Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

Port accepts initial funding offer to extend broadband to 5 towns


October 11, 2018

The Port of Whitman Commissioners at their meeting last Thursday, Oct. 4, voted unanimously to accept the initial offer of financial aid from the Washington State Community Economic Revitalization Board (CERB) for the Port’s rural broadband project.

At the Sept. 20 board meeting, CERB awarded financial assistance for the Port’s Fiber to the Home Rural Broadband project in the form of a $750,000 loan over 20 years with a 2.5 percent interest rate and a $250,000 grant.

The Port must fulfill pre-contract conditions prior to March 21, 2019, in order to execute a final contract with CERB, according to Joe Poire, Port Executive Director.

The Port of Whitman County’s proposed project is an extension of its existing fiber optic backbone that extends from Spokane to Clarkston. This project will connect from that backbone to provide fiber connections to the homes in five rural communities: Rosalia, Tekoa, Oakesdale, Garfield and Palouse.

The port will be working on pre-contract conditions and meeting with the five communities to discuss steps to make the project successful.

Under provisions of state law, ports and public utility districts can build telecommunications infrastructure and offer it wholesale to service providers. Under these provisions, the Port has worked to develop a telecommunications plan and infrastructure to facilitate enhanced telecommunications services in the county.

The Port works with telecommunications providers to build infrastructure that helps local providers enhance telecommunication services.


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