Click! Franchised Outside Tacoma


Click!, the broadband-provider offshoot of Tacoma Power & Light, has been granted its first cable franchise outside of its home city.

On Jan. 6, the University Place, Wash., City Council unanimously approved a 10-year franchise for the utility. Click! already has part of its redundant backbone beneath the city's streets, according to spokeswoman Diane Lachel.

The expansion still has to be approved by the utility's board, which has scheduled its vote for Jan. 22.

The municipal cable operation boasts 21,500 customers in Tacoma, for a 31 percent penetration rate. Its success has come at the expense of the incumbent cable operator, which is transitioning from AT&T Broadband to Comcast Corp.

Click! estimates it can achieve a 24 percent penetration rate in the expansion community, where it will pass 13,000 homes.

The primary impetus for the expansion by the power company is to extend fiber optics to its power customers outside Tacoma, so in the future the utility can switch power on and off remotely and monitor electricity consumption, Lachel said.

"It's a capital investment we'd make either way," Lachel added.

Click! has a $15 million budget to use during the next two years to fund the University Place expansion, as well as possible line extensions to Fircrest and Lakewood. No negotiations have taken place with the latter two communities, Lachel said.

If the power board approves the expansion, Click! may begin construction within the new franchise territory in February.