May 22, 2023 — The Port of Skagit will receive $8-million in grant funding from the Washington State Broadband Office to build broadband infrastructure in the under-served rural area near Bow.
The WSBO grant was announced this week, supporting the ongoing rural broadband infrastructure deployment work led by SkagitNet, an entity jointly operated by the Port of Skagit and Skagit PUD.
“The Port has heard from many citizens who need affordable, reliable internet service, so we are working diligently to identify and secure the funding to get fiber optic infrastructure built in those communities,” stated Port Commission President Steve Omdal. “ The trick is finding the right grant opportunity to match with an eligible project area, and we were able to do that in the outlying area around Bow.”
Approximately 630 homes and businesses near Bow and the surrounding area will be served by this project. The total cost of the project is $8.95-million.
The required 10% match is being funded by Skagit County with approximately $895,000 in ARPA funds. Skagit County committed to providing the match funds required for the project in order to connect another rural area of our community with affordable access to high-speed internet.
“Skagit County’s Board of County Commissioners recognize the importance of connecting our rural communities to fiber optics and appreciate the partnership with the Port of Skagit,” said Board of County Commissioners Chairperson, Ron Wesen. “Broadband is an essential service required for business, education, and public safety. The County is excited to provide the matching funds needed for the Bow project.”
This grant is part of $121-million in grants awarded to communities statewide by the Washington State Broadband Office through the federal Coronavirus Capital Project Fund. Construction for this Bow-area project is anticipated to begin by the end of 2024.
This funding is in addition to funding already secured for projects that will serve Sauk-Suiattle and Fir Island areas. There is still great need for digital access in rural communities throughout Skagit County and the Port continues to identify solutions to meet those needs.