October 14, 2021
Sarah Highfield
Fiber-Optic Internet Network Goes Live in Palouse Starting October 15

Open-access network will promote competitive services for people and businesses of Palouse

Palouse, WA (October 14, 2021) – The Port of Whitman County today announced that high-speed fiber-optic internet service will be available to the first of Palouse’s residents and businesses beginning Friday, October 15, with hundreds more following in the next few weeks. The Port and Ziply Fiber partnered to construct the open-access fiber-optic network, which will result in six internet service providers (ISPs) servicing Palouse.

The network enables “Gig-speed” or Gigabit fiber internet, streaming TV and fiber-based phone services for the first time in the city, the same services that went live in Rosalia on July 30, as part of a five-city, public-private partnership between the Port and Ziply Fiber to build fiber internet in Whitman County. The remainder of the builds in the county – which include Garfield, Oakesdale and Tekoa – are currently under construction.

“We are proud of this new, state-of-the-art, open-access network here in Palouse and how it will put the city’s internet connectivity on par with major cities across the county and state,” said Kara Riebold, Chief Operating Officer at the Port of Whitman County. “The Port has long championed the open-access model to help close the digital divide and promote competitive services for rural residents, and the people and businesses of Palouse are now able to make that choice thanks to the completion of this new network.”

Residents and businesses will benefit greatly from the significant speed, capacity, and reliability upgrade that fiber internet provides when making video calls, uploading, and downloading content and streaming entertainment. 

“The partnership with the Port really allowed us to deploy fiber both further and faster than we could have done on our own and at a cost savings to both of our organizations,” said Harold Zeitz, CEO of Ziply Fiber. “Our core belief has always been that simple, easy access to the internet is fundamentally important for individuals, families and businesses, and not just for those who choose to live in large urban areas. Being headquartered in Washington ourselves, it makes all of us at Ziply Fiber very proud to be able to officially call Palouse the state’s newest Gig-speed city.”

Construction of the new fiber network was supported by the Washington Community Economic Revitalization Board (CERB), which was formed in 1982 to respond to local economic development in Washington communities. CERB’s Rural Broadband Program provides low-interest loans and grants to local governments and federally-recognized Indian tribes, financing the cost to build infrastructure to provide high-speed, open-access broadband service, to rural underserved communities, for the purpose of community economic development.




About Port of Whitman County
The Port of Whitman County is dedicated to improving the quality of life for all citizens of Whitman County through industrial real estate development, preservation of multi-modal transportation, facilitation of economic development and provision of on-water recreational opportunities.