The Port of Ridgefield received a $50,000 grant for a broadband planning-feasibility study. The grant was one of nine, totaling $450,000, doled out by the Washington State Public Works Board at a meeting on Friday.
The grants went to ports, public-utility districts and other municipal agencies throughout the state. According to Public Works Board chair Scott Hutsell, the goal of the grants is to help ensure that all Washington residents have access to quality broadband internet access.
Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill in 2018 allowing urban ports to build and lease telecommunications infrastructure. Only rural ports were permitted to do so previously. The Port of Ridgefield was among the groups that pushed for the change. The port has plans to build a “dark fiber” loop of fiber-optic cables along Interstate 5 in north Clark County, which could be leased to internet service providers in order to bring high-speed internet access to businesses in the corridor.