How the
Northwest Connects

New Bill Proposed Could Allow Public Entities to Provide Telecommunications Services to End Users

HB 1336 is a bi-partisan bill presented by Representative Drew Hansen (D-Bainbridge Island), with 17 additional legislative sponsors that authorizes Public Utility Districts (PUDs), port districts, cities, towns, and counties to provide retail telecommunications services for the benefit of underserved communities.

In many communities across America, local governments can offer high-speed broadband internet. Currently, Washington State law restricts the authority of most public agencies to provide these services to a wholesale-only basis.

HB 1336 removes that restriction and would allow entities like PUDs and Ports the option to provide services directly to the end-user.

Now more than ever, the COVID-19 pandemic has made it clear that affordable, high-speed, broadband internet is an essential service that communities rely on access to high-speed internet for remote school, remote work, and basic human connection. Too many families in Washington State don’t have access to affordable broadband and have felt the impact of that heavily this year.

Have we come to a time when broadband is accepted as an essential utility service like electricity or water? How this bill plays out will give us that answer.

HB 1336 was presented to the House Community and Economic Development Committee on January 27th and executive action was taken on Feb 3rd that passed with majority approval.

Follow the progress of this bill and read the full text HERE