Today, Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (WA-03) announced that Public Utility District No. 1 of Lewis County (Lewis County PUD) will receive more than $24.2 million for rural broadband expansion through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s ReConnect Program.
The funding will be used to deploy a fiber network, making high-speed internet available to 2,863 people, 119 businesses, 487 farms, and four educational facilities in Lewis County, according to the USDA.
“I get my internet from a radio tower, and struggling to get online is part of life for my family and our entire rural community. High-speed internet is essential to participating in the economy, accessing tele-health and tele-work, and so much more, and I’m so proud to have helped secure this huge investment for Lewis County that will change people’s lives,” said Rep. Gluesenkamp Perez. “I work hard for all parts of Southwest Washington, especially our rural and agricultural communities.”
In April, Gluesenkamp Perez supported Lewis County PUD’s application to the ReConnect Program, writing to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack urging the department to approve the funding request.
That same month, Gluesenkamp Perez hosted USDA Under Secretary Xochitl Torres Small in Southwest Washington for a broadband roundtable, which was attended by Lewis County PUD, to discuss the successes of the ReConnect Program and ongoing need to expand rural broadband access in the region.