The City of George, WA will be able to have high speed fiber thanks in part to the generous donation from Microsoft of $200,000 to the Grant County PUD.
George is located directly on Interstate 90, but is the only incorporated community in Grant County that currently does not have access to the fiber-optics network. About 70 percent of the county currently has access to the fiber network, besides the City of George, the remaining 30 percent of the county is mostly remote areas that make it harder and more expensive to deliver the fiber to.
Former Grant County Economic Development Council (GCEDC) board member and, Senior Manager of Wholesale Fiber, Thomas Stredwick said, “We are fortunate to have a community partner like Microsoft that is willing to support the expansion of fiber to the residents of our rural community. Partnerships like these are going to be critical going forward with expansion to the remaining unserved pockets of our county. ”
Grant County PUD Commissioners have allocated $7 Million in the 2018 budget for the fiber expansion. This will be a starting point, and more work on the expansion will be done after the 2018 budget.
Effective broadband helps communities grow and remain a location of choice to live and do business. For the City of George, this will impact not only the businesses but also the residents. “To be able to partner with Grant County PUD and help bring broadband to the community is Microsoft’s privilege,” commented Lisa Karstetter, GCEDC board member and manager Microsoft TechSpark Washington. “As more schools and classrooms are moving towards online textbooks and assignments, it is harder for rural students to keep up and get ahead in their school work. By pushing out broadband to areas that didn’t have it before, it is our hope that those students can have the tools to stay competitive as they move into the technology driven workforce.”