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Washington County to Get $11.3M for Broadband Project

Yakima County, Wash., has been awarded more than $11.3 million by the state's Broadband Office as part of $121 million in grants awarded to 19 projects in underserved communities statewide.

(TNS) — Yakima County has been awarded $11.3 million by the state's Broadband Office for a broadband Internet infrastructure project.

The grant was part of $121 million in grants awarded to 19 projects in underserved communities statewide, the state Department of Commerce announced Tuesday.

"Broadband access is essential infrastructure, providing a critical gateway to education, health care, social and economic opportunities. This funding is the next significant step toward our goal to have high-speed Internet access available to every Washington resident and business," Commerce Director Mike Fong said in a news release.

Yakima County has been discussing a need to expand broadband Internet capabilities countywide and earlier this year set aside $10 million in America Rescue Plan Act funds for such projects.

In March, Yakima County Public Services Director Esther Magasis said the county was counting on a state grant to install broadband infrastructure in rural areas around the city of Tieton.

County Commissioner Amanda McKinney said the $10 million set aside in ARPA funds is a small match for the estimated $150 million needed for broadband projects countywide.

McKinney said the county is poised to apply for a share in the Biden-Harris Administration's Internet for All initiative.

Washington state is expecting to receive about $950 million of that to be distributed to projects statewide, she said.

©2023 Yakima Herald-Republic, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.