Washington NoaNet getting $84M in broadband stimulus funds

By:  Staff Writer
Source: Puget Sound Business Journal

The Northwest Open Access Network, or NoaNet, a nonprofit corporation that is putting together a rural fiber-optic system in Washington, will receive $84.3 million in federal stimulus funds, U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., said Monday.

The stimulus funds will “expand and improve high-speed broadband internet infrastructure across the state,” Cantwell said, adding that the funds will create nearly 2,000 jobs.

The grant was announced by Commerce Secretary and former Washington Gov. Gary Locke, from the Commerce Department’s Broadband Technology Opportunity Program (BTOP), which is funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act federal stimulus program.

Cantwell said the money will create a new WA-Health Net subnetwork, allowing  substantial portion of state hospitals and clinics to connect with each other.

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said NoaNet intends to add an additional 830 miles of fiber and eight new microwave sites with the funds.

"This grant will bring telehealth, distance learning, and help for small businesses to many regions in our state for the first time," Murray said in a statement.