How the
Northwest Connects


Our Story

NoaNet was founded in 2000 by Washington Public Utility Districts to realize the economic benefits of broadband to unserved and underserved areas of Washington State. Quality and affordable broadband access for all Washington State communities is necessary to thrive in today’s digital age. A lack of sufficient bandwidth or broadband limits educational opportunities and information exchange, discouraging businesses from relocating or expanding.

The NoaNet Mission: Leverage relationships and resources to develop and operate a world-class, open-access information technology platform and network that enhances people’s lives and business opportunities in the state of Washington and facilitates member utility operations.

NoaNet: A Timeline of Accomplishments


NoaNet - Northwest Open Access Network
NoaNet founded
NoaNet was incorporated on February 7th, 2000. It was founded by Greg Marney, who was then the Assistant General Manager at Douglas PUD.


NoaNet has 1 OC-48
NoaNet provisions the first statewide OC-48 public benefit network. An OC-48 transports 2.5 Gbps or roughly 500 T-1 circuits.


NoaNet is the K-20 Network
NoaNet was awarded the first Ethernet pilot with K-20 networks replacing legacy T-1 transport for educational broadband services. This new network would support 10 Mbps circuits from 26 schools in Central Washington to the State Data Center in Olympia, WA.


NoaNet - WA State Broadband Solutions Provider
5 Gigabits of Capacity
NoaNet's network reaches a total of 5 total gigabits of capacity.


NoaNet - Northwest Open Access Network
NoaNet's NOC Opens
NoaNet opens its 24x7x365 state-of-the-art Network Operations Center in Spokane to support network operations for Public Utility District Networks.


First 10G in the Northwest
NoaNet is proud to announce the first 10Gbps circuit in the Northwest, a high-capacity broadband backbone to support the communities of Washington State.


Infrastructure Continues to Expand
NoaNet grows to 23 PoPs (Points of Presence) and has deployed over 1200 miles of Fiber Optic cable. This year in NoaNet history, the backbone network migrated from a legacy SONET-SDH circuit-switched network to an all pure Ethernet and packet-based network.


Statewide Government Impact
By 2006, NoaNet infrastructure is carrying 40% of all Washington government traffic.


Quincy Data Centers
NoaNet puts Quincy, a rural agricultural community, on the map with the delivery of high-capacity 10 Gbps fiber optic-fed broadband to support large-scale cloud services and data center development.


NoaNet - Northwest Open Access Network
BTOP Round 1 Awarded- $84.3 Million
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) Broadband Technology Opportunity Program (BTOP) awards NoaNet, and its sub-participants $84.3 million to promote middle-mile broadband infrastructure development and connect community anchor institutions in unserved and underserved areas of Washington State.


NoaNet - WA State Broadband Solutions Provider
BTOP Round 2 Awarded- $54.4 Million
NoaNet is awarded a second round of grant funding for the Broadband Technology Opportunity Program (BTOP) to support the deployment of a network for rural communities in Washington State. These combined awards make Washington the 3rd highest-awarded state in the county.


NoaNet - WA State Broadband Solutions Provider
BTOP Round 1 Complete
After the first round of BTOP, NoaNet has constructed over 950 miles of fiber in WA State to create new redundant loops for critical traffic.


NoaNet - Northwest Open Access Network
BTOP Creates Jobs
NoaNet's BTOP Expansion creates more than 200 new jobs across Washington.


NoaNet - Northwest Open Access Network
BTOP Round 2 Complete
With the Completion of BTOP Round 2, NoaNet and its supporting networks have added 1600 miles of fiber optic capacity to 26 counties across the state, connecting over 300 Anchor Institutions such as hospitals, libraries, and state agencies.


NoaNet - Northwest Open Access Network
NoaNet installs a 100G transport circuit
It's the first of its kind in the Pacific Northwest!


NoaNet - Northwest Open Access Network
Live Streaming of NFL on 100G
NoaNet carries live streaming of Yahoo NFL from the data centers in Quincy, WA, as over 100 million viewers watched our beloved Seahawks lose to the Patriots.


NoaNet - Northwest Open Access Network
Anchor Institution Access Expanded
170 Communities and 200 schools, libraries, hospitals, and government buildings have access to broadband through NoaNet's network.


NoaNet - WA State Broadband Solutions Provider
Security & Access Control Services
NoaNet launches OTT (Over the Top) Services, including Access Control and Surveillance, to increase opportunities for streamlining in rural communities.


NoaNet - Northwest Open Access Network
NoaNet Awarded State NG911 Subcontract
Public Safety and NoaNet have roots that go back almost to when NoaNet started. NoaNet’s vision has always been to advance telecommunications services in Washington State. That vision has led NoaNet to have thousands of miles of fiber infrastructure throughout the state that will be leveraged to move the State’s 911 system from its legacy system to the Next Generation system.


NoaNet - Northwest Open Access Network
First PSAP Turned Up On NoaNet's Network
On the morning of May 1, 2018, NoaNet and the state emergency response network successfully cutover the first Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) at RiverComin Wenatchee (which serves as a 911 call center for Chelan and Douglas counties), to the new NG911 Emergency Service Internet Protocol Network (ESInetII). This marks the first of 64 public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) across the state that will eventually make the switchover.


NoaNet - Northwest Open Access Network
Washington State's Public Benefit Network
In 2020, twenty years since it's inception, NoaNet operates a fiber network that totals over 3,300 fiber miles and touches every county of Washington State! We operate the State’s 911 system, connect roughly 400 cell towers to enhance rural mobile connectivity, and have over 100 Retail Service Providers who serve off our network.


