Port of Ridgefield earns $50K grant to further explore dark fiber development

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Because time is money for business, education, health care, other entities and citizens, data ideally moves at the speed of a very high speed internet connection. The Port of Ridgefield is aiming to bring available data speeds in the area to a level on par with that of the Portland-Metro area by constructing a dark fiber network within the Discovery Corridor.

The port’s interest in this infrastructure development took a step forward yesterday with a $50,000 grant award from the State of Washington’s Community Economic Revitalization Board. CERB provides funding to local governments and federally-recognized tribes for public infrastructure which supports private business growth and expansion.

At a CERB board meeting on September 15, members voted unanimously to award the $50,000 grant – the highest available award amount for a planning grant – directly following the port’s presentation. The port’s request was for the funds to complete a feasibility study and formal needs analysis for constructing a fiber optic broadband “loop” around the Ridgefield Port District, also known as the Discovery Corridor.

Nelson Holmberg, vice president, innovation for the Port of Ridgefield, who with port CEO Brent Grening presented at the CERB meeting, said the port was very proud to have that vote of confidence from the CERB board.

“A unanimous decision by the board to award us the grant in the full amount we applied for is much appreciated. It recognizes our disciplined approach and smart policy we’ve established as we work to ‘light up’ the Discovery Corridor.”

Holmberg also noted that a feasibility study would determine construction costs and aid in determining a cost/benefit analysis for the infrastructure development and project revenue generation capacity.

“This will provide us with an expected rate of return – required information for a responsible public entity,” said Holmberg.

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