News Releases

Senators Murray, Cantwell Applaud Major Investment to Connect Communities Across Washington State

Aug 04 2010

Federal grants will provide broadband access to approximately 35,000 people and 1,400 businesses in Washington state

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) announced that Washington state will receive over $40 million in federal grants to expand access to high-speed, affordable broadband to underserved rural communities. Funding for the grants were included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and could provide 33,700 people and 1,470 businesses across Washington state access to high-speed internet.

“Families and small business owners in communities across Washington state need and deserve access to high-speed internet that’s already available in cities and towns across the country,” said Senator Patty Murray. “It should be our goal to make sure that a community’s ZIP code never limits their access to broadband internet. These grants will help lay the critical groundwork needed to make that goal a reality.”

“Investing in broadband infrastructure is an investment in our communities, our economy and our nation, which will provide dividends for decades to come,” Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) said. “This broadband infrastructure Recovery Act funding will leverage private dollars to create jobs and improve access to crucial services in underserved rural communities in Washington state. These grants are part of our broader push to bridge the digital divide and provide for universal access to high-speed Internet, so every American can receive equal educational, business and employment opportunities no matter where they live in Washington state.”    

Senator Murray is a longtime supporter of expanding broadband access to communities throughout Washington state. Senator Murray has introduced and supported several bills that aim to bring high-speed internet access to rural areas including the Community Telecommunications Planning Act, the Broadband Internet Access Act and the Rural Broadband Enhancement Act. She has also worked to include funding for access programs in the Farm Bill and Recovery Act. Senator Murray has also chaired conferences around the state, aimed at helping small and rural communities take advantage of new telecommunications technologies.

Senator Cantwell is deeply committed to expanding access to high-speed broadband Internet service across Washington and the nation. She sees high-speed broadband as a critical element for economic development, as a means to strengthen our global competitiveness, and for improving the quality of life for residents in communities large and small, urban and rural. Senator Cantwell has worked to increase broadband access for all Washingtonians, and she strongly supported the inclusion of broadband grant and loan programs in ARRA.

The following projects were awarded grants:

Public Utility District 1 of Chelan County – $24,963,089

This $25 million grant to the Public Utility District 1 of Chelan County with an additional $8.3 million of outside capital will extend its Fiber-to-the-Premise (FTTP) infrastructure to serve the remaining 6,811 rural premises that are still without access to broadband. Public Utility District 1 of Chelan County's project stands to benefit approximately 16,000 people, 135 businesses, and 15 community institutions. In addition to the jobs this project will create upfront, it will help drive economic development and create jobs for decades to come.

Public Utility District 1 of Okanogan County – $9,169,637

This $9.1 million grant to Public Utility District 1 of Okanogan County with an additional $9.9 million of outside capital will extend high-speed broadband to 6,543 residents and businesses located in rural, unserved and underserved Okanogan County using a fiber backbone and 170 wireless access nodes. Public Utility District 1 of Okanogan County's project stands to benefit approximately 13,000 people, 1,100 businesses, and 35 community institutions. In addition to the jobs this project will create upfront, it will help drive economic development and create jobs for decades to come.

Hood Canal Telephone Co., Inc. – $3,616,000

This $3.6 million award to Hood Canal Telephone Company, Inc. will expand broadband service throughout rural Mason County, Washington. This proposal includes parts of the Squaxin Indian Reservation, the area surrounding Pioneer School, and several other developments. Hood Canal Telephone Company's project stands to benefit approximately 1,600 people, 35 businesses, and 5 community institutions. In addition to the jobs this project will create upfront, it will help drive economic development and create jobs for decades to come.

Cascade Networks, Inc. – $3,731,069

This $3.7 million award to Cascade Networks, Inc. with an additional $1.2 million of outside capital will extend broadband reach beyond to unserved customers in Columbia County, Oregon. Cascade Network's project stands to benefit approximately 3,100 people, 200 businesses, and 5 community institutions. In addition to the jobs this project will create upfront, it will help drive economic development and create jobs for decades to come.

McDaniel Telephone Company – $1,192,951

This $1.2 million grant to McDaniel Telephone Company with an additional $398,000 applicant-provided match will bring high-speed DSL broadband service to unserved establishments within its rural service territory in Washington. McDaniel Telephone's project stands to benefit approximately 1,400 people, and several businesses. In addition to the jobs this project will create upfront, it will help drive economic development and create jobs for decades to come.