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OLYMPIA – Broadband grant opportunities are being given in Ferry County and to the Colville Confederated Tribes.

The Washington State Broadband Office and Spokane-based non-profit Better Health Together will provide up to $207,000 to fund development of 18 broadband grant applications for projects in eastern Washington.

They include two projects each in Spokane, Adams, Lincoln, Stevens, Ferry and Pend Oreille counties, and two projects each for the Spokane Tribe of Indians, Kalispel Tribe of Indians and Colville tribe.

“These integrated managed care funds were set aside in 2019 for telehealth strategies, but COVID expedited this work,” said Alison Poulsen, Better Health Together executive director. “Our behavioral health partners tell us there are many positives to telehealth appointments, however, patients lacking access to high-speed internet remains a massive barrier to delivering services.

“We are proud to partner with the state to support their work to expand broadband to under and unserved communities.”

“Bridging the digital divide is one of the most important tools we have to improve health and educational outcomes and support work from home and small businesses,” said state Department of Commerce Director Lisa Brown. “The pandemic has further exposed the inequities and gaps in service, especially in rural communities.”

BHT’s $207,000 investment will fund creation of grant applications that are highly targeted, produced with uniform quality and managed by expertise familiar with the technical details of broadband networks and federal grant applications, said those involved.

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