PUD 3's Fiberhoods and the Broadband for All Act (H.R.6442) - A Perfect Match

PUD 3's Fiberhoods and the Broadband for All Act (H.R.6442) - A Perfect Match

by Mason PUD 3 on

August 14, 2018

PUD Commissioners throw support behind bill introduced by Representatives Kilmer (D-WA), Stefanik (R-NY)

Show your support of the “Broadband for All Act”

(SHELTON, WA) The Mason PUD 3 Commission voted today to support a bipartisan broadband bill introduced by U.S. Representatives Derek Kilmer (D-WA) and Elise Stefanik (R-NY). Commissioners adopted Resolution 1714, “A resolution in support of H.R. 6442, the Broadband for All Act.” (Resolution on page two)

The “Broadband for All Act” would allow tax credits for citizens who participate in neighborhood groups and pay the shared cost of extending broadband to their communities.

There are literally thousands of Mason County residents that have asked PUD 3 how it can help bring high speed broadband to unserved or underserved areas of Mason County. The PUD Fiberhood program is one answer to this dilemma.

“This ‘Broadband for All Act’ is a perfect fit for PUD 3’s  Fiberhood program,” said Justin Holzgrove, telecommunications and community relations manager. “For those in the PUD’s designated Fiberhood areas, this will help them cover a good share of the individual cost of extending service to designated unserved, or underserved areas of Mason County. In addition, were pleased to have adopted a low-income discount program today that, in partnership with our internet service providers, will mean added opportunities for high-speed internet access.”

To pay for the extension of gigabit broadband service to communities and homes, Fiberhood participants pay a $25 “construction adder” each month for 12 years. It shows up on the bill from the customer’s internet service provider.

Under Kilmer & Stefanik’s bill, Fiberhood participants could take a 75 percent tax credit to cover costs of extending broadband service.

The bill (H.R.6442) would make Fiberhood customers eligible for a 75% tax credit on their “construction adder” charges, greatly cutting the cost to hook up.

“We’re asking our customers and community leaders to lend their support to the ‘Broadband for All Act,’’ said Holzgrove. “It will help bring much needed high-speed broadband services to rural areas throughout the country.”

Backers can register their support for the bill by visiting: www.pud3.org/broadbandforall.

Resolution 1714

In Support of H.R.6442, The Broadband for All Act

Whereas, 19.4 million persons* living in rural areas of the United States do not have access to broadband at the current federal minimum standards; and

Whereas, 63 percent* of all native Americans, and 85 percent* of those who live in rural areas do not have access to broadband at the current federal minimum standards; and

Whereas, the absence of high speed broadband service limits economic development opportunities outside Mason County’s Urban Growth Areas for small businesses, or cottage industries; and

Whereas, learning and classwork is increasingly an online service, and unavailable for many rural students without broadband; and

Whereas, telemedicine is not available to unserved or underserved internet users, and rural patients without telemedicine access are at risk from a lack of medical consults and diagnoses; and

Whereas, the internet at true broadband speeds can be used to increase a sense of community for house-bound residents; and

Whereas, Mason PUD 3 owns and operates a fiber optic network to support the operations, monitoring and maintenance of its electric distribution system, and

Whereas, Mason PUD 3 has legal authority granted by RCW 54 to provide wholesale telecommunications services in its service territory, and has public-private partnerships with retail providers who sell services across the PUD 3 fiber optic network to end users; and

Whereas, Mason PUD 3 uses its Fiberhood program to help committed unserved or underserved rural communities pay for extension of gigabit speed broadband to designated areas within PUD 3 service territory; and

Whereas, designated participants in the Fiberhood program may pay for the cost of broadband expansion to their community through a $25 per month adder paid back to Mason PUD 3 over 12 years; and

Whereas, U.S. Representatives Derek Kilmer (D-WA) and Elise Stefanik (R-NY) have introduced the bipartisan Broadband for All Act (H.R.6442), which creates refundable tax credits for those who collectively pay for extending broadband to their communities and neighborhoods; and

Whereas, the construction adder in Mason PUD 3’s Fiberhood program is a perfect match for benefits provided by the Broadband for All Act;

Therefore, let it be resolved by the Board of Commissioners of Mason PUD 3 that it supports the Broadband for All Act (H.R.6442), sponsored by U.S. Representatives Derek Kilmer (D-WA) and Elise Stfanik (R-NY); and

Further, let it be resolved that the Board of Commissioners of Mason PUD 3 urges its customers, local governmental agencies (City, Port, County, Fire Districts, School Districts, and others), Chambers of Commerce, Economic Development Council of Mason County to support the Broadband for All Act. The PUD 3 Commission asks that these entities send letters of support or register their support at www.pud3.org/broadbandforall

*Connect Americans Now.