The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has awarded Hood Canal Communications (HCC), through the Department of Commerce’s Washington State Broadband Office (WSBO), a $10.1 million broadband grant. The grant is to build a fiber network along US Highway 101 from the Jefferson County line to Brinnon, WA, along the scenic Hood Canal. The project will provide Fiber to the Home (FTTH) and close the digital divide for rural residents and businesses that are currently unserved and underserved. The project will be built to accommodate future expansion and faster speeds but will initially provide internet speeds up to a gig (1,000 Mbps) synchronous.

The federal government’s recent investment in broadband projects demonstrates that high speed internet is a necessity now more than ever. As society becomes more dependent on technology, digital inequality is increasingly a problem for rural areas of the country. With the assistance of federal and state grant programs, Hood Canal Communications will address this need for approximately 900 residents and businesses in Jefferson County. The benefits of access to high-speed internet are numerous- touching all aspects of modern life for young and old alike. Telehealth, remote learning, work from home, and Zoom are a part of our everyday vernacular and are only made possible with fast and reliable high-speed internet.

According to Mike Oblizalo, General Manager and Vice President, the company is excited to serve the area, that is currently a broadband desert, and improve the lives of residents. This would not be possible without the support of the NTIA and WSBO.

The project is in collaboration with Mason County PUD No. 1 and has many community supporters including homeowners, businesses, tribal officials, school districts, public agencies, public officials, and even a local Community Task Force on Broadband.

Hood Canal Communications is a local communications service provider with approximately 7,000 residential and business customers in Mason County. With offices located in Union and Shelton, the company has been serving Mason County since 1934.

The Broadband Infrastructure Program is a $288 million broadband deployment program, which was funded by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, directed to partnerships between a state, or one or more political subdivisions of a state, and providers of fixed broadband service to support broadband infrastructure deployment and to support bridging the digital divide in unserved areas, especially rural areas.