Town approves fiber agreement with tribes


The Coulee Dam council Wednesday approved an agreement with the Colville Confederated Tribes, allowing them to install and maintain 144 strands of fiber optic cables through parts of the town.

The tribes still need to approve the agreement before it is official.

The fiber could make high-speed internet possible in the town, and be mutually beneficial for the town and the tribes, who are working to bring fiber optics to communities all around the reservation.

The new, tribally owned fiber would connect to Grant County PUD’s fiber, which enters Coulee Dam in the sliver of Grant County on the west side of town, to the rest of the tribes’ fiber optic system.

The agreement authorizes the tribe “to construct and operate a fiber optic system in, along, and under sections of Roosevelt Way, Columbia Avenue, Grant Avenue, Lincoln Avenue located in the Town of Coulee Dam.”

In 2017, Coulee Dam bought fiber optic cables that cross the Columbia River in a conduit under the bridge, which crosses into the reservation. The tribe has been using six of those 96 strands that cross the bridge at the casino since before Coulee Dam purchased the fiber.

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The tribe is to remove the 96 fibers from the Coulee Dam Casino and attach them to a pole as a part of the agreement.

The agreement does not grant authority to use existing fiber or install additional fiber in the town’s conduit under the bridge, something that would require a separate agreement.

The tribe would also install 12 strands of fiber from Coulee Dam’s public works building to their city hall, and connect those strands to the existing strands.

The tribes would pay a “franchise fee” of $10,000 to Coulee Dam for “administrative, legal, and planning review costs,” the agreement states.


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