Before the end of the year, approximately 800 Diamond Point homes will begin to see high speed internet from Wave Broadband come into the area east of Sequim.
“The good news is that the area will go from having this horrible hodge-podge of services to one company who can provide service at a ground level,” Diamond Point resident Steven Allen said.
“It’s a big difference … It’ll take this area to being like in the heart of Seattle. That’s a quantum leap.”
Allen has led an effort to bring an Internet Service Provider (ISP) with high capabilities to the area since early in the pandemic.
Diamond Point residents access the internet via cell phone hotspots, satellite services depending on tree coverage, and DSL with a long wait list, Allen said.
At least one resident pays upwards of $170 a month for two services to receive a combined 2 megabyte download speed, he said.
“(Residents) are desperate,” Allen said.
The lack of consistent internet speeds has precluded people from moving to the area to telecommute for common things, such as participating in Zoom meetings.
“Using the internet today is a basic utility and it’s no different from years ago using the telephone, water and power,” Allen said.
Fred Lutz, Wave’s senior vice-president and general manager, said crews plan to begin work in the next 30 days “on a significant infrastructure project to bring symmetrical high-speed internet connectivity to approximately 800 customers in the Diamond Point community as well as areas between Diamond Point and Wave’s current network endpoint in Sequim proper.”
Lutz expects some residents to be able to access high-speed services as soon as the fourth quarter of 2021 and more residents being added to “the fiber-to-the-home network as we continue building east and north into the community.”
Crews will rebuild an existing Diamond Point network, he said, to enable residents to receive gigabit speed internet for the first time.
“We are ultimately connecting Diamond Point to Wave’s existing fiber network that serves Sequim, Port Angeles and other areas,” Lutz said.
Construction involves both above- and below-ground work, he said, as part of a multi-year effort to expand fiber network infrastructure and reliable high speed internet to broader areas of Clallam and Jefferson counties, including Brinnon.
“Wave believes that Olympic Peninsula residents deserve access to robust and reliable internet services and we look forward to continuing the expansion of our network throughout the region,” Lutz said.
Work to bring high-speed internet to Diamond Point began with Allen recruiting a group of dedicated residents. He received assistance from a former Bonneville Power Administration employee, a grant writer and many others.
As they sought information on modernizing their ISP and potential grants, inquiries began to come in from companies such as Wave.
“I was gratified that a company of Wave’s caliber came to our door,” Allen said. “We’re all very spirited.”
He added that he’s fortunate the effort attracted top, local talent who “are very generous with their time.”
“If not for those people, this does not happen,” Allen said. “It’s a group effort that benefited the community.”
Following an improved internet effort, the same community group is working on a feasibility study and funding options for a potential Diamond Point Community Center.
Allen said the building could be similar to the Gardiner Community Center.
“We’d want to get it to the point where (residents) imagine it was always in the community,” he said.
He added that it’s a singular building meant to be a community focal point to have a picnic, a barbecue, classes, fairs and/or swap meets and many more possibilities.
Where it could go is part of ongoing discussions, Allen said, with a small commercial zone limiting options.
He said the group is instituting surveys and polls to see what that center could offer.
Allen plans to form an investor group and will seek assistance from contractors, sub-contractors, and architects.
For more information, email Allen at DPCommunityCenter@hotmail.com.
For more information on Wave Broadband, visit residential.wavebroadband.com.