The Port of Skagit recently received $2 million in state funds to build fiber-optic infrastructure and expand high-speed internet access in east Skagit County.
The state’s Community Economic Revitalization Board (CERB) awarded a $1 million grant and $1 million low-interest loan to the port last week as part of $10 million awarded to nine rural broadband projects around the state.
The funds will support the port’s fiber-to-the-premise construction project in east Skagit County.
The project aims to create more than 1,200 high-speed internet connections in Concrete, Lyman, Hamilton and Marblemount, communities where internet connectivity can be inadequate or nonexistent.
Fiber-to-the-premise construction in each of the four communities is expected to be complete by the end of 2022, according to a news release from the port.
The port has partnered with the Kirkland-based internet service provider (ISP) Ziply to construct the fiber-optic infrastructure in east Skagit County.
The agreement between the port and Ziply allows the port to lease out the infrastructure to other ISPs who work with SkagitNet, the broadband company operated jointly by the port and the Skagit Public Utility District.
“Any ISP that works with SkagitNet and is interested in competing in this market will have the opportunity to provide services through this infrastructure in this open access model,” port spokesperson Linda Tyler said in an email.
Six ISPs currently lease fiber on the SkagitNet network to provide service elsewhere in the county.