Port of Port Angeles wins $50,000 grant for broadband study

Money to go to identifying unserved, underserved areas

PORT ANGELES — The Port of Port Angeles has received a $50,000 grant to develop a rural broadband feasibility study.

The Community Economic Revitalization Board, or CERB, grant will be used to identify what parts of Clallam County are unserved or underserved by high-speed internet and to identify the most feasible path to extend broadband infrastructure to those areas, port Environmental Director Jesse Waknitz said in a staff memo.

“Broadband is of fundamental importance to economic development,” Waknitz said. “Increasing capacity is essential to the economic growth of Clallam County.”

Port of Port Angeles commissioners will discuss the CERB grant and broadband feasibility study when they gather today.

The meeting will begin at 9 a.m. in the commissioners’ meeting room at the port administration building, 338 W. First St., Port Angeles.

Port officials applied for the CERB grant on behalf of Clallam County and its cities after attending a North Olympic Peninsula broadband symposium in March.

“This event was well attended, and it was determined that the local governments should apply for one CERB broadband planning grant as a team,” Waknitz said in the memo.

“The Port, with support from the [North Olympic Development Council], volunteered to be the grantee for this project to move this process forward.”

An interlocal agreement is being developed for the parties to work collaboratively to develop the broadband feasibility study.

The port will match the CERB grant with $16,667 cash. Supplemental funds will cover the remaining $18,333 of the $85,000 project cost.

According to a project schedule, an interlocal broadband team will be assembled next month and a consultant will be selected in December.

The feasibility study will begin in February 2020.

In other discussion for today’s port meeting, the three commissioners are expected to receive an introduction to the proposed 2020 operating budget.

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at [email protected].

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