Wahkiakum West Studying Expanding Services

 

September 2, 2021



Last week Ken Johnson, CEO at Wahkiakum West, announced that they are working with three distinct issues at the company.

The first involves recent malfunctions that periodically took down the ability to call long distance. They are working to remove the old equipment that was causing problems for long distance callers and installing new equipment that will provide better service. That work is currently being done at night when calls are less frequent. This work is pending. However, the old equipment appears to have settled down for now, Johnson said. It is hoped everything will be corrected as soon as possible.

The second topic regards some pilot work to expand their fiber-optic footprint east to Skamokawa and Cathlamet and west toward Chinook and the Long Beach peninsula. They are assessing customer demand for Wahkiakum West’s services.


Expansion to the west would focus on South Pacific County primarily. Expansion areas would mean working with the public utility districts (PUD’s) in both Wahkiakum and Pacific Counties to ascertain the possibilities of expansion and how best to work together.

The infrastructure bill working its way through Congress will have broadband funding for rural areas, so it is hoped that will be an area for funding. Chinook would be the first area to develop as it’s closest.

One factor Wahkiakum West is aware of is the current shortage of electronic chips for equipment. This shortage may last for a significant period, so it may take time to get actual services ready to be offered to customers.

The third topic regards evaluating a new TV service to run over the current fiber. Wahkiakum West is seeking interest from current and possible new customers, but it is hoped that a decision can be made shortly.

There are large companies that provide TV service by piggy backing off bigger cable providers. Investigating those opportunities is also part of the expansion work they are evaluating.

Interest from both current and possible future customers in the expansion areas is extremely important. Johnson plans on developing assessment work to help gather information from the public. If any current or possible customers have any input or interest, they are welcome to contact Wahkiakum West at (360) 465-2211 or email Johnson directly at kjohnson@wwest.net.


 

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