Pierce County reaches $5M agreement to expand internet access on Key Peninsula

Pierce County has reached an agreement with Comcast to develop broadband infrastructure and provide better access to the internet for underserved parts of the county.

The public-private partnership between the county and Comcast totals approximately $5 million. Pierce County is using $3.8 million out of its federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 towards building out bandwidth.

The internet expansion project will be implemented in the Key Peninsula, where towns such as Vaughn, Wauna, Lakebay and Key Center are located. The county expects the project to provide improved internet access to over 526 Key Peninsula homes and businesses.

On a per-unit basis, that works out to a little over $9,500 per home or business.

“Today’s announcement about the expansion of high-speed internet services on the Key Peninsula is an extension of our commitment to investing in and expanding our network to ensure that more residents and businesses across our region have the important broadband connections they need for their educational, professional and personal lives,” Roy Novosel, Vice President of engineering at Comcast’s Pacific Northwest Region, said in a statement.

When the county first received federal funding through the American Rescue Plan Act, it committed $15 million to bridge broadband gaps across the region in July, 2021. The five areas that were considered for the internet expansion project included all parts of the Key Peninsula, the Puyallup/White River region, Nisqually region and the Alder Lake region.

“Now, more than ever, it is crucial that people have access to high-speed Internet,” Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier said. “Whether for work, school or entertainment, we want to help all County residents enjoy the benefits of this important infrastructure.”

According to Comcast, the company has built out nearly $1 billion in technology and infrastructure projects in Washington state during the last three years. That includes upgrades to its broadband network.

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