Our community relies on high-speed internet access for education, employment, health care, economic opportunities, public health, safety, and otherwifi graphic symbol essential services. High-speed broadband is increasingly recognized as an essential utility like water, sewer, and electricity. However, significant portions of rural Whatcom County still lack access to affordable high-speed internet, and the private sector has been reluctant to extend broadband infrastructure to rural areas due to the high cost of construction and a limited number of potential paying subscribers. The Port, recognizing the importance of broadband to economic and community development, developed a Broadband Feasibility Study for Rural Whatcom County in 2019 to evaluate the need for broadband investments.  The Port also began developing the local, state, and federal partnerships necessary to overcome this tremendous challenge.

Press Releases

Port announces partnership between Port of Bellingham, Whatcom PUD, and Whatcom County partnership and award of $10 mil+ in grants to build fiber broadband wired directly to over 2,000 homes and businesses in underserved communities. Press Release - 10.12.23.

Study Appendixes

Appendix A                                        

Appendix B

Appendix C

Appendix C-1  

Appendix C-2

Appendix C-3  

Appendix C-4

Appendix C-5      

Appendix D

Appendix E  

Appendix F

Appendix G

Broadband Committee

The Port and the Public Utility District (PUD) both have the authority to develop broadband networks and provide broadband services and have formed a partnership to support the extension of broadband infrastructure to unserved and underserved areas in Whatcom County. The Port, PUD, and County work collaboratively through a Broadband Steering Committee on policy, strategies, and funding opportunities. As such in October 2022, the Port and PUD published the Whatcom PUD Broadband Feasibility Study. This feasibility study analyzes the need and cost of building infrastructure in southern and western Whatcom County.

Broadband Projects

The Port is excited to provide quality high-speed broadband to rural Whatcom County and recently completed an open-access fiber project in East Nooksack, funded in partnership between the Port, the County, and the Community Economic Revitalization Board (CERB). The Port, in partnership with PogoZone, has begun signing up customers high-speed up to 1 Gig.  If you are an ISP provider and wish to serve on the network contact the economic development division on how you can participate.    
Broadband photoThe construction of two new projects will begin this fall! The North Lynden Project and the North Ferndale Project. The RFP process is now closed for the North Lynden Project, and the design is scheduled for early fall 2023. Both projects will be open access and will provide affordable quality broadband with up to 1 Gig speed.  

Broadband Maps and Plans 

The Washington State Broadband Office (WSBO) is required to develop a digital equity plan, an implementation plan, and a 5 year plan in order to collect the Broadband Equity Access Deployment (BEAD) Funding administered by  National Telecommunication Information Administration (NTIA).  To create their Digital Equity Plan WSBO requested each County and Tribe to create their own Asset and/or Digital Equity Plan.  The Port along with the PUD convened many stakeholders and partners to complete an Asset and Digital Equity plan.  The Executive Summary can be found here. Whatcom County Asset and Digital Equity Plan. This is not the final plan.  The Port intends to continue to work with the community and stakeholders to find additional gaps, needs and create an implementation plan.  

Broadband Planning: Read the Whatcom County PUD broadband feasibility report done in partnership with the Port of Bellingham. Broadband Planning 

Digital Equity and Inclusion: Digital Equity and Inclusion

Measuring Point Roberts Broadband Availability: Measuring Point Roberts Broadband Availability


$1.22 Billion BEAD Funding 

New FCC maps determine there are more unserved community members in Washington state and NTIA announces an award of $1.22 billion for broadband.  

WA State Dept of Commerce Seeking Public Input on  BEAD 5-Year Action Plan + Washington's Digital Equity Plan

New FCC maps determine there are more unserved community members in Washington state and NTIA announces an award of $1.22 billion for broadband.  

Washington state’s BEAD 5-Year Action Plan serves as the needs assessment that will inform the subsequent planning elements required by NTIA under the Internet for All program. Comments on the BEAD Five Year Action Plan are being accepted through October 15, 2023, and may be sent to| 

The Washington State Broadband Office has developed a draft Digital Equity Plan after a robust public engagement period and planning process to capture the diverse voices of Washington state and to identify the needs and barriers to getting Washingtonians connected across the state. This draft plan has a 60-day public comment period to give communities the opportunity to provide feedback before its final submission to the federal government. Comments on the Draft Digital Equity Plan are being accepted through October 31, 2023, and may be sent to Submit a Public Comment (

FCC National Broadband Map 

The recently released FCC National Broadband Map attempts to show internet service availability for every location in the country. The public is encouraged to review the map as it relates to their location. Having accurate information for every location is critical to future funding and construction of new or upgraded service statewide. It is not uncommon that the data listed on the FCC map is not representative of the actual service received.   

People can verify or challenge the accuracy of the map from their residence or at a public location with computer access (i.e., library computers, booths with laptops/ tablets at community events or in businesses, etc.). Verifying or challenging this data could give people a chance to provide valuable input, especially if you suspect the FCC map is inaccurate.   

What can you do? 

Follow the step-by-step guide to review and verify or challenge the FCC National Broadband Map:

Petrichor Broadband 

The Port of Bellingham and five other Ports created this joint operating LLC, whose purpose is to work together on statewide business opportunities and broadband policy.  Partner Ports include the Port of Skagit, Kalama, Pasco, Ridgefield, and Whitman County.  Petrichor Broadband works to improve operational efficiencies by allowing members and partners to contract for fiber management services with six Ports and avoid duplication of staff and efforts.  Petrichor also helps port districts advocate and facilitate broadband access for rural areas throughout the state.  "Petrichor" is defined as the earthy, sweet smell that frequently accompanies the first rain after a long period of warm, dry weather.


PUD Broadband Page 

Washington State Broadband Office   

Internet For All 

National Telecommunications and Information Administration 

Federal Communications Commission Broadband Data Collection