County resolution would help Yakima ISP receive funding to expand internet infrastructure | Business
YAKIMA –A Yakima Internet service provider may soon expand broadband Internet infrastructure thanks to a decision by the Board of Yakima County Commissioners.
Commissioners will consider a letter Tuesday to allow Washington Broadband of Yakima to receive grant funding to provide fiber-optic high-speed Internet service to underserved areas.
The company, which has been a Yakima Valley Internet service provider for nearly 30 years, has been deploying fiber for broadband Internet services to homes in rural areas of Yakima County for several years, President Forbes Mercy said.
“Our goal has always been to continually upgrade speeds for our customers,” Mercy wrote in an email to the Yakima Herald-Republic. “We’re essentially reinvesting in those who have trusted us for decades for their Internet needs, as those needs are accelerating faster than technology.”
In recent months, fiber has been installed for Washington Broadband customers in the Cowiche area, Mercy said, with more fiber installation planned in the Naches area this winter.
The county commissioners’ action could provide grant funding to expand the company’s efforts to build infrastructure for rural high-speed Internet, he added.
“By spending nearly a million dollars a year of our own budget on fiber deployment, the country saw us as a legacy broadband provider, and not as a risky investment in an inexperienced builder of the Internet,” Mercy wrote .
Previously, Mercy has criticized the deployment of federal funding to broadband infrastructure.
When asked about the pending county resolution, Mercy said he appreciates the county commissioners’ approach to the Internet access issue.
“It is never our desire to feel the thumb of regulations that could compromise the privacy and decision-making of our clients, reduce competition, or provide unrealistic expectations of standards that are not consistent in grants that exist in other public-private partnerships. issued,” Mercy wrote. “This is why we have opposed any funding in the past.
“The like-minded nature of this group of commissioners to protect their taxpayers, reduce government involvement, while accelerating high-speed access interested us enough to enter into a mutual discussion period in search of common ground,” he added.
During the commissioners’ work session on Friday, Dec. 23, contracted broadband consultant Joe Poire said whatever infrastructure Washington Broadband builds will be available to other Internet service providers.
“The system will be open access to any provider that wants to use (the fiber),” Poire said.
“The point is to get broadband to as many people as possible in whatever way is most efficient,” Commissioner Amanda McKinney added.
Melissa Holm, program coordinator for Yakima County Human Services, said the resolution declaring Washington Broadband eligible for grant funding does not commit the county to any one company.
“This is one of the minimum requirements for the grant application,” Holm said. “I sent out notices to all ISP providers (in Yakima County) inviting them to participate.
“If awarded, it will route through Yakima County.”
The commissioners’ regular weekly meeting is Tuesday at 10 a.m. at the Yakima County Courthouse, and is also available online. For an agenda and online access to the meeting, visit yakimacounty.us/agendacenter.