Help us identify low or no high-speed internet service areas in Washington state

Washington State Broadband Office

In 2019, the Washington Legislature enacted Second Substitute Senate Bill 5511, recognizing that broadband access is critical to the residents of Washington. The legislation established access and download/upload speed goals for residences, businesses and communities.

Our mission
To enrich the lives of all Washington state residents and businesses by ensuring they have access to affordable, reliable, redundant and scalable/future proof broadband technologies ensuring the economic viability of both urban and rural Washington state today and into the future.

It is the goal of the state of Washington under RCW 43.330.536:

  • By 2024: 25/3 megabits per second (Mbps) scalable
  • By 2026: 1/1 gigabit per second (Gbps) all anchor institutions
  • By 2028: 150/150 Mbps all residents and businesses

Broadband Infrastructure Funding

We’d like to provide an update on the timeline for the Infrastructure Acceleration Grant (IAG) 2022 / ARPA – Notification of Funding Opportunity (NOFO). While we originally targeted the NOFO for mid-June, we are pausing the release. Without having exact dates available, we anticipate the NOFO will be published in the fall, with award announcements expected in the first quarter of 2023.

What we’re doing now

The Washington State Broadband Office (WSBO) plans to use the time between now and the NOFO release in the fall to receive critical stakeholder engagement on a set of policy and procedure questions that are critical to the work we’re all doing.

Within the next few weeks, WSBO will send a list of questions for your consideration; we’d like to receive your written comments to inform how we move forward. Using your input, WSBO will create draft recommendations for each issue that we will then invite you to discuss with us in a roundtable event early this fall.

From the roundtable, we will develop final outcomes, including policy recommendations and/or process changes. We intend to have this step completed by mid-October, in time for integration into the upcoming NOFO.

This schedule is not yet finalized, however, we’ll send calendar holds and additional information as available. We believe using this time to get stakeholder feedback and to create collaborative outcomes will strengthen this NOFO process and create even greater transparency around our work.

How we’re communicating

Our goal is to be as communicative as possible about timelines and our stakeholder engagement process. With this message to potential applicants and partners, we’re hoping to have reached the majority of parties who will want this update. Please let us know if you believe we’ve missed communicating with a segment of our intended audience.

We appreciate your patience.

NOFO Listening Session All Parties

NOFO Listening Session ISP Focused

NOFO Listening session Tribal Nations

Spring 2022 funding round slide deck

Written Comments

The State Broadband Office finalized the list of projects that have been selected for funding in our first round of Infrastructure Acceleration Grants. A second round of funding will become available later this spring. 

IAG Recipient Handbook

Fall 2021 Infrastructure Acceleration Grants Award Winners

Fall 2021 WSBO Acceleration Grants Map

Fall 2021 Funding Cycle Full Application Materials (Closed)

The WSBO is one of 13 projects awarded funding from the NTIA Broadband Infrastructure Program. Washington will receive $30 million for last-mile fiber and last-mile wireless projects that aim to overcome barriers to broadband access and connectivity in five rural counties of the state: Ferry, Jefferson, Kittitas, Okanogan and Stevens, serving an estimated 7,196 unserved households. These counties were selected following through a 2019 assessment – part of our collaborative work between WSBO, Public Works Board and CERB to provide universal high-speed internet access throughout the state by 2024.

NTIA Award Breakdown

The WSBO has matching grants available for federal broadband infrastructure financing opportunities. Matching fund applications will be accepted on an ongoing basis for local partners applying for federal broadband infrastructure funding (grants or loans). Match grant awards will be committed on a first-come, first-served basis to eligible applicants whose projects are strong candidates for the federal funding opportunity sought. Match awards may not exceed $5 million or 25% of the federal grant amount sought, whichever is less.

