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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

December 10, 2009 at 1:11 PM

Read it and weep: Ephrata ISP hits 114 Mbps, $45 per month

Grant County’s smoking fiber broadband network is once again kicking sand in Seattle’s face. Actually in the face of most every ISP in the world.

The public utility district has been tweaking its network to the point average download speeds in Ephrata are now 114.49 megabits per second, giving the town the fastest Internet service in North America and perhaps the world.

Across the service area in Grant, Douglas and Chelan counties, download speeds are 85 Mbps, according to measurement firm Speedtest.net.

All for $44.95 per month.

“Everybody cries” when they hear that, said Carl Highland, chairman of Ephrata-based iFiber Communications, a privately owned ISP formed in 2005 to provide service using the PUD’s fiber network.

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Triple-play bundles — with phone, broadband and TV service — start at about $114.

Still, only about 20 percent of the residents in the mostly agricultural region subscribe to iFiber service, Highland said. Among those with the service available to their home, 43 percent subscribe.

Word of the latest rankings comes as the PUD is among the crowd of utilities and companies seeking federal broadband stimulus money. The utility gradually built the fiber network using proceeds from the sale of surplus hydropower; Highland said it will pay for itself as it’s built out.

Washington actually has three of the 10 fastest ISPs, according to Speedtest.net rankings.

In sixth place, with 36 Mbps, is a state government network, and Mercer Island-based Van Oppen, a provider to businesses and condominiums, is 10th with 33 Mbps service.

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Comments | More in | Topics: Broadband

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