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Clallam PUD Applying for Broadband Infrastructure Grant
Clallam PUD is currently applying for a $6.8 million dollar federal grant to build broadband infrastructure from our airport substation in Port Angeles to Forks. Our grant application is very competitive, with several letters of support received from Representatives Chapman, Tharinger, Kilmer, and Senator Van de Wege , the Makah Tribe as well as the Clallam County Commissioners and several other County organizations. The application will be submitted September 30, 2022 to the Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), an agency of the United States Department of Commerce that serves as the President’s principal adviser on telecommunications policies. The grant award will be announced in March 2023. This is a 70% Federal /30% PUD grant, and in-kind donations are allowed by organizations that wish to donate land or contribute labor and/or funding.
If PUD is awarded this federal grant, we will construct a new fiber backbone approximately 75 aerial fiber miles to extend service to unserved areas from the western side of Port Angeles to west of Joyce, then connect to BPA infrastructure across backcountry, then attach to PUD infrastructure east of Beaver to Forks. This project will directly impact the communities of Forks and Beaver, Washington with potential future expansion to Neah Bay. The western Olympic Peninsula, where both Forks and Beaver are located, is geographically isolated and currently lacks the infrastructure to develop and provide adequate access to high-speed broadband. The construction of a new fiber backbone will help address limited access in these Clallam County communities. The targeted last mile objective includes planned breakout points at each major crossing and community, allowing easy access for any ISP to branch out from these locations.
This backbone infrastructure will be capable of providing bandwidth of 100Mbps to multiple 100Gbps circuits within under/unserved areas through partnerships with any internet service provider that elects to serve these areas. Upon completion, the new fiber backbone created by this project will have sufficient additional capacity to provide any speeds future DWDM technology can offer. The PUD has spoken with and received interest from the Local and regional ISP’s. Currently the PUD has eight ISP’s with retail authority that serve off of our fiber. With this grant, PUD can commit to providing the infrastructure required to facilitate bringing connectivity to underserved Clallam communities.