Whatcom PUD Receives $3.15-Million in Funding for Fiber Optic Construction

FERNDALE, Wash.—Whatcom PUD has been awarded a $3,150,000 grant through the Washington State Broadband Office (WSBO) to bring fiber optic infrastructure to the Point Roberts community.

This Broadband Infrastructure Grant Program, supported from the Coronavirus Capital Program Fund, will support the Point Roberts Fiber-to-the-Premise (FTTP) construction project.

Whatcom PUD Commission President Atul Deshmane said “The PUD Commission is trying to bridge the digital divide. We are thrilled the Washington State Broadband Office has approved our grant application to build a truly open access and non-discriminatory dark fiber broadband network that is future-proof for the Point Roberts Community. This project is another good example of collaboration between the Point Roberts Community, Whatcom County Government, the Port of Bellingham, and Whatcom PUD.”

The PUD is working to construct roughly 25 miles of aerial and underground fiber infrastructure, with the goal of producing more than 1,274 connections for residents in the area. These connections will bring high-speed internet service to certain areas of the Point Roberts community, which have previously been unserved or underserved, providing enhanced access and opportunities for economic development, education, and health and safety.

In addition to the WSBO funding, this construction project has been supported at the local level, including from Whatcom County, who approved $350,000 in matching dollars. The construction is expected to be completed by the end of 2024.

Final grant award approval is contingent upon the State of Washington receiving approval of the State Broadband Plan by the US Department of Treasury which is anticipated be the end of June 2023.

For additional information:
Chris Heimgartner, General Manager (360) 384-4288 ext. 19
Andrew Entrikin, Broadband Program Manager (360) 384-4288 ext. 20