A new fiber-optic network is operational in Oak Harbor as of Sept. 20, servicing around 700 city addresses with high speed internet.
Ziply Fiber announced the network’s initial launch last week with the promise of expanded internet service to come; the provider currently plans the network to reach around 3,000 addresses in town.
Ziply spokesperson Dan Miller said though more construction is ongoing or planned, Ziply didn’t want to delay providing service to those homes and businesses that were already connected.
“Every day there’s more and more that are getting access,” he said.
As of Monday afternoon, operational areas include sections of downtown Oak Harbor and adjacent neighborhoods, as well as some residential streets south of Maple Leaf Cemetery between Midway Boulevard and Regatta Drive.
Construction is currently underway along Crescent Harbor Road, in neighborhoods north and south of Fort Nugent Park and in additional neighborhoods near downtown Oak Harbor. The network is in various pre-construction stages or under consideration in most remaining residential and commercial areas in the city. A full map of the planned network can be found at ziplyfiber.com/oakharbor.
“With today’s network and service launch, we’re proud to give Oak Harbor residents and businesses a definitive choice when it comes to their high-speed internet needs,” Ziply Fiber CEO Harold Zeitz said. “We’re on a mission to help close the digital divide and bring fiber connectivity to as many people as we can as quickly as we can, and today we take a big step for the people of Whidbey Island.”
Ziply Fiber first came to Oak Harbor in 2020 when it took over coverage of Washington and other northwestern states from Frontier Communications. Over the past couple of years, Ziply has been working to transition northwestern cities from DSL internet to fiber optics. Construction in Oak Harbor began last fall. Miller said all currently planned construction in the city is on track to be completed by the end of the year.
“It is exciting to hear about (fiber network) providers continuing to improve services to the island,” said Oak Harbor City Administrator Blaine Oborn. “The City of Oak Harbor participates in the Island County Broadband Action Team and supports expanding broadband services.”
Residents in covered areas interested in switching to fiber may choose from several different plans. Ziply participates in the Affordable Connectivity Program, a government benefit program which allows qualified people to receive free or reduced-cost internet service.
Miller said folks should look into this program, or other similar programs such as Lifeline, no matter who their internet provider is, because lots of qualifying individuals aren’t aware that this benefit exists.
“We want to make sure that if you’re a family or individual who qualifies, you should look into it whether you’re a Ziply customer or not,” he said.
Information about free or reduced-cost internet services can be found at ziplyfiber.com/community-discount-programs.