Today, U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Patty Murray (D-WA) announced that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will provide nearly $4 million to increase broadband internet access in rural areas of Stevens County. The funding will help nearly 3,000 unserved homes in the county access broadband internet over the next 6 years.
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“Every Washingtonian deserves equal access to educational, business, and employment opportunities, regardless of where they live in our state,” said Senator Cantwell. “This important investment in broadband will help provide families and business owners in Stevens County with equal access to high-speed internet and all the opportunities that come with it.”
“Reliable internet access isn’t guaranteed for far too many families in rural areas across Eastern Washington and the rest of our state, and these federal investments will help ensure Stevens County families aren’t left behind in our increasingly digital world,” Senator Murray said. “I’ll keep fighting to increase rural broadband internet access in Washington state, and pushing to make sure every community has the infrastructure, resources, and support to empower families with the tools they need to take full advantage of the internet.”
As part of the funding, local provider Declaration Networks Group will provide broadband internet access to 40% of the 2,929 unserved homes and businesses in Stevens County in the next three years, and reach complete buildout in the sixth year. The funding comes via the FCC’s Connect America Fund Phase II auction.
Senator Cantwell has long fought for more robust, efficient, and cost effective broadband connectivity for rural communities. Last year, Cantwell helped secure $600 million in funding to boost rural broadband development, and before that she worked with the Makah Tribe and CenturyLink to bring broadband access to Neah Bay, one of the most remote parts of Washington state. Senator Murray has been a leader on bridging the digital divide, introducing the Digital Equity Act, which aims to equip historically underserved and overlooked communities with the tools they need to use and access broadband once they have it. Last week, Senator Murray sat down with educators, entrepreneurs, and students in Wenatchee to discuss the digital challenges they face, and how the Digital Equity Act would help to address them.
This press release was provided by the Office of U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell.