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Wash. Dept. of Commerce seeks resident help to preserve broadband funding

by STAFF REPORT
Staff Report | December 8, 2022 4:25 PM

OLYMPIA — The Washington State Department of Commerce is asking state residents to help check the accuracy of the Federal Communications Commission’s new National Broadband Map, which notes which parts of the country have and do not have access to broadband internet service.

According to a press release issued Thursday by the Washington State Department of Commerce, at stake is the state’s share of $900 million in federal funding to help expand broadband service.

The new online map, available at broadbandmap.fcc.gov, allows users to enter an address and see if both fixed and mobile broadband is accessible. Locally, the map shows near-complete access to wireless broadband in both Grant and Adams counties, with much spottier access to fixed broadband in the rural areas of both counties.

Statewide, the regions with the least access are state and national forests, the Cascade Mountains, federal lands like the Hanford Reservation and the military’s Yakima Training Center, and Native American lands like the Yakama Indian Reservation and the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation.

Residents who believe the information on the map is incorrect can submit a challenge online by clicking on either “location challenge” or “availability challenge” for both fixed and wireless broadband when the summary of internet access is displayed on the map.

“We want Washington to be represented accurately on the FCC map,” said Washington State Broadband Office Director Mark Visconi in the press release. “This is an opportunity for individual residents to let their voice be heard. It is also a time for organizations and government agencies to work together for Washington’s future.”

According to the press release, the FCC will give priority to challenges to its map received before Jan. 13, 2023.

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