Click!ing Outside of Tacoma


Click! Network, the broadband offshoot of Tacoma (Wash.) Power, has been
granted its first cable franchise outside of its home city.

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

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

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

The utility estimated that 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
optic to power customers outside of Tacoma so that in the future, the utility
can power on and off remotely and monitor power consumption, Lachel said.

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

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

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