State Grants Bring High Speed Internet to Rural Washingtonians
Tuesday, May 30, 2023
State grants could bring high-speed internet access to nearly 15,000 Washingtonians.
The State Broadband Office is awarding $121 million to 19 projects largely designed to ensure broadband for rural communities.
Director of the Washington State Broadband Office Mark Vasconi said an even greater number of communities will need to be served after this round of grants.
"We received over $300 million worth of requests," said Vasconi. "So, I think that shows the need that's out there and, frankly, we were glad that we were able to award the projects that we did."
The state has a goal of ensuring every Washingtonian has access to 150 megabits per second speed internet by 2028.
According to the latest Federal Communications Commission broadband map, 93% of Washingtonians have access to internet with speeds of at least 100 megabits per second.
Vasconi said internet availability will equalize access to services for the people who live in Washington.
"You have access to services, access to information that you otherwise would not have," said Vasconi. "It's really essential in order to conduct your daily life, whether that be health care information, educational information, banking information."
Funds are going to counties and electric co-ops - as well as the Spokane Tribe, which is receiving about $3.4 million. The state is funding the project with investments from the federal Coronavirus Capital Project Fund.
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