Cantwell, Murray, Announce More than $76 Million in Grant Funding and Loans for High-Speed Internet Access Across Washington State from Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

Announcement includes historic funding for companies in Jefferson, Lewis, Klickitat, and Snohomish Counties to connect residents to high-speed internet

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, and Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, announced that Washington state will receive more than $76 million in grant and loan funding to connect thousands of rural residents, farmers, and business owners across the state to reliable, affordable high-speed internet.

The funding—which was announced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and comes from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law the senators helped pass—is part of a total of $714 million in grants and loans announced by USDA for projects connecting more people to high-speed internet in 19 states across the country.

“Affordable and accessible high-speed internet is critical for rural Washingtonians to grow their businesses and obtain a high-quality education. In some rural areas of Lewis, Jefferson, Snohomish and Klickitat counties, only about half the residents have broadband, which puts them at a disadvantage in our 21st Century economy. These federal ReConnect grants will help deploy high-speed internet to connect farms, businesses, schools, and the thousands of families living in rural Washington who need affordable and reliable internet access,” said Sen. Cantwell.

“High speed internet is not a luxury—it’s a necessity, and in today’s world, internet access is nearly as critical as running water or electricity,” said Sen. Murray. “It’s so important that we make sure students and workers, especially in rural and underserved communities, have the tools and the access they need to get online and participate fully in our economy and society. I fought to include funding to expand broadband infrastructure in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which included my Digital Equity Act—and I’ll keep working to make sure these dollars get to where they need to go to make a real difference across our state.”

“High-speed internet is a key to prosperity for people who live and work in rural communities,” said USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Thanks to President Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we can ensure that rural communities have access to the internet connectivity needed to continue to expand the economy from the bottom up and middle out and to make sure rural America remains a place of opportunity to live, work, and raise a family.”

In total, USDA announced funding for four entities across Washington state:

  • $9,202,232 in grant funding and a $4,601,116 loan for Public Utility District No. 1 of Jefferson County in Port Townsend, WA to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to provide high-speed internet. This network will benefit 1,295 people, 33 businesses and six farms in Jefferson County in Washington.
  • $24,200,086 in grant funding for Public Utility District 1 of Lewis County in Chehalis, WA be used to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to provide high-speed internet. This network will benefit 2,863 people, 119 businesses, 487 farms and four educational facilities in Lewis County in Washington.
  • $18,088,212 in grant funding and a $18,088,212 loan for Home Telephone Company, Inc. in Klickitat County to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises and hybrid-fiber-coax network to provide high-speed internet. This network will benefit 4,183 people, 138 businesses, 74 farms and seven educational facilities in Klickitat County in Washington. Home Telephone Company will support customers' transition to its new service offering by crediting the difference between the new service rate and the customer's existing service rate for a full 12-month transition period, as well as offering free installation of FTTP technology to all residential customers in the service area. This project will serve socially vulnerable communities in Klickitat County.
  • A $2,980,652 loan for the Hat Island Telephone Company in Langley, WA to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to provide high-speed internet. This network will benefit 93 people, six businesses and one farm in Snohomish County in Washington.