrastructure twenty years ago. Fifteen PUDs now benefit their communities with faster internet access at a lower cost. Unfortunately, the Whatcom PUD took no meaningful action on broadband for almost 20 years. Our PUD has developed a plan with the Port, but hasn’t built any actual broadband infrastructure for the public and has no plan for last-mile services.
Christine’s top priority for the PUD will be expanding broadband access across Whatcom County. Fiber optic internet infrastructure is widely considered to be a “future-proof” investment due to the nearly unlimited bandwidth offered by fiber connections. Fiber “backbones” are not enough.
Christine supports building open-access fiber meaning it will be leased to Internet Service Providers (ISPs), to promote competition to keep costs low and prevent monopolies. The internet should no longer be considered a luxury. It should be seen as more of an essential utility—although not fully public.
Christine will deploy open access last-mile fiber optic internet infrastructure countywide using readily available up-front financing options without levying new taxes, such as state and federal grants, local utility districts (LUDs), community development financial institutions (CDFIs), and patient capital sources.
Reliable, high-speed broadband internet is critical to attracting jobs and industries while making sure kids have the education they need to succeed. She is the only candidate endorsed by our teachers, the Washington Education Association, because teachers and kids need reliable, fast internet.
Christine has spent her career working with utilities and has the experience needed to move forward on this critical infrastructure county-wide.
To learn more, watch Christine’s event on broadband with Christopher Mitchell, Director of Community Broadband Networks, Institute for Local Self-Reliance and Ferndale Mayor Greg Hansen and Bellingham City Council-member Hannah Stone.