NoaNet - Northwest Open Access Network
Covid-19 Community Public WiFi
NoaNet worked tirelessly with the State Broadband Office to execute a statewide plan to get free Wi-Fi hotspots deployed for community use during the Covid-19 pandemic. Out of the nearly 300 sites active across the state, NoaNet and its members comprised 2/3rds of the statewide deployments.


NoaNet - Northwest Open Access Network
NG911 Network is Complete
All 64 of Washington State's Public Safety Answering Points are operational. 100% of Washington State's 911 calls are now transported over an Ethernet transport, replacing legacy phone analog systems. Washington's 911 network is now better than ever!


400 Gbps Backbone
We’ve got our first 400Gbps statewide backbone link up and running!


Support Grant Applications
2022 was a landmark year for NoaNet's community support efforts through our professional services program. We worked with dozens of communities on broadband planning and applied for more than $300 million in grant funds for broadband infrastructure!


Amplifying Capacity
We’ve turned up over a terabyte of bandwidth on our backbone for a single carrier customer! A terabyte (TB) is a unit of digital data that is equal to about 1 trillion bytes (per second).

Origins of NoaNet: Connecting Washington's Communities

On February 7th, 2000, Greg Marney, then Assistant General Manager at Douglas PUD, incorporated NoaNet, short for Northwest Open Access Network. During this period, the I-5 corridor experienced a surge in economic and technological growth, while the opportunities east of the Cascades dwindled. The lack of telecom investment in affordable, reliable broadband access on the Eastside exacerbated the economic and social divide between urban and rural populations.

Recognizing the strategic value of fiber optics over wireless infrastructure, Greg Marney led Douglas PUD in investing in this technology. This decision aimed not only to enhance real-time monitoring and control of DCPUD utility infrastructure but also to improve the reliability, efficiency, and effectiveness of utility service delivery to customers.

In 2000, PUDs were granted the authority to address the digital divide by providing wholesale telecommunications services. This pivotal moment paved the way for community telecom initiatives, leading to the creation of NoaNet. While other PUDs within the Washington PUD Association (WPUDA) were also investing in fiber infrastructure, the challenge lay in making it both affordable and reliable, especially in areas beyond Seattle and Portland. Connecting rural communities to the Internet required a more effective solution.

Fortuitously, the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) introduced the Public Purpose Fiber Program. This program offered access to lease BPA fibers region-wide, provided the operator committed to serving every rural county the BPA fiber traversed. The initial low lease rates, escalating over a twenty-year term, presented an opportunity to bring affordable and reliable Internet to DCPUD and the entire state. Greg Marney advocated for WPUDA to fund a startup telecom company that would lease and operate BPA fibers, connecting to every rural PUD statewide. This initiative, named the Northwest Open Access Network, emphasized open access as a core principle.

NoaNet was incorporated as a mutual non-profit corporation under the guidance of its first Board of Directors. In less than 12 months, with an initial staff of 6, NoaNet established 23 Points of Presence, implemented advanced technology statewide, and was poised to serve customers, turning the vision of a statewide open-access network into a reality.

NoaNet Today: Advancing Connectivity Across Washington State

Today, NoaNet boasts a robust fiber network spanning over 3,800 miles throughout Washington State. This extensive infrastructure connects local Public Utility Districts (PUDs), anchor institutions, independent communications networks, and communities together, linking them to major carrier connection points in Seattle and Spokane. Covering every county in the state, the NoaNet network reaches hundreds of communities and businesses, ushering in advanced broadband services to previously inaccessible areas.

At NoaNet, we firmly believe that every community deserves broadband access to enhance the quality of life and impact health, safety, enterprise, and education. Throughout our history, we’ve remained steadfast in our commitment to empowering communities through technology and propelling them forward. This mission and vision have only become stronger as the organization has developed, and the need for broadband access has become ever more critical.

As Washington State’s premier public and community broadband facilitator for over two decades, we assist our technology and community partners in navigating the intricate protocols and processes required for connectivity. Engaging with community stakeholders, we strive to understand their unique needs and priorities, develop a strategic plan, and bring it to fruition. From inception to implementation, we offer state-of-the-art solutions, reaching from remote mountain communities to island towns, employing smart, creative, and collaborative problem-solving approaches to extend broadband access wherever possible.

As a non-profit organization, NoaNet reinvests every dollar earned back into advancing broadband connectivity for Washington’s communities. Unlike shareholder-driven entities with global interests, our singular focus remains on fostering local empowerment and bridging the digital divide across the state.

Looking Forward: NoaNet's Vision for the Future

Despite the persistence of underserved communities in Washington State lacking essential infrastructure, NoaNet remains at the forefront, tirelessly crafting innovative solutions to narrow the digital divide. We’ve witnessed firsthand the transformative power of broadband in communities, and our commitment to fostering connectivity continues to grow.

Our vision extends beyond the present challenges, foreseeing a future where Washington State thrives as a fully connected ecosystem. Envisioning “smart regions,” electric and autonomous vehicles, seamless logistics, telehealth, advanced education, efficient government services, and remote learning and working opportunities, we believe in the potential of a technologically enriched future.

The realization of these ambitions is within reach through strategic planning and forward-thinking initiatives. NoaNet is dedicated to making these aspirations a reality, creating pathways for a connected and technologically advanced Washington State. Explore the possibilities with us—contact NoaNet today to discover what can be achieved in building a more connected and vibrant future.

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