Workshops announced for new rural broadband loan program
Washington State Community Economic Revitalization Board (CERB) offers workshops for local governments, tribes on funding for broadband projects in underserved communities
OLYMPIA, Wash. – The Washington State Community Economic Revitalization Board (CERB) announced five workshop dates in June for rural communities interested in funding for infrastructure to bring broadband services to underserved areas around the state. The board approved policies to implement the new Rural Broadband Program at their May 17 meeting.
The program offers low-interest loans to local governments and federally recognized Indian tribes to help provide high-speed, open-access broadband service to rural underserved communities. The purpose is to finance projects that are located in a rural community, as defined by CERB, or a rural county, that encourages, fosters, develops and improves broadband within the state in order to:
- Drive job creation, promote innovation, and expand markets for local businesses.
- Serve the ongoing and growing needs of local education, health care and public safety systems, industries and businesses, governmental operations, and citizens.
- Improve accessibility for underserved communities and populations.
The CERB Rural Broadband Workshops will introduce the new program, help communities learn whether their project is eligible and a good fit, and explain how to apply for funding. Find complete details and registration on the CERB website for the following workshops:
- June 4 – Sequim
- June 5 – South Bend
- June 11 – Ephrata
- June 12 – Newport
- June 13 – Pomeroy
“Our role is to be responsive to local needs by making timely and smart investment decisions. CERB has a proven track record for being a good steward of public money and an advocate for local communities and we are excited to add broadband to our suite of assistance tools,” said CERB Chair Randy Hayden.
Since 1982, CERB has committed nearly $163 million to local jurisdictions across the state, an investment generating more than 35,000 jobs, and private capital investment of a $5.6 billion ($34 to $1) return on CERB investment.
As Washington’s strategic economic development resource, CERB is focused on creating private sector jobs in partnership with local governments by financing infrastructure improvements. These improvements encourage new business development and expansion. In addition to funding construction projects, CERB provides limited funding for studies that evaluate high-priority economic development projects.
Learn more about CERB at www.commerce.wa.gov/cerb.