Customer Notice

For the latest information, resources, and guidance related to COVID-19, please visit our COVID-19 information page or visit our COVID-19 Utility Bill Assistance page.

UTC approves $4.85 million to support broadband service

Media Contact: (360) 664-1116 or media@utc.wa.gov
Docket Number: UT-210480, UT-210546, UT-210575, UT-210578, UT-210579, UT-210581, UT-210582, UT-210583, UT-210584, UT-210585, UT-210586, UT-210591, UT-210594, UT-210597, UT-210598, UT-210599

 

Eighteen companies receive State Universal Communications Services Program funds

LACEY, Wash. - Today, state regulators approved $4.85 million in State Universal Communications Services Program funds for 18 telecommunications companies across Washington.

For the 2022 fiscal year, the following eight companies are receiving support and have committed to deploy broadband services to new locations to meet requirements set by the UTC:

  • Consolidated Communications of Washington, serving customers in rural Kittitas, Pierce, Thurston, and Yakima counties.
  • Inland Telephone, serving customers in rural Kittitas, Kitsap, Mason, Walla Walla, and Whitman counties.
  • Pend Oreille Telephone Company Inc., serving customers in rural Pend Oreille County.
  • Kalama Telephone Company, serving customers in rural Cowlitz county.
  • TDS Telecom:
    • McDaniel Telephone Co., serving customers in rural Lewis County.
    • Lewis River Telephone Company, Inc., serving customers in rural Clark and Skamania counties.
    • Asotin Telephone Company, serving customers in rural Asotin County.
  • Westgate Communications LLC, serving customers in rural Chelan and Okanogan counties.

These companies deployed broadband to 1,781 locations with program support during the 2021 fiscal year.

The following five companies will receive funding to support existing broadband services and deploy additional services, having previously met deployment requirements set by the UTC and the Federal Communications Commission:

  • Pioneer Telephone Company, serving customers in rural Whitman County.
  • Skyline Telecom, Inc., serving customers in rural Okanogan and Snohomish counties.
  • Mashell Telecom, Inc., serving customers in rural Pierce County.
  • Tenino Telephone Company, serving customers in rural Lewis and Thurston counties.
  • Whidbey Telephone Company, serving customers in rural Island and Whatcom counties.

Finally, the following five companies are receiving funding to support existing broadband services, having certified that 100% of their existing customers have broadband access, and also committed to expand service to all new locations:

  • Hood Canal Telephone Co., Inc., serving customers in rural Mason County.
  • St. John Telephone, Inc., serving customers in rural Whitman County.
  • The Toledo Telephone Co., Inc., serving customers in rural Cowlitz and Lewis counties.
  • Hat Island Telephone Company, serving customers in rural Snohomish County.
  • Western Wahkiakum County Telephone Company, serving customers in rural Pacific and Wahkiakum counties.

Companies applying for the funds must include a broadband plan in their application that maintains, provides, or enhances broadband within its service area and must meet one of four eligibility criteria.

The Utilities and Transportation Commission oversees the State Universal Communications Services Program and distributes support each year. Any unclaimed funds are carried over to the following year.

The State Universal Communications Services Program provides direct financial support to Washington’s small telecommunications companies that have adopted a plan to provide, enhance, or maintain broadband services in high-cost rural areas of Washington. The Legislature previously extended the program in 2019, and the program is scheduled to end in 2024, unless extended by the Legislature.

The UTC is the state agency charged with regulating the rates and services of telephone companies operating in Washington as well as promoting a competitive telecommunications marketplace. It is the commission’s responsibility to ensure regulated companies provide safe and reliable service available to customers at reasonable rates, while allowing them the opportunity to earn a fair profit. The commission does not regulate the rates of broadband services, cellular, cable, or Internet service.

###

Editor’s Note: Details of the company broadband plans and specific grant amounts are in the listed dockets on the UTC’s website.

Topic(s)
Telephone
Consumer