Officials from Lewis County and ToledoTel gathered Friday, Oct. 13, to commemorate the groundbreaking of Winlock’s long-awaited broadband project.
Construction crews can be seen along several streets in and around Winlock. The first fiber-optic connections to homes and businesses are expected in the early spring of 2024.
The Lewis County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) resolution accepting a $23.5 million grant from the Washington State Broadband Office (WSBO) to undertake the internet expansion, stated, “This project will be a game-changing boost to Winlock’s growth, economic development and quality of life.”
ToledoTel provided $2.35 million in matching funds toward the project.
“Today we launch the construction process to provide broadband to over 2,100 homes in the Winlock area,” said Dale Merten, ToledoTel VP and COO. “We have heard from hundreds of households that will finally have access to gigabit fiber to their homes, enabling their ability to work remotely from home – for telehealth, online learning and all the benefits the residents of Toledo have enjoyed since 2016. The partnership between Lewis County and ToledoTel and grant funding from the Washington State Broadband Office enables this exciting project to begin.”
“I am immensely proud of our county team and deeply grateful for our partnership with Toledo Tel on this pivotal project for the people of Winlock,” said Lewis County Commissioner Sean Swope. “While the commissioners have vigorously advocated for this project, it’s unequivocal that without our remarkable staff, it wouldn’t have reached this juncture. The unwavering dedication of the county’s Becky Butler and Eric Eisenberg, through countless hours and numerous challenges, has been instrumental in bringing us to this point. It’s their resolve that has made this public-private partnership a shining success thus far. They truly set the gold standard. Lewis County is thankful for you.”
“It’s an exciting time for the Winlock area,” Commissioner Lindsey Pollock said. “People understand the necessity of high-speed internet to work and study as well as enjoy home entertainment options. Thanks to our partners ToledoTel and the Washington State Broadband Office, 2,000 more Lewis County citizens will have access to broadband. There’s been a lot of hard work behind the scenes to get us to this groundbreaking, and we’re looking forward to seeing this project succeed.”
Orange conduit is being plowed roadside and to each home and business at no cost, as part of a public-private partnership to bring high-speed broadband services to the area. Once the conduit is in the ground, fiber wire will be pulled to enable ToledoTel to connect services to those wanting improved internet.