Brush up on broadband facts, including the role Pierce County plays in delivering broadband to its unincorporated areas.
What is broadband?
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) defines broadband speeds as at least 25 Mbps downstream and 3 Mbps upstream. Cable, DSL, fiber, and wireless are the prime broadband delivery systems used to meet these demands by connecting users to the internet.
Who provides broadband service in the community?
Like most communities, broadband service in Pierce County is primarily provided by private sector telecommunication companies.
What is Pierce County's role in the delivery of broadband?
Pierce County manages public rights-of-way, grants franchises to telecommunication providers to operate in the right-of-way and has local building code and zoning code authority related to permitting of certain types of facilities. Pierce County does not provide broadband service.
Is Pierce County a broadband provider?
Are there public locations in the community where WIFI can be accessed?
Broadband is available to my home, but is not affordable. Are there any financial assistance programs available?
Some providers offer low-cost programs for qualified households. Please contact the broadband provider in your area for information. Congress also recently enacted legislation to establish a financial assistance program through the FCC for qualified households. The Emergency Broadband Benefit is a temporary FCC program to help families and households struggling to afford broadband internet service during the COVID-19 pandemic. It provides a discount up to $50/month for broadband service, a discount of up to $75/month for households on qualifying Tribal lands and a one-time discount up to $100 for the purchase of a laptop, desktop or tablet purchased through a participating provider if they contribute more than $10, but less than $50, toward the purchase price.
The Emergency Broadband Benefit is limited to one monthly service discount and one device discount per household. Information on the program is available here, including a link for how to apply for this assistance.
Want to learn more about broadband? Work is being done at the federal and state level to help improve broadband access across the country and state. Additionally, there are resources available for people to discover broadband coverage by neighborhood, or where to find public wireless internet.
- Identify neighborhoods with broadband service with this FCC Fixed Broadband Deployment Map that uses Federal Communications Commission data on broadband service across the nation.
- Find free, temporary or emergency internet access in Washington with this Drive-In Public WIFI Locator.
- Check what parts of the state have gaps in high-speed internet service, or that have broadband infrastructure needs in this Washington State Broadband Speed Study.