State Public Works Board accepting broadband construction loan applications through April 26
Over $19.9 million available for projects providing broadband to unserved Washington communities
OLYMPIA, Wash. – The Washington State Public Works Board is accepting applications for broadband infrastructure construction loans now through midnight, April 26, 2022. 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 may apply.
Approximately $19.9 million is available for loans, with funding awards determined through a competitive rating and ranking process. Depending on the number of qualified applicants, there is no guarantee funds will be available for future broadband construction loan cycles.
“The Public Works Board is excited to announce the opening of our broadband construction funding cycle with over $19 million available for low-interest loans,” said Board Chair Kathryn Gardow. “As high-speed broadband service is funded and built, we are closing the digital divide, connecting our families and communities to education, telemedicine and more opportunities. Broadband is the infrastructure needed now to build vibrant communities and businesses across Washington state, and the Public Works Board is proud to continue to be a leader in providing this vital infrastructure financing.”
Applicants must contact local ISPs by March 15
It is important to note that RCW 43.155.160(5)(o) requires loan applicants to contact local Internet service providers (ISP) near the proposed project area a minimum of six-weeks prior to submitting an application for funding to the PWB – no later than March 15, 2022 for this funding opportunity. This contact is to 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.
Rating and ranking of the applications begins immediately after the close of the application cycle, as does the ISP challenge process. The PWB anticipates notification of awards in July 2022.
Application workshop March 1 (online webinar)
The PWB will host a free virtual application workshop on March 1, 2022 from 10 to 11a.m. providing valuable guidance for submitting more competitive applications.
Please visit the Public Works Board’s Broadband Financing webpage for more information and to apply for funding.
For information and updates on additional state broadband programs and funding opportunities in Washington state, visit the State Broadband Office website.