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Senate committee approves bill to bring broadband to rural Washington

Senate committee approves bill to bring broadband to rural Washington

OLYMPIA, Wash. - State lawmakers are working to get fast internet service to rural communities in Washington.

Senate Energy, Environment and Technology Committee passed Senate Bill 5935, on Thursday, which is designed to find ways to expand Internet access and 5G services to underserved areas, according to lawmakers.

The bill also creates a new state Office of Broadband Access, which would help develop ordinances for local governments to gain adequate internet access.

A news release said funding would come from existing taxes paid by telecommunications providers and federal grants.

RELATED: Legislation to help close the digital divide, bring broadband to rural Washington

Under the bill, the Kitsap County Public Utility District would be allowed to offer internet services where commercial services are inadequate or not available.

The Association of Washington Cities is recognizing bill sponsors Senator Tim Sheldon and Senator Reuven Carlyle for their work to address this broadband issue.

Bill 5935 now heads to the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

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