Tacoma Public Utility Board today voted to adopt a resolution that allows Rainier Connect to operate the municipally owned Click! Network, as well as approving a surplus declaration of excess in the system not necessary for utility purposed.
The agreements give Rainier Connect the ability to use excess capacity over the Click! Network to provide video and broadband services, with the city retaining ownership of the network.
“I want to extend my deepest gratitude to the TPU staff who have worked hard on all these difficult decisions in nearly a decade-long process…” said board member Christine Cooley during the Oct. 30 special board meeting. “As a board and organization, we have the responsibility to implement the very best policies that circumstances allow. I feel that the decision to declare the excess capacity of the Click! Network as surplus will allow the best chance at meeting a healthy, competitive environment for internet services.”
After statements from the board members explaining benefits of the resolution, the board voted unanimously to approve the agreements.
Next, the proposed agreements will go before the Tacoma City Council for a vote on Tuesday, Nov. 5.
For several years, the 21-year-old cable and internet service hasn’t been financially viable for the City of Tacoma, according to a release from TPU. Utility staff and policymakers have pursued input and reviewed business models in search of a beneficial public-private partnership that would retain and maintain the Click! Network.
Rainier Connect was determined to be the best possible partner based on its compliance with policy goals, such as continued public ownership, affordable access, net neutrality, open access to other providers, consumer privacy, and job options for Click! staff.
“The Public Utility Board has thoroughly reviewed all public and private options, and we believe the proposed agreement with Rainier Connect is our best option under current law for publicly owned and controlled, high quality, affordable, and competitive telecommunications service for our community, now and into the future,” said Karen Larkin, chair of the Public Utility Board.
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