Serving Franklin County, WA

Washtucna's broadband plan gets funding

Construction to start in September 2022

WASHTUCNA – The town will be receiving a grant from the state Washington State Public Works to provide broadband services directly to homes.

The agency’s board of directors approved 15 funding requests for broadband expansion during its Dec. 3 meeting.

According to Chairman Kathryn Gardow, $44.6 million was made available to fund the projects.

Washtucna will receive $788,946 to bring broadband to homes, the agency said, noting it is fully funding the request.

Construction here is expected to begin Sept. 30, 2022, starting with a broadband town adjacent to City Hall, 165 Main St.

“This tower will connect the in-town fiber to the Inland Cellular backhaul microwave wireless network,” state documents show. “In the city limits, fiber will be deployed along every street to enable connectivity to each premise.

The project just barely made the cut with a No. 15 ranking.

Washtucna was among those selected out of 29 requested projects seeking more than $900 million.

Both Adams County and the city of Ritzville also applied for a broadband grant, but didn’t rank high enough in the selection process to receive any funds, state records show.

Adams County requested $4.72 million to expand broadband outside of incorporated limits and Ritzville requested $2.5 for its proposed citywide project, records show.

Adams County ranked 23rd and Ritzville 24th in the selection process, records show.

Ritzville city officials have been grappling with how to fund a broadband project in the city.

“To thrive in today's society, internet access is a necessity for children, families, elders and businesses,” Gardow said. “Affordable high-speed internet spurs economic growth and development, educates our students, facilitates tele-medicine in rural communities and more.”

Other grants awarded for Eastern Washington projects include $4.16 million to Lincoln County, $3.83 million to the Port of Garfield and $1.17 million to the Port of Columbia for the Touchet Valley.

Sprague broadband

The approved Lincoln County plan will provide fiber-optic Internet services to Odessa, Reardan, Hawk Creek and Sprague.

In Sprague, broadband construction will begin June. 30, 2022.

The Lincoln County proposal ranked fourth in the grant process.

The project includes portions of First-Sixth and A-I, Old Airport, Washington, Oak, Poplar, Alder, Railroad, Colville, Palouse, Walnut, Chestnut, Brooke, Fairweather, Walla Walla, Dayton, Yakima and Colfax streets.

The board is expected to open a new, $13 million grant cycle next spring.

Author Bio

Roger Harnack, Publisher

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Roger Harnack is the co-owner/publisher of Free Press Publishing. Having grown up Benton City, Roger is an award-winning journalist, photographer, editor and publisher. He's one of only two editorial/commentary writers from Washington state to ever receive the international Golden Quill. Roger is dedicated to the preservation of local media, and the voice it retains for Eastern Washington.


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