Dye bill would expand Internet broadband to rural areas


Legislator: Rep. Mary Dye
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A bill in Olympia would help to provide high-speed Internet access to the most rural and remote parts of Washington state. John Sattgast reports from the state Capitol.

SATTGAST: Remember how you used to connect to the Internet? Those days might be over, but Representative Mary Dye of Pomeroy says more than 200,000 people in rural Washington are stuck with slow copper-based Internet access. Or they may not have access at all!

It's particularly bad in Garfield, Whitman and Wahkiakum counties. And that, she says affects businesses, homes and schools.

DYE: “While kids and teachers wait patiently to be connected to a broadband network while donated Chromebooks go unused in homes in Rosalia because there is no bandwidth to use a Chromebook, telecoms have no market incentives to build fiber networks there.”

SATTGAST: Dye is the sponsor of legislation that would expand authority of port districts to provide the infrastructure necessary to bring broadband to rural Washington – something residents have been waiting on for years.

DYE: “If there is no will to build, the ports have the ability to facilitate that construction, making more capacity available to private telecommunications.”

SATTGAST: Dye brought more than three-thousand pages of complaints to a House committee Tuesday from rural Washington citizens fighting against slow Internet. The 9th District Republican is hoping it fast-tracks the bill to a committee vote.

John Sattgast, Olympia.

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