Eligible applicants include local governments, federally recognized Tribes, nonprofit organizations and nonprofit cooperative organizations, and public-private partnerships

State Broadband Matching Grants

WSBO 21-23 Matching Guidelines

The State Broadband Office, the Public Works Board, and the Community Revitalization Board all fund broadband projects. What’s the difference? Learn more here: https://www.commerce.wa.gov/building-infrastructure/broadband-funding/

Digital Equity Forum

The WSBO and the Office of Equity are partnering to hold a Digital Equity Forum to advance digital equity in Washington. The Forum will host At-large meetings and community listening sessions through 2022.

Older men using computers

Digital Navigators Program

The State Broadband Office has partnered with four community organizations to bring trusted guides who assist community members in internet adoption and the use of computing devices.

Satelite dish

Municipal Retail Broadband

The Washington Legislature recently enacted two bills related to public entities’ provision of retail telecommunications services to help bridge the digital divide.

Drive-in wifi hotpots logo

Drive-in Wifi Hotspots

In response to the impacts of COVID-19, Drive-In WiFi Hotspots provide free temporary, emergency internet access for Washingtonians who do not have broadband service to their homes.

Affordable Connectivity Program

Get help paying for internet

1. Learn about the Affordable Connectivity Program

Congress created the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), a new long-term $14 billion program that replaced the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) Program in March 2022.

Households enrolled in the EBB Program as of 12/31/21 will be emailed information about how to re-enroll to the ACP program from their internet service provider. New households wanting to enroll can find a list of participating service providers on the FCC webpage

What changed Dec. 31, 2021?

  • The maximum monthly benefit changed from $50 per month to $30 per month for households not located on qualifying Tribal lands. The monthly benefit remains at $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands.
  • Households can qualify for the ACP in several ways:
    • Having an income at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines;
    • At least one person in the household receives benefits from one of the following federal assistance programs: Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Supplemental security Income, federal Public Housing Assistance (FHPA), or Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit;
    • At least one person in the household is in the free and reduced price lunch program or the school breakfast program; or
    • At least one person in the household has received a federal Pell Grant in the current award year.

2. Lifeline Program

Lifeline is a federal program that provides a $9.25 monthly benefit for income-eligible subscribers on monthly telephone service, broadband service, or voice-broadband bundled services. Households on federally recognized Tribal lands can receive up to $25 per month in addition to the standard benefit of $9.25.

Households are eligible for Lifeline if:

  • The household income is 135% or less of the federal poverty guidelines;
  • If someone in the household participates in SNAP, SSI, Medicaid, FPHA, or the Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit; or
  • The household is on Tribal lands, meets income requirements, and someone in the household participates in any of the federal assistance programs listed above or other tribal assistance programs.

Broadband Action Teams Information

Broadband Action Teams (BAT) are community-driven collaborations that identify the connectivity and accessibility needs for their communities. A BAT can help a community:

  • Centralize the broadband conversation and direct engagement to the State Broadband Office.
  • Assist statewide digital equity and inclusion efforts and represent community technology and accessibility needs.
  • Connect participants to collaborative project goals.
  • Bring early awareness of community projects to funding opportunities.

BAT List (Excel)

Please note that not all counties have an active Bat. Not seeing your BAT on this page? Please email devin.gombosky@commerce.wa.gov to have your group listed!

Need help?

When will broadband service be available at my location?

There is no single “right” answer to how broadband reaches a community. Every community approaches broadband in their own way and at their own pace as resources allow. Here are a few suggested places where you can make local contact to ask about what plans may be in place for your community.

Contact your local elected officials: Look on your county/city/town website for contact information for commissioners and other elected officials.

Your community may have a port, and the port may be working on broadband. See if your community has a port here:

Find Your Port — Washington Public Ports Association (washingtonports.org)

Your community may have a public utility district, and the public utility district may be working on broadband. See if your community has a public utility district here:

FAQs (wpuda.org) (scroll down to find a list of PUDs)

The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission may have additional information. Get started here:

Companies | UTC (wa.gov)

Email us at: wsbo@commerce.wa.gov