Wahkiakum West adds television service


August 11, 2022

Wahkiakum West Communications, which provides telephone and internet service to western Wahkiakum County continues to expand in eastern Wahkiakum and is now offering television service to their customers.

They began a project this year to extend broadband to provide 10 gigabits per second to homes along SR 4 from an area west of Skamokawa to Cathlamet, and on to the eastern reaches of the county, with plans to branch into East and Middle Valley, and Elochoman Valley.

"We’re ready to go as far as Alger Creek Heights to the westside of Skamokawa along SR 4.” WW CEO Ken Johnson said. “We have pulled in fiber for a handful of customers.

On Friday, he was waiting for electric to be approved and for a fiber splice to connect their office in Rosburg with the equipment on this side of KM.

“Once we do that we will be live and ready to take customers,” he said. “If everything is in alignment, probably within a week, we could maybe have 8-10 customers live. It will take a couple hours per customer to extend the fiber to their homes.”

As for plans to build along East and Middle Valley Roads, WW is still awaiting permitting to use electric poles, Johnson said.

The franchise in Cathlamet was secured and the company is now working on permits for the builds on SR 4 from Little Cape Horn to Elochoman Valley Road.

“We are about 90 days behind what I thought would have been realistic,” Johnson said, citing a protracted build in Pacific County, delays in Skamokawa because of unexpected obstacles in underground construction, and a few hiccups as they learned the ins and outs of aerial construction.

“Hopefully our pace will speed up here,” he said, “especially if we don’t have a ton of underground.”

Johnson said that they could potentially provide service to Cathlamet by the first of the year, and are cultivating plans for Puget Island as well, but first they will complete their project along SR 4, which includes the southern part of Elochoman Valley Road, a source of several applications from potential customers.

“There is plenty of work for us to do, it’s going to take a while,” Johnson said. “The main part is SR 4, because that kind of builds the backbone, the freeway if you will, that we can build the side streets and the driveways.”

“We continue to try to figure out how to work quicker and better,” he said. “We’re working as hard as we can. We want [customers] to have it as bad as they want it, maybe worse. The average consumer doesn’t have a couple hundred thousand dollars invested and we do. We are more eager to have them connect. We’ve rolled out this network and we know how good it is, and we are dying for the first people in Skamokawa to hook up and get to experience what real speed is.”

Last week Wahkiakum West added a TV service, which will be available to all their customers.

Packages that include Portland TV stations and a local community channel start at $49.95 and go up from there.

The Root Sports channel contract has yet to be finalized and the Weather Channel currently only has the national feed. Johnson can’t say when those issues will be ironed out, but he hopes by the end of the month.

The local community channel will include scenic videos, interviews of local personalities and community leaders, and video of Finn Fest and more.

Customers will have to have WW internet to get the TV service, Johnson said. He added that there are no equipment rentals, and that customers will pay $75 for an in home install and own the set top box thereafter.

“They don’t have to pay us monthly for that,” Johnson said. “There is no hidden surcharges or secondary fees.”

The service isn’t limited to the television and can be watched on cellphones, tablets, computers, or through an Amazon Firestick. The set top box that is provided can also be used as a streaming media device, though it does not support Netflix.

For more information about internet, telephone, or their TV service, call Wahkiakum West at 360-465-2211.


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