Creation of State Broadband Office focus for Gov. Inslee

  • Thursday, January 17, 2019 12:21pm
  • News

By Emma Epperly

WNPA Olympia News Bureau

The creation of a Statewide Broadband Office and an initial investment of $25 million into getting broadband into “every nook and cranny” was announced by Governor Jay Inslee on Wednesday.

“We know the reality on the ground is that there are just too many places that do not have access,” said Inslee. “So, we know that fundamentally the digital divide should not and will not be able to divide those haves and have nots when it comes to digital and broadband access.”

Inslee’s proposal targets extending the reach of broadband through a variety of programs, including partnerships with public and private providers.

Inslee gave a press conference on his broadband initiative that included Sen. Lisa Wellman, D-Mercer Island, and Rep. Zack Hudgins, D-Tukwila, who will sponsor the bill along with Sen. Shelly Short, R- Addy. The conference also included Washington State Public Works Board Chair Scott Hutsell, Harrington Mayor Justin Slack, and Colville Tribal Council Member Susie Allen.

Slack is a telecommuter for the bank he works for on the west side of the state. He told how access to broadband changed not only his life but the town of Harrington.

“It’s been great. You know, our schools use the internet. Kids come to the library, they sit out front of our city hall, they come to the coffee shop so they can use the internet, after school- after hours,” said Slack.

Increased economic opportunity, access to telemedicine, and educational resources are among other issues mentioned by Inslee as key reasons access to broadband improves rural communities.

Inslee believes a small but focused Statewide Broadband Office is necessary to get results on this issue. The office would be under the Department of Commerce and cost $1.2 million. The governor also proposed a separate capital funding to create a grant and loan program, administered by the Public Works Board. The board would also award funding for research in to feasibility and strategic planning.

More in News

Law could prohibit eye tattoos in Washington state

By Madeline Coats WNPA Olympia News Bureau State lawmakers aim to prohibit… Continue reading

Mixed bag: Pair of bills seeking to ban plastic

While there is support for a statewide ban on plastic shopping bags… Continue reading

Law would eliminate personal objection to vaccines in Washington state

By Madeline Coats WNPA Olympia News Bureau A proposed bill would eliminate… Continue reading

Health educator giving Nepal presentation March 2 in Coupeville

Coupeville United Methodist Church is inviting the community to learn about Nepal.… Continue reading

Filmmaker to lead lectures at several Whidbey locations

Sno-Isle Regional Libraries is presenting a series of lectures by the creator… Continue reading

Writer includes Whidbey trails in his latest book

Feeling cooped up after a week of snow but don’t know where… Continue reading

Island residents earn academic distinction

The following Whidbey Island residents earned academic distinction during the most recent… Continue reading

New program connects social worker with law enforcement

Law enforcement officers aren’t social workers. But most days, they respond to… Continue reading

Over the moon: Musselfest launches events season

This year, she’s over the moon. The Penn Cove Musselfest mermaid, that… Continue reading

Most Read