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Broadband in Pierce County
  Boosting broadband in Pierce County

Pierce County is exploring ways to support broadband internet service improvements in the community. A countywide broadband access evaluation completed in 2019 found that broadband gaps exist in rural areas of Pierce County and in some areas between cities. Pierce County is not unique in this regard as many communities across the state and nation face similar challenges.

While broadband internet service is largely provided by the private sector and the County’s role in service provision is limited, the County is considering a number of potential actions that are aimed at improving broadband service over time.

  What are we doing now?

In July 2021 the Pierce County committed $15 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) money to help with efforts to bridge the broadband gaps across the county. All ARPA funds must be spent by 2026 and meet grantor requirements.

Pierce County Planning and Public Works will work with any internet service or infrastructure providers who are interested in expanding service to any of the Broadband Development Incentive Areas. PPW will use financial incentives and process streamlining to encourage expansion of broadband internet service in the Broadband Development Districts.

  Broadband Incentive Districts

There are five proposed Broadband Incentive Districts:

Nisqually Region

Key Peninsula North

Puyallup/ White River Region

Alder Lake Region

Key Peninsula South

Broadband Map Opens in new window (Click Image to Enlarge)
  Connect with Us!
Jon Baker
Broadband Program Coordinator
(253) 278-7150

  Email

  Test your Broadband Speed

  Take Speed Test

  Resources

Incentives

Pierce County Code allows Incentives for the expansion of broadband within Broadband Development Districts. Providers who are interested in receiving incentives must enter into a Broadband Development Incentives Program Agreement with the Planning and Public Works Department.

Incentive Type
Specific Incentives
Expedited Permit ReviewLands Asset Management Right of Way Agent will fast track permits.
Waived or Reduced Permit FeesWaive all permit fees.
Telecommunication Franchise FeeFranchise Fees incentives can be considered and approved by Planning and Public Works.
Regulatory IncentivesThe regulatory incentives are designed to provide both flexibility in broadband system design, permitting and regulatory requirements. All designs to be reviewed and approved by Planning and Public Works.
Waivers or Reduction in Costs for Use of County PropertyAll County property waivers or reduction in costs will be reviewed by Planning and Public Works.
Other IncentivesOne time reimbursement in connection costs paid out of ARPA funding per new dwelling served, up to 50% of actual costs, not to exceed $3,000. Funding is on a reimbursement basis, upon submittal of actual costs. Projects must include a minimum of 500 dwellings. 
  Network Requirements

Minimum Duration of Service Provision. 

Broadband system development created consistent within the provisions of this program shall be initiated within six months of the approval of the Broadband Development Incentives Program Agreement and completed based on the timeframe specified in the Agreement. Thereafter, once the project is completed, the service provider must make service available to the households and businesses specified for a minimum of ten years and in compliance with all other relevant terms of the applicable Franchise and applicable law.

The Broadband system created within the provisions of this program shall be an Open Access Network upon the expiration of the existing Broadband Development Incentives Program Agreement.
The Broadband system created shall meet the original minimum speeds of 100mb download and 100mb upload to enter into a Broadband Development Incentives Program Agreement. The network must be scalable to allow the County to meet the 150mb/150mb network goals provided by Washington State found within RCW 43.330.536.