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Legislation to bring high-speed broadband to rural Washington

From left to right, Sen. Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle, and Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch, on the floor of the Senate in Olympia on Feb. 7, 2018.

OLYMPIA, Wash. - State lawmakers have approved a bill that will allow folks in rural communities to have faster internet service.

The Washington Senate passed Senate Bill 5935 Wednesday, which prioritizes high-speed broadband service for all of Washington.

The bill would create a new Office on Broadband Access and launch a study to determine strategies for expanding access and breaking barriers, according to a news release.

“Good broadband service is just as important to rural areas as it is to cities -- if not more so, as we encourage work-from-home as a way to reduce traffic congestion,” said bill sponsor Senator Tim Sheldon.

Lawmakers said funding would come from existing taxes paid by telecommunications providers and federal grants.

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