The Washington State Broadband Office released its third annual Broadband Report today and more than 500 of the state’s 629 communities saw better access and/or higher speeds to broadband internet this past year.
Based on data derived from the National Broadband Map, the report found that 98.7 percent of the state’s residents live in areas where broadband is available and 83 percent of live in households with Internet access.
In 2012, Washington was awarded more than $190 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grants, which funded more than 1,000 miles of fiber optic infrastructure, computers for classrooms and public computer centers. Two tribes, the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation and the Quinault Indian Nation, began constructing their own broadband networks.
Private broadband investment also stayed strong last year. Frontier Communications spent $27 million in upgrades while Comcast poured in more than $100 million in investments. Wireless broadband providers like T-Mobile expanded their services and added more 4G coverage to the state’s broadband map.
Last month, TechNet ranked Washington as the top state for broadband adoption, networks speeds and economic structure. Also last December, Seattle mayor Mike McGinn announced an agreement with broadband developer Gigabit Squared to operate a high-speed fiber network in Seattle throughout 12 neighborhoods.
Previously on GeekWire: Mayor Mike McGinn announces plan to develop “ultra-fast broadband network”