Digital Equity moonshot: State launches new Office of Digital Equity to help all Washington residents thrive in a connected world

Timeline image with milestone goals and dates for Washington broadband expansion: universal access to FCC definition of broadband speed by 2024; every community with access to 1 gigabit service at anchor institutions like schools and community centers by 2026, and universal 150 megabits per second speeds by 2028 enabling multiple users at the same time, livestreaming content, video calls and more.
in 2019, the state Legislature passed a bill creating the Washington State Broadband Office in the Department of Commerce and tasked the office with bringing universal broadband access by 2024.
Headshot of Ernie Rasmussen Director of Office of Digital Equity
Ernie Rasmussen is leading Commerce’s new Office of Digital Equity. His team is working to build partnerships throughout the state that will advance community-led efforts to expand affordable broadband access and digital literacy in rural and underserved communities.

Call for digital navigator grant proposals open now through Oct. 29, 2021

The broadband office is seeking organizations to provide digital navigation services. Applications are open now for grants up to $500,000 to organizations that can provide ongoing assistance to people with affordable internet access, device acquisition, technical skills and application support. The window for proposals closes Oct. 29, and work is expected to roll out in January.

Partnerships are crucial to expanding access to affordable broadband service, devices and skills. One of the first major efforts led by the Washington Broadband Office was establishing a network of free community Wi-Fi hotspots like this one at the Business Resource Center in Pomeroy, Ferry County. It’s one of hundreds of hotspots throughout the state.

“Come ready to play, day in and day out.”

Promoting digital equity and closing the digital divide won’t be an easy task, but Rasmussen says the broadband office team is geared up and growing to make it happen.

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Washington State Department of Commerce

Washington State Department of Commerce

Washington State Department of Commerce official news and information. Our mission is to strengthen communities in our state.