The Port of Woodland received $750,000 from Washington State CERB on July 16 to finance the Ariel to Cougar Dark Fiber project. The Project will construct needed fiber optics expanding speeds to 1 Gig capacity. The Port is matching nearly $200,000 to the CERB funding for a total project cost close to $1 million.
The Port has contracted with Petrichor LLC, a six-Port municipal LLC, to oversee the construction and for future operations and management of the system. Petrichor will oversee the backbone to the home construction to market to providers. Petrichor LLC is managed and overseen by the Port of Whitman County, who has a long history of highly successful dark fiber construction, management and operations for nearly two decades. The Port worked with the Port of Whitman County on the feasibility study completed in 2018.
“We at the Port of Woodland are thankful to CERB for their awarding of funds toward our dark fiber project. As we are witnessing with COVID-19 and even before, broadband is becoming an essential service for working, educating, and personal use from home. This project will open the door for faster speed and program transfer, and will open Ariel to Cougar opportunity to all these qualities and more,” stated Commissioner Paul Cline.
The Port has a dedicated Internet provider, required by the CERB funds, from Wholesail Communications formally Noel Communications. Residents and businesses will likely see opportunities for expanding service providers in 2021-2022.
The Port wishes to thank Rep. Walsh and Sen. Takko, who both sit on the CERB board for their regional support of the project, as well the Cowlitz Economic Development Council for their support letter to the CERB Board.
“As we are quickly learning through COVID, internet is a necessity to operate in our daily functions from ordering groceries, banking, education, working from home, public safety and travel. Fiber is as necessary as water and roads these days,” stated Executive Director Jennifer Wray-Keene.
Follow the Port’s website for project updates.