WENATCHEE — The Chelan County PUD is considering speeding up its fiber internet rollout.

The proposed plan would extend the utility’s fiber optic network to 5,800 homes by 2024, around 1,200 more than previously planned, according to a Monday news release.

The PUD has spent years expanding high-speed fiber availability in Chelan County. Currently 76% of the county is on the network.

In 2016 it committed $25 million to increase coverage to 85-90% of the county.

Access to the network is a common request from residents, General Manager Steve Wright said in the release.

“Accelerating the fiber build-out was the number one issue we heard about during our strategic planning process,” he said. “Now more than ever, this is something highly valued by our customer-owners.”

The shift to online education during the pandemic has also reinforced the need for high-speed internet, Commissioner Dennis Bolz said in the release.

“Getting this expansion done as rapidly as possible is in everybody’s best interest,” he said. “We need to do our part.”

Commissioners are set to have a final discussion on the plan at their Sept. 8 board meeting.

Reilly Kneedler: 661-5213

kneedler@wenatcheeworld.com or

on Twitter @reillykneedler