Dye’s rural broadband bill gains House approval

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Dye’s rural broadband bill gains House approval

Rural Washingtonians are one-step closer to having high-speed internet as Rep. Mary Dye’s broadband bill cleared the House 98-0 on Wednesday.

House Bill 2664 would extend wholesale telecommunications authority to all public ports. Current law prevents non-rural ports from building networks in under-served neighborhoods near bigger cities. Removing the restrictive definition of “rural” in existing statute will help ports extend fiber to homes and businesses where private companies have had difficulty financing these projects.

“The ports that have successfully constructed broadband fiber networks have a great success story to tell.  I am passionate and deeply committed to their business model and that is why I have been so persistent,” said Dye, R-Pomeroy. “This is a simple bill. Ports have the ability to invest for the long term. They build facilities to enhance economic growth in their surrounding communities. This bill gives our public ports the ability to invest in fiber facilities that will give open access to local internet service providers and telephone companies.”

This bill builds on the success of a pilot project that allowed rural port districts to build broadband fiber and lease access to private telephone companies.

“This is a great use of public-private partnerships without having to use state tax dollars,” continued Dye. “We must use our own available resources through our public ports so our state can deploy a robust effort to reach those communities still left behind in the digital economy. This is one step closer in reaching this humanitarian goal.”

House Bill 2664 now heads to the Senate for further consideration.


Washington State House Republican Communications