Whidbey Telecom receives $9.5 million to expand broadband

The grant will expand fiber to underserved areas of South Whidbey.

Logo for news use featuring Whidbey Island in Island County, Washington. 220118

WHIDBEY ISLAND — Whidbey Telecom received a $9.5 million grant to expand its fiber network to underserved areas of Whidbey Island, the company reported.

The Washington State Broadband Office awarded $145 million in “broadband infrastructure acceleration grants” on Jan. 19 to 14 communities in the state lacking reliable high-speed internet service.

Washington Independent Telecommunications Association received $14.86 million to be split between sub-projects serving Mason and Island counties. Whidbey Telecom is a member of the association and participated in the grant application alongside Hood Canal Communications.

The grant will expand the BiG GiG Fiber Network to residents and businesses in currently underserved areas of South Whidbey, as well as “south-central” areas of the island, the company reported. Subscribers will have access to fiber broadband service, expanding access to economic, educational, health care and public safety opportunities.

“We are committed to delivering broadband over fiber to our local communities,” Donna Hilty, COO of Whidbey Telecom said, “and this funding will allow us to continue to build out The BiG GiG Fiber Network to some of the more remote areas of our rural service area.”

George Henny, Co-CEO of Whidbey Telecom, pointed out that the state and federal governments are making “once-in-a-generation investments” in the nation’s infrastructure.

“We are encouraged by these collaborative efforts and the bipartisan support that is critical to ensure that we have access to affordable, reliable, scalable, and future-ready, fiber broadband technologies supporting the economic viability of rural areas today and into the future,” he said.

Whidbey Telecom has also been recognized by the United States Department of Agriculture for providing superior local service to rural areas of South Whidbey and Point Roberts. Whidbey Telecom is the only local provider in Point Roberts and on Whidbey Island offering a 100% buried, reliable fiber-optic network to residential and business customers with synchronous upload and download speeds up to 1000 Mbps, according to a press release from Whidbey Telecom.

The Whidby Telephone Company was organized in 1907 and incorporated on April 11, 1908. The spelling was updated to “Whidbey” in 1953. In 1961, it became the first telephone in the nation to bury 100% of the local telephone lines underground. This provided the outstanding service reliability to our island community that continues today.

The company brought The BiG GiG Fiber Network to South Whidbey, introducing gigabit internet capability to both business and residential subscribers.

This story originally appeared in the Whidbey News-Times, a sister publication to The Herald.

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