The Port of Lewiston will construct and then lease a dark fiber optic network starting later this year, with the first phase of the network located in the city of Lewiston and future phases expanding further into surrounding Nez Perce County. The network would provide high-speed Internet access to businesses and homes, though the Port itself wouldn’t sell access directly to consumers.
The fiber would be available for private Internet service providers to lease. They would then sell access to users.
“We’re just providing an infrastructure that anyone can run on. We do not provide service to the end user,” said David Doeringsfeld, the port’s manager.
“It provides more redundancy, more bandwidth and more competition within the port district,” Doeringsfeld said.
The new project is modeled after one in nearby Port of Whitman in Washington state that has become a major source of revenue for that port. The two ports are working together on Lewiston’s project, which will connect Lewiston’s new fiber to Whitman’s existing system.
The project has a $950,000 budget for this year and the project could go out to bid in August or September, Doeringsfeld said. Lewiston has the state’s only port. Other cities, including Ammon and Idaho Falls, have built similar networks, known as dark fiber networks.