EPHRATA — Grant PUD's expansion efforts of its wholesale fiber-optic network will receive a financial boost thanks to funding from the Washington State Public Works Board. The utility received a $810,000 grant and qualified for a $810,000 loan as part of the Public Works Board's competitive construction grant and loan broadband program.
Grant PUD was one of seven broadband construction projects awarded funding to help bring broadband internet service to unserved communities across the state. The funding will supplement the estimated $1.8 million construction costs to expand the network within the utility's Gloyd to Stratford fiber area (Area 15). Construction within the area is anticipated to be finished by the end of the year.
"A reliable internet connection is no longer simply a luxury. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic we've seen how a connection to wired broadband service is now a necessity of living in today's digital world," said Senior Manager of Wholesale Fiber, Russ Brethower. "We appreciate the financial support of the Public Works Board that will help bring Grant PUD's best-in-class internet service to a portion of our unserved fiber customers in Grant County."
The Public Works Board reported that demand exceeded available funds by more than 300% as applicants requested more than $73 million for 29 different projects. See the full list of proposed projects in the Public Works Board's funding announcement here.
Since 2000, Grant PUD has been operating its high-speed fiber-optic network. To-date more than 75% of the county has access to the network and approximately 62% of the customers with access to fiber service are connected. Grant PUD is actively building the fiber network to the remaining unserved areas in Grant County.
Grant PUD partners with independent service providers who offer retail internet services to residents and businesses.Currently, 13 different retail service providers participate on Grant PUD's network. Customers can access the network through any of these providers. Learn more about the network and how to connect by visiting www.grantpud.org/getfiber.