Improved telecommunications services and cooperation between the Grays Harbor PUD, local schools and businesses and the Washington State Legislature were recognized on Thursday as the PUD made some of the final connections to the East County Fiber project.

“This is a big deal for the community and the Grays Harbor PUD” said PUD Core Services Director Rob Hanny.  “In addition to providing options for new services and new service providers in the community, this project will improve the availability of broadband services for the Elma and Satsop school districts and businesses.  This project also provides the potential for providing additional connectivity to Mason County and the I-5 corridor.”

“Broadband access used to be a luxury but now it is a critical part of any business and education plan,” said PUD Commissioner Arie Callaghan.  “We are so grateful for our local legislators for their support of this critical piece of economic development for Grays Harbor.”

The $463,000.00 project was funded through a portion of the 2017-19 Capital Budget.  State Representative Mike Chapman sponsored the request and, along with Representative Steve Tharinger and Senator Kevin Van De Wege, helped guide the request through the 2017 and 2018 legislative sessions.  The funding allowed the PUD to cover the cost of materials and crew hours needed to string over five miles of fiber optic cable and other infrastructure to make connections to local businesses and school district facilities. 

Tharinger and Chapman took part in Thursday’s ceremony at Elma Elementary School, congratulating the PUD for their leadership in telecommunications expansion in southwest Washington and trying their hand at splicing and connecting some of the final fiber strands.  The 24th District representatives were joined on Thursday by Harbor Pacific Bottling’s Tim Martin and representatives of the Elma and Satsop School Districts, all entities that will see improved service.