By June, the networks in the Ports of Clarkson and Lewiston will at last be connected after months of negotiation, collaboration, and unraveling and old conduit mystery.
Network Stalled By Conduit Question
Last summer, we reported how the two communities had each invested in publicly owned fiber Internet infrastructure with the plan to connect the networks at the Soothsay Bridge across the Snake River. An issue arose when rights to ownership arose regarding ownership and use of conduit on the bridge. CenturyLink controlled 20 conduits on the bridge that it obtained years ago as part of Pacific Northwest Bell. The provider was only using five of the conduit. The Ports had doubts about who actually owned the conduit and so the Port of Clarkson filed a Freedom of Information Act with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to determine the true owners. In the meantime, CenturyLink offered the Port of Clarkston use of one of the conduits for $0.
Soon, the parties involved discovered that there was no lease between CenturyLink and any of possible four jurisdictions involved - Nez Perce and Asotin counties or the cities of Lewiston and Clarkston, current co-owners of the bridge.
After unraveling the conduit ownership issue, reports the Lewiston Tribune, all five entities worked out an agreement to govern the conduit:
Those entities spent months negotiating, and in recent weeks elected officials from both counties and both cities signed off on an agreement. It makes the city of Lewiston’s Public Works Department the primary point of contact for CenturyLink and allows any one of the bridge owners to veto a lease or sale of the conduit. CenturyLink is not required to pay to be on the bridge.
Now that the point of connection between the two networks is settled, the two Ports have completed an agreement to authorize the Port of Lewiston as the entity to head up installation of conduit on the Southway Bridge.
Both networks offer dark fiber connectivity to local community anchor institutions (CAIs), ISPs, and a few businesses. In addition to dark fiber networks in Lewiston and Clarkston, the Port of Whitman County has owned and operated a similar endeavor for over ten years. The three networks connect to form a loop for redundant connectivity throughout the region spanning the border between the ports in northwest Idaho and southeast Washington.