Cheney Free Press -

By Brent Johnson
Cheney Free Press 

Medical Lake joins county broadband project

 

Last updated 6/20/2022 at 4:52pm



MEDICAL LAKE – City residents may be seeing faster internet speeds in the near future.

Mayor Terri Cooper signed a Memorandum of Understanding before the city council on Tuesday, June 7, agreeing to partner with the Spokane County on a project to expand broadband infrastructure on the West Plains.

Medical Lake is at least the sixth municipality to sign such a memorandum with the county, and it comes with no financial commitment on the part of the city.

This is part of a larger initiative by the county to expand high-speed internet coverage to underserved rural areas, utilizing an expected grant of up to $25 million from the Washington Statewide Broadband Office as well as potential federal funding to cover installation costs.

It will be the second round of grants the broadband office has allocated to local governments across the state, furthering the goal of connecting all Washingtonians to high-speed internet by 2028. The first round totaled $145 million, according to a January release by the Commerce Department.

The county expects to begin construction in early 2023. The Medical Lake City Council is also looking into allocating $100,000 of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to contract Ptera Inc. to jump start the upgrades to wireless service in and around Medical Lake. The council expects to make a decision in the coming weeks.

A survey of Medical Lake residents last year illustrated the demand for better internet service. According to council member Art Kulibert, Internet upgrades were "number one on the wish list."

 

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