Washington awarded $1.2 billion from feds to expand internet access

By: - June 26, 2023 6:15 pm

(Photo by Michael Bocchieri/Getty Images)

Washington will receive more than $1 billion to expand and upgrade broadband access as part of a new round of funding from the Biden administration to get every home in the country connected to high-speed internet. 

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration allocated nearly $42.5 billion to all 50 states, the District of Columbia and five territories as part of the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment program from the 2021 federal infrastructure law. 

Washington will receive about $1.23 billion – one of the largest awards – to use on improving broadband networks across the state.

“This is the biggest investment ever in high-speed internet access and digital inclusion in Washington,” Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said in a statement.

The funding was allocated based on a new map from the Federal Communications Commission that shows areas where internet access is poor or lacking. Earlier versions of the map received criticism from state broadband directors who said they weren’t totally accurate. 

The State Broadband Office estimates about 9% of Washington households – or about 264,000 – don’t have broadband services. State law has a goal of getting all residents and businesses 150 megabit per-second download and upload speeds by 2028. 

With the funding released Monday, states will have six months to submit initial proposals for how they plan to set up grant programs that will give out the funds. Once they do that, they will receive access to the first 20% of the money. 

The Washington State Broadband Office will run the program to distribute funding across the state. The office has already doled out millions in other state and federal dollars to communities in need of improved or expanded broadband service.

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Laurel Demkovich
Laurel Demkovich

Laurel joined States Newsroom in 2023 after almost three years as a statehouse reporter for the Spokesman-Review. She covers state government, the Legislature and all other Olympia news.