Broadband Construction FAQ
Broadband Terminology

PWB Broadband
Eligible Applicants for State Funding (Not currently open)

Public Entities:
• Cities and Towns
• Counties
• Public Port Districts
• Public Utility Districts
• Other Special Purpose Districts
• Quasi-Municipal Corporation
• Tribes
• Nonprofit Organizations
• Cooperative Associations

Private Entities:
• Limited liability corporations organized for the purpose of expanding broadband access
• Incorporated businesses or partnerships

To ensure that a grant or loan to a private entity primarily serves the public interest and benefits the public, there must be a guarantee that the asset or infrastructure to be developed will be maintained for public use for a period of at least fifteen years.

Funding Limits for State Funding
(Not currently open)

• $2 million per project loan/grant award limit with a 50% match.
• Projects in financially distressed areas and Indian country may receive up to 90% of the total project cost for a total not to exceed $5 million.

Information

Geographic distribution of PWB broadband planning and construction awards.
Click to enlarge

Scoring Criteria for All Broadband Program Applications (Updated 4/27/2021)
Distressed Areas List

Broadband Construction Federally Funded Grants – Closed

Proposed project location and speeds (Posted 10/12/2021)
Application Objection Form (Due 11/11/21)

Eligible applicants for CVC-2 grant funds are: local governments, tribal governments, and special purpose districts. There is no match requirement for these federal funds.

The Public Works Board Broadband Construction Federally Funded Grant  program focuses on activities that provide broadband internet service to unserved and underserved areas of the state (25/3 connection speeds or less). Projects must deliver 100/20 scalable to 100/100 end point service. CVC-2 funding is restricted to local governments, tribes, and special purpose districts. Please refer to the application guidelines and the Guidance for the Coronavirus Capital Project Fund.

2020 Broadband Construction Application Results

On October 23, 2020 the Public Works Board approved $17,828,760 in funding for Broadband Construction Grants and Loans. The ranked list of applications and awards is available here.

Broadband Planning Assessment Survey

In order to determine the unserved broadband need in Washington, the Public Works Board is seeking responses to the Statewide Broadband Planning Assessment Survey.  The survey will help the PWB plan for training and focus support for specific areas: feasibility, pre-construction planning, and construction.

By understanding where you are with your broadband planning and projects, the PWB is able to better define overall need and develop a clear picture to communicate to our Legislative partners.

2019 Planning-Feasibility Study Grant Awards

On December 6, 2019 the Public Works Board approved $450,000 in funding for Broadband Planning-Feasibility Study Grants.

For the ranked list of applicants, click here.

Planning-Feasibility Study Grants
Cycle – Closed

Broadband Planning-Feasibility Study Grants are for strategic planning activities that facilitate the deployment of broadband service in unserved areas across Washington. The total amount available is $500,000, with a maximum award of $50,000 per applicant.

Broadband Planning-Feasibility Grant Application Guidelines (PDF)
Broadband Planning-Feasibility Application Preview (PDF)  

Feasibility and Outreach Grant
Cycle – Closed

Broadband Feasibility and Outreach grants support public outreach and engagement activities that establish and galvanize community-based efforts to bring broadband infrastructure to unserved areas. Community-based efforts, such as Broadband Action Teams, are essential to ensure that community needs are met in planning for broadband expansion.

Broadband Feasibility and Outreach Grant Application Guidelines (PDF)
Broadband Feasibility and Outreach Grant Application Preview (PDF)

Project Manager

Project managers are here to assist you in making your project a success. The Project Manager for PWB Broadband is:

Sheila Richardson
Broadband Program Manager
Sheila.Richardson@commerce.wa.gov
Phone: 564-999-1927


Join the Broadband Email List

Program Resources and Cultural Review Information

In order to protect the rich cultural heritage of Washington state, Governor Jay Inslee signed Executive Order 21-02 (GEO 21-02). Recipients of state capital funds must consult with the Department of Archaeology & Historic Preservation (DAHP) and any Federally recognized Indian tribes that may have cultural and/or historic interest or concerns in the project’s vicinity. However, if the project is subject to Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act  through federal involvement (such as the use of Federal funding or the need to acquire Federal permits), then the Governor’s Executive Order (GEO) 21-02 process is unnecessary.

Recipients will not move forward with any pre-construction or construction activities that will disturb soils(such as, drilling test wells, completing geo-tech work, grading, clearing, etc.), or construction activities until GEO 21-02 is completed (and/or both the SERP and 106 processes, if applicable) and the PWB has issued a final compliance letter. If ground-disturbing activities occur prior to the Recipient receiving the final compliance letter, the PWB loan funding will be jeopardized.

A government-to-government relationship must be properly adhered to for the cultural review. As such, it is the PWB’s responsibility to contact the Tribes and the DAHP. The PWB will notify the Recipient when a cultural resources survey is necessary. It is the Recipient’s responsibility to hire a qualified archaeologist to conduct the survey and submit a draft of the survey to the PWB for final approval.

Connie Rivera is the Public Works Board’s primary contact regarding the GEO 21-02 process. Award recipients start the process by submitting an EZ1 form to the PWB Program Director & Tribal Liaison. The PWB Program Director & Tribal Liaison will conduct the consultation with the DAHP and the Tribes. You can email materials to Connie.Rivera@commerce.wa.gov or mail to:

Connie Rivera
Department of Commerce
Public Works Board
PO Box 42525
Olympia, WA 98504-2525

The GEO 21-02 process requires award recipients to define the construction project area for potential impact, and identify any building or structures 45-years or older that are located within the project site. For projects that plan to alter structure 45-years of age or older, an online inventory survey must be completed by the Recipient. The DAHP can issue a broad range of responses to the submittal. A common response is a “No Effect Upon Cultural/Historic Properties” letter. If you receive such a letter, you have completed the DAHP portion of the review.

If the DAHP requires more information (completion of additional forms, cultural survey, inadvertent discovery plan, etc.) you must comply with the request. It is possible that you will need to hire a professional archaeologist to address this. Only when the DAHP concurs with the additional materials provided is the DAHP portion of GEO 21-02 complete. For projects that plan to alter structures 45 years of age or older, an online inventory survey must be completed.

Tribal consultation is initiated by the PWB Program Director & Tribal Liaison sending a letter to the potential affected Federally recognized Indian tribes(s). The letter details any project information describing the location and extent of the project, along with a map of the impacted area. The Tribe(s) will be allowed at least 30-days to respond. There may be no response, or there may be a wide range of responses to the information provided. As with the DAHP, if additional materials are required, they must be provided to the Tribe(s) and they must concur with the findings.

Statewide Broadband Account

The Statewide Broadband Account is funded through legislative appropriation, the proceeds of bond sales authorized by the legislature, repayment of loans, or any other lawful source.

In the 2019-21 biennium, the Statewide Broadband Account received a $21.5 million transfer from the Public Works Assistance Account (PWAA) for broadband capital projects, less operating costs to staff the program.