OLYMPIA – Washington has long restricted public utilities and some other governments from offering broadband service directly to their residents. Those restrictions are in state law but could soon change thanks to a bill offered by Representative Drew Hansen (D-Bainbridge Island). House Bill 1336 removes all state restrictions on public utilities providing broadband access directly to consumers.
“We have learned a lot during the pandemic and one of the biggest lessons is that access to high-speed internet is essential in the 21st century, but not everyone has that access. Telecoms have had decades to build out fiber networks but there are still regions in our state that are internet deserts or have very poor access. That’s inequitable and unacceptable. Let’s give our local public utilities a chance to provide this essential service to people who need it to work, go to school, or attend a telemedicine appointment,” said Hansen.
HB 1336 has been referred to the House Consumer & Economic Development Committee.