OLYMPIA, Wash. - The Washington State Broadband Office announced $145 million in funding to connect 14 underserved areas to the internet.
The funding covers 13 projects aimed to bring these communities onto the state's broadband infrastructure, a step towards Washington's goal of connecting everyone in the state to the internet by 2028.
Recipients include several Native tribes, small counties and underserved areas.
"Infrastructure is the foundation for digital equity. From education and healthcare to e-commerce and community services, the daily essentials needed for people and our economy to thrive are increasingly found online," said Washington Commerce Director Lisa Brown "Washington state’s goal is to ensure all of our residents have access to affordable high-speed internet, as well as the devices, skills and confidence needed to connect with critical resources."
The funding breaks down as follows:
- Lewis County: $23.5 million with a project completion date of Dec. 31, 2026
- Clallam County: $20.27 million with a project completion date of Dec. 31, 2023
- Spokane Tribe of Indians: $16.8 million with a project completion date of Dec. 31, 2024
- Snohomish County: $16.7 million with project completion by Jan. 31, 2024
- Washington Independent Telecommunications Association: $14.86 million, two projects with completion dates of Dec. 31, 2024
- King County: $11.8 million with project completion by Jan. 31, 2023
- Adams County: $10.3 million with project completion by Dec. 1, 2023
- Public Utility District #1 of Jefferson County: $9.7 million for north fiber project, completion scheduled on Dec. 1, 2024
- Nisqually Indian Tribe: $6.77 million with project completion by Dec. 31, 2023
- Lincoln County: $5.2 million with project completion by Dec. 31, 2023
- Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation: $4.09 million with project completion by Dec. 31, 2024
- Port of Bellingham: $4 million with project completion by Dec. 31, 2024
- Port of Whitman County: $1.06 million with estimated project completion by Dec. 1, 2023
"This grant from the Washington State Broadband Office will be transformative for our families, businesses, and educators in Snohomish County, especially those still recovering from the SR-530 landslide," said Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers. "Broadband deserts are seriously risking the health and welfare of our residents, and this grant will bring the SR-530 corridor economic, educational, health care, and cultural benefits. I appreciate the partnership with the Snohomish County Council and our Broadband Action Team, who spearheaded our efforts to secure this grant."
Applicants asked for more than $413 million for 36 infrastructural projects, and the Department of Commerce says a second round of grants totaling $120 million will open Spring 2022.
"Broadband infrastructure and access to high-speed internet service is critical to residents, businesses, schools, hospitals and public safety in Lewis County. This is a big step in addressing the areas that are unserved or underserved, bringing us one step closer to closing the digital divide," said Lewis County Commissioner Lindsey Pollock.
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