Cheney Free Press -

Rep. Dye introduces broadband legislation


January 25, 2018

Ninth District Rep. Mary Dye (R-Pomeroy) has introduced new legislation addressing the increasing need for essential broadband services in counties across the state.

According to a Jan. 18 news release, Seattle has access to gigabit speeds and the latest in fast moving technology while rural Washington is left in the dark. Over 200,000 Washingtonians still don’t have reliable, high-speed access to one of our country’s most essential services.

“Building fiber-optic infrastructure is expensive and many rural communities are left behind,” Dye said in the release. “Policymakers continue the debate about how to close this digital divide. I believe I have found the right solution.”

House Bill 2664 would extend existing telecommunications authority to all ports in Washington state to facilitate public-private partnerships. The policy envisions a collaboration between private telecom firms, or internet service providers, and the state’s public ports.

Dye’s bill would use a unique local enterprise government to form partnerships with private telecommunications companies to build the last mile network to residents in areas without broadband access.

“We must use our own resources available through our public ports so Washington state can deploy a robust effort to reach communities left behind,” Dye said. “My proposed legislation is one approach to assist in reaching this humanitarian goal.”

HB 2664 has been referred to the House Technology and Economic Development Committee where it awaits a hearing.

The 2018 legislative session began Jan. 8 and is scheduled to run 60 consecutive days.


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