On Monday evening, March 18, the Tacoma Public Utility Board voted to adopt a resolution to pursue negotiations with Tacoma-based internet service provider, Rainier Connect, for expansion of the existing public-private partnership, which includes maintaining the Click! Network as a publicly-owned asset. The resolution will be presented to the City Council next for consideration.
Tacoma City Council and the Public Utility Board were recently presented with an assessment by experts of consulting firm, CTC Technology and Energy. After a year-long RFI/Q process that saw the field of potential partners reduced from five to two (Wave Broadband and Rainier Connect), CTC recommended Rainier Connect as the optimal choice.
The final two potential partners worked with CTC and City staff to develop term sheets that were evaluated for alignment with the 12 policy goals established by both the City Council and Public Utility Board last March. CTC presented a side-by-side comparison of how the term sheets address each policy goal.
Either proposal ensures Tacoma residents retain ownership of Click! Network. Both proposals represent landmark commitments to net neutrality, customer privacy, low-income affordability and non-transfer to entity with substantial market share. Rainier Connect, a local internet provider that has been in business in Tacoma for more than 100 years provided the strongest assurance related to non-transfer.
Negotiations with Rainier Connect are expected to take several months. If a final contract is approved, it will include a plan to minimize service disruption to existing customers.
In the coming weeks, members of the public can learn more about the two proposals and provide feedback on CTC’s assessment online at MyTPU.org/ClickUpdate. They may also attend the following events for more information:
- City of Tacoma’s Citizen Forum on March 19 at 5:00 p.m. at the Tacoma Municipal Building, 747 Market St, Tacoma.
- City Council meeting on March 26 at 5:00 p.m. at the Tacoma Municipal Building, 747 Market St, Tacoma.