Fiber is being laid in preparation for broadband in rural communities.Washington’s Community Economic Revitalization Board (CERB) is offering rural communities throughout the state $2.9 million in low-interest loans and grants to create additional connectivity to high-speed, open access broadband.

Access to high-speed broadband is a key component of the state’s effort to bring economic vitality and opportunity to rural communities. Small businesses, particularly those in the technology and e-commerce sectors, need this access to “compete regionally, nationally and internationally.

The CERB funds are being matched by more than $4.5 million in local resources. Projects are scattered throughout Washington. Recipients include the public utility districts of Jefferson and Mason counties, the cities of Goldendale and Darrington, and the ports of Skagit and Whitman. Proposed uses range from feasibility studies to construction.

Rural broadband infrastructure investments are a fundamental piece of community growth,” said CERB Chair Randy Hayden. “The New Rural Broadband Program funding is vital in strengthening the economy of these counties by opening up new opportunities for citizens, businesses, education, health care, and the local governments.”

Since 1982, CERB has committed nearly $163 million to local jurisdictions across the state, an investment generating more than 35,000 jobs and private capital investment of a $5.6 billion ($34 to $1) return on CERB investment.

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