(The Center Square) – Pierce County has entered into an agreement with Comcast to develop broadband infrastructure and provide better access to the Internet for underserved parts of the county.
The public-private partnership between the county and Comcast totals approximately $5 million. Pierce County is using $3.8 million of its federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 to expand bandwidth.
The Internet expansion project will be implemented on the Key Peninsula, where towns such as Vaughn, Wauna, Lakebay and Key Center are located. The county expects the project to provide improved Internet access to over 526 Key Peninsula homes and businesses.
On a unit basis, that equates to just over $9,500 per home or business.
“Today’s announcement of the expansion of high-speed Internet services on the Key Peninsula is an extension of our commitment to invest in and expand our network to ensure more residents and businesses throughout our region have the critical broadband connections they need for their education, professional and personal life,” Roy Novosel, vice president of engineering for Comcast’s Pacific Northwest Region, said in a statement.
When the county first received federal funding through the American Rescue Plan Act, it committed $15 million to bridge broadband gaps across the region by July 2021. The five areas considered for the Internet expansion project included all parts of the Key Peninsula, Puyallup /White River Region, Nisqually Region and Alder Lake Region.
“Now, more than ever, it’s critical that people have access to high-speed Internet,” said Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier. “Whether it’s for work, school or entertainment, we want to help all county residents enjoy the benefits of this important infrastructure.”
According to Comcast, the company has built nearly $1 billion in technology and infrastructure projects in Washington state over the past three years. That includes upgrades to its broadband network.