President Joe Biden recently signed a $1.2 trillion bipartisan plan that will rebuild roads, bridges, modernize public works systems, and boost broadband infrastructure across the country.
With this once-in-a-generation investment to support broadband equity, these funds stand to improve high-speed internet access to areas in the country lacking sufficient bandwidth for school or work. Washington State will get a minimum of $100 million to expand broadband internet in the state. Congress estimates this will help at least 241,000 Washingtonians who currently lack adequate internet services. The White House estimated that 8.5% of Washington state residents lack even minimal broadband infrastructure. Other residents live in areas with broadband, but cannot afford it. This funding can help both situations.
White House data also suggests that 1,409,000 or 19% of households in Washington State will be eligible for the bill’s Affordabile Connectivity Benefit, which is an expanded extension of the Emergency Broadband Benefit program, and will assist low-income families affording internet access.
“The bipartisan infrastructure bill will mean jobs, internet access for families who need it, and a whole lot more,” Senator Patty Murray said in a statement about the Bill. “It will put people to work in every part of our state and deliver a generational investment in public transit, broadband, our roads, bridges, ports, energy grid, and so much more—it’s a really big deal and it’s good news for Washington State.”
When the pandemic made obvious that internet access lacked somewhat or entirely for thousands of students across the state, Gov. Jay Inslee signed into law legislation that allows Washington municipalities to offer direct-to-consumer broadband service. This allows broadband service in low-population density (usually rural) areas that are often underserved by the private sector due to the very low or non-existent return on investment potential. For non-profit public organizations, breaking even is an acceptable outcome.
With funding for broadband infrastructure streaming into the state, NoaNet is looking forward to helping communities help themselves to bring better broadband their way.
For more than 20 years, we’ve helped communities realize broadband connectivity through our professional services suite, which includes:
- Broadband Feasibility Studies – We will leverage your planning dollars to create a Road to Broadband document for your community with actionable steps to connectivity. Nobody knows more about community broadband in Washington State than us. Let us tap that knowledge to build you a strong plan for your community’s connected future.
- Network Planning and Engineering – NoaNet’s engineering, operations, and outside plant teams are industry leaders that have produced, designed, engineered, permitted, contracted, and managed hundreds of telecommunications facilities, including long-haul, middle-mile, local-loop, and lateral network extension projects. We have the expertise necessary to evaluate and provide insight into existing facilities, design and implement a new network.
- Broadband Business Planning– Make sure you have the information you need to make informed decisions. NoaNet can facilitate a robust market analysis to create an accurate and reliable pro forma to forecast the financial feasibility of a network deployment. We’ll explore business models that work for your organization’s goals, and even help with migration from outsourced contractors to in-house management while your project gets off the ground.
- Construction Management – NoaNet’s construction management oversight processes will ensure compliance with statutory, administrative, and regulatory requirements. We can monitor projects and provide inspections to ensure they run on time, within budget, and according to approved plans and specifications. We also provide design reviews, change order reviews, and value engineering as part of this process. As implementation calls for moving from old to new systems, our team’s cutover planning services can minimize disruption to your network.
- Grant Writing – Over the course of the Bill, we will continue to see unprecedented broadband funding opportunities, but applying for grants is a nuanced practice. We can help! Having actionable plans to compete for funding before grant opportunities pass by is vital. For more than 20 years, we’ve helped communities to realize broadband infrastructure. If you need support to get your community’s broadband project grant application ready, talk to NoaNet.
Northwest Open Access Network (NoaNet) is a not-for-profit wholesale telecommunications mutual corporation that has been serving Washington State since 2000. As a mission-driven organization, NoaNet focuses on bringing world-class telecommunications technology to hard-to-reach communities which lack access to high-speed, affordable broadband services.