Gov. Jay Inslee, left, received gifts from the Quileute Tribe that included baskets and smoked smelt from Vince Penn, right, during his visit to La Push. Inslee here holds a small canoe carved by a young girl. (Christi Baron/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Gov. Jay Inslee, left, received gifts from the Quileute Tribe that included baskets and smoked smelt from Vince Penn, right, during his visit to La Push. Inslee here holds a small canoe carved by a young girl. (Christi Baron/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Agreement step in bringing high-speed internet to La Push

LA PUSH — An $800,000 project will bring broadband internet to La Push, Gov. Jay Inslee has announced.

A memorandum of understanding with the Quileute Tribe, the state’s Utilities and Transportation Commission, and CenturyLink will lead to high-speed internet being brought to the tribe’s Lower Village, as well as to property outlined in the tribe’s Move to Higher Ground project — which moves key parts of the community, including the tribal school and senior center, out of the tsunami risk zone.

The agreement came into effect with its signing Friday and will remain in force for five years. It can be renewed or amended with the consent of the signatories. Inslee visited La Push on Friday.

“Broadband in our area will benefit many, including police officers, first responders, health clinics, our administration, schools, families and the Coast Guard,” said Quileute Chairman Doug Woodruff Jr. at Friday’s signing ceremony, according to a news release from the governor’s office.

The new broadband facilities will be capable of providing at least 25 megabits per second to the remote area, although internet speeds may vary due to conditions outside of network control, the memorandum said.

The Utilities and Transportation Commission is providing $800,000 of Qwest Performance Assurance Plan payment funding in the 2018 operating budget to supplement funds committed by telecommunications companies for rural broadband construction purposes, the release said.

“CenturyLink thanks the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission for identifying an opportunity for us to bring high-speed internet access to the Quileute Tribal villages,” said Mark Reynolds, regional vice president for state government relations for CenturyLink’s northwest region.

A lack of quality broadband affects children trying to do their homework, entrepreneurs hoping to launch a startup, or rural employees who work remotely for companies in bigger cities, the governor’s office said.

“Rapid technological innovation is transforming every school, every hospital, every company and every industry in Washington,” Inslee said in a news release.

“Broadband service that allows citizens to create and connect to this innovation has become the critical infrastructure need of the 21st century,” he added.

“Broadband is the single most important economic development tool we have, and will ensure more equitable access to education, jobs and health care throughout the state.”

Inslee visited rural communities across the state to discuss broadband needs and solutions. His three-day tour, which began Wednesday, also included stops in the Eastern Washington communities of Pomeroy, Pullman and Chewelah and the Central Washington communities of Quincy and Wenatchee.

Quileute Tribal Council Vice Chairman Tony Foster greets Gov. Jay Inslee with a handshake at the site of the future tribal school located on higher ground at La Push. Foster was joined by Tribal council members including Chairman Doug Woodruff Jr., Secretary James Jackson, Treasurer Skyler Foster and Member at Large Zachary Jones. (Christi Baron/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Quileute Tribal Council Vice Chairman Tony Foster greets Gov. Jay Inslee with a handshake at the site of the future tribal school located on higher ground at La Push. Foster was joined by Tribal council members including Chairman Doug Woodruff Jr., Secretary James Jackson, Treasurer Skyler Foster and Member at Large Zachary Jones. (Christi Baron/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

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