PEND OREILLE: Murray Announces Major Rural Broadband Grant for Northeast Washington State

Apr 26 2010

Federal grant will help Pend Oreille County connect 3,200 households, 360 businesses, and 24 community anchor institutions.

(Washington, D.C.) – Today U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) announced a major federal grant of $27 million to the Pend Oreille County PUD Broadband Network project to bring high-speed, affordable broadband to underserved areas of Pend Oreille County in northeastern Washington state. The fiber-to-the-premises network will deploy approximately 526 miles of fiber-optic cable to deliver last-mile broadband Internet services and facilitate critical network redundancy in this rural area. The project plans to offer affordable, high-speed broadband access to as many as 3,200 households, 360 businesses, and 24 community anchor institutions.

“This investment will connect Pend Oreille families and small business owners to the critical broadband services already available in cities and towns across the country,” said Senator Patty Murray. “In today’s economy, broadband access is no longer a luxury, it’s a necessity A community’s ZIP code should never limit its access to high speed internet for local families and businesses. I fought hard to include rural broadband funding in the Recovery Act because we need to make sure we don’t leave Pend Oreille or any rural community behind.”

 The Pend Oreille County PUD Broadband Network will also:

  • Stimulate economic development and growth in this economically distressed, low-density area of Washington state by improving access to high capacity, affordable broadband services;
  • Enhance broadband capabilities for health care facilities, higher education institutions, and government offices;
  • Provide wholesale service speeds from 10 Mbps up to 1 Gbps to other carriers and service providers, and retail speeds of 1 Mbps to 1 Gbps to households, businesses, and critical community facilities.

 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.