(The Center Square) – Pierce County has reached an agreement with Comcast to develop broadband infrastructure and provide better internet access for underserved parts of the county.

The public-private partnership between the county and Comcast totals approximately $5 million. Pierce County is using $3.8 million of its American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 federal funds to expand bandwidth.

The Internet Expansion Project will be implemented in the Key Peninsula, where cities such as Vaughn, Wauna, Lakebay and Key Center are located. The county expects the project to provide improved Internet access to more than 526 homes and businesses on the Key Peninsula.

On a unit basis, that works out to just over $9,500 per home or business.

“Today’s announcement regarding the expansion of high-speed Internet services on the Key Peninsula is an extension of our commitment to invest in and expand our network to ensure that more residents and businesses in our region has the important broadband connections they need for their studies, work and personal lives,” said Roy Novosel, vice president of engineering for Comcast’s Pacific Northwest region, in a statement.

When the county first received federal funding through the American Rescue Plan Act, it committed $15 million to fill broadband gaps in the region in July 2021. The five areas envisioned for the Internet expansion project included all parts of the Key Peninsula, the Puyallup/White River area, Nisqually area and Lake Alder area.

“Now, more than ever, it’s crucial that people have access to high-speed internet,” said Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier. “Whether it’s for work, school or play, we want to help all county residents enjoy the benefits of this important infrastructure.”

According to Comcast, the company has built nearly $1 billion worth of technology and infrastructure projects in Washington state over the past three years. This includes upgrades to its broadband network.

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