On April 1, 2020, Click! Network, an operating entity of Tacoma Public Utilities (TPU), will transfer operational control to Rainier Connect North, LLC, a local, family-owned Internet service provider. Rainier Connect will provide high-speed Internet, cable TV, and phone service over the City of Tacoma’s Click! network. Rainier Connect was selected following an extensive selection process to identify an operating partner for the publicly owned network. TPU through Tacoma Power will continue to own the network. The two organizations are committed to ensuring there is no interruption of service during the transition.
“In light of the current public health crisis, we know that now, more than ever, Internet and telecommunications access is important to our customers,” said Jackie Flowers, Director of Tacoma Public Utilities. “We understand this transition is happening at a difficult time for many and will work with Rainier Connect to make sure no Click! customers experience disconnection of cable or Internet service during this transition.”
Earlier this month, in collaboration with Tacoma Public Utilities, Rainier Connect joined providers around the country in signing the “Keep Americans Connected Pledge,” which states that they will not terminate service to any residential or small business customer for their inability to pay, will waive late fees, and where possible, support open Wi-Fi hotspots during the coronavirus pandemic.
“We are acutely aware of the dependence people have on Internet, cable, and phone services, especially now,” said Brian Haynes, President and CEO of Rainier Connect. “I want to reassure our current customers and those in transition from the Click! Network that we are doing everything we can to improve and strengthen the network to empower people to stay informed, stay connected, and be safe in their social distancing at home. During this time of transition, regardless of whether they have established an account with us, we will not disconnect anyone during this time of community crisis.”
Click! Network and Rainier Connect personnel have been working together to make the transition as seamless for customers as possible. The transition process began several months ago, and today, most actions related to the transfer have been completed. TPU has off boarded employees and surplused equipment that would be needed for TPU to continue providing service. As a result, the transition to Rainier Connect will continue as planned. The positive outcome is that Cable TV customers should see very little change in service, as the channel line-up, bill amounts, and bill cycles remain the same. Click! customers should visit Rainier Connect’s website for instructions on how to update payment information.
Rainier Connect has set up a web page to provide customers with the information they need to manage their accounts: www.rainierconnect.com/welcome-click-customers.
Customers who receive services other than Internet or cable through one of the previous Click! Network Internet service providers, Advanced Stream, such as e-mail or voice (telephone) services, should contact Advanced Stream directly to determine if they will continue to provide these other services after March 30. After ongoing negotiations and publication of Rainier Connect’s open access programs, there is not currently an agreement between Advanced Stream and Rainier Connect. At this point, the City is preparing to transition all cable customers to the new operator per the agreement signed November 5, 2019. Rainier Connect Internet customers will remain Rainier Connect customers. Rainier Connect has also agreed to allow Advance Stream customers a grace period during which they will continue to receive Internet services while they transition to a new Internet provider. The City’s understanding is that Advanced Stream has the ability to continue its customers’ e-mail and voice (telephone) services during this transition period, and the City hopes that Advanced Stream will make every possible effort to keep those services going during this public health crisis.
Visit MyTPU.org/ClickUpdate for additional background information about the public-private partnership.