WA State Bills Allow PUDs to Provide Broadband

From the Washington State Wire Article:

“Washington is one of 18 states that have restrictive laws in place against municipal broadband networks.

Two bills that have gone the distance this session would provide retail authority to PUDs, impact how many new areas PUDs could serve, and create reporting requirements for local governments to track where they are deploying broadband.

…these two bills differ in important ways. While both bills would achieve the fundamental aim of expanding retail authority to public entities, one would expand their reach and allow them to tap into more federal funds.

The two bills come from Rep. Drew Hansen (D – Bainbridge Island) and Sen. Lisa Wellman (D – Mercer Island). Hansen’s bill, HB 1336, grants unrestricted authority for public entities to provide broadband to end users, while Wellman’s bill limits the authority to cover only “unserved” areas. Both bills use the same definition of unserved – an area which lacks access to broadband service at a minimum 100 megabits per second and 20 megabits per second upload.

Limiting retail authority to unserved areas, Hunter said, is where the two bills differ in the full degree of federal funds they would allow public entities to access.”

Access to billions in federal funding a key distinction between broadband bills

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