$18 million available to bring broadband to unserved Washington communities
State Public Works Board accepting grant and loan applications for broadband infrastructure construction projects
OLYMPIA, Wash. – The Washington State Public Works Board is accepting applications for broadband infrastructure construction grants and loans July 13 through Sept. 9. Approximately $9.1 million is available for low-interest loans and $8.6 million for grants.
Cities, towns, counties, public port districts, special purpose districts, quasi-municipal corporations, tribes, nonprofit organizations, cooperative associations, limited liability corporations organized for the purpose of expanding broadband access, and incorporated businesses or partnerships are eligible to apply.
Applicants must contact local ISPs at least 6 weeks prior to submission
State law (RCW 43.155.160 (5) (o)) requires applicants to contact local Internet service providers (ISPs) near the proposed project area at least six weeks prior to submitting an application for funding. Applicants must request the ISP’s plan to upgrade broadband service in the project area to speeds that meet or exceed the state’s definition of broadband service, within the time frame of the proposed project. Applicants must submit documentation of this interaction with their application.
Funding award depends on a competitive rating and ranking process, with the appropriation of grant versus loan determined by application score and hardship rating. Depending on the number of qualified applicants, there is no guarantee funds will be available for future broadband construction grant and loan cycles beyond this fall.
Rating and ranking of the applications begins immediately after the close of the cycle, as does the ISP challenge process. Notification of award is anticipated in October.
“The Public Works Board is excited to see the construction cycle for our seventh infrastructure system open,” said Board Chair Scott Hutsell. “Closing the digital divide is a priority for the state and the Board. This is a crucial first step in that process. We look forward to continuing to be a source for infrastructure funding, including broadband, long into the future. After all, infrastructure is the backbone of economic recovery.”
For more information and to apply, please visit the Public Works Board’s Broadband Financing web page.
Shelley Westall, Public Works Board Broadband Program Director, 360-725-3162
Penny Thomas, Commerce Communications, 206-256-6106