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Updated: Apr 3

Freeland, WA – Whidbey Telecom, a longtime internet and phone service provider in Washington state, has recently announced its plans to vastly improve the broadband infrastructure from South Whidbey Island to Point Roberts, WA, and the broadband-underserved areas in between. Snohomish, WA-based ATCO Communications Services, LLC, will serve as this collaborative project's primary contractor and project manager. The “Point Roberts Middle Mile Infrastructure Project” is funded by the Middle Mile Grant Program, maintained by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the U.S. Department of Commerce. The Middle Mile program aims to supply rural and underserved communities with more extensive, reliable, and faster broadband services and infrastructure by connecting them to more developed existing networks. When completed, the Point Roberts Middle Mile Infrastructure Project will benefit an estimated 100,000 residents in Northwest Washington.

To connect the underserved areas, the multi-million-dollar project will lay 48 miles of cable underground and install 63 miles of cable on the seafloor. Cable deployment begins in South Whidbey Island and ends in Point Roberts, WA. Ultimately, these cables will provide improved broadband infrastructure for south Whidbey Island, Point Roberts, and the settlements in between, such as the Lummi Nation, Orcas Island, and other broadband-underserved areas of need in both Whatcom and San Juan counties. In addition to constructing these new telecommunications facilities, the project will entail significant surveying, permitting, and careful analyses of ecological and archaeological factors in the area.

ATCO will work collaboratively with Whidbey Telecom on project management, terrestrial cable staking, easement and permit acquisition, traffic control planning, and right-of-way work. Additionally, ATCO supports Whidbey Telecom and its partner companies in various project tasks.

When asked about ATCO’s role in this significant undertaking, Steve LeVeck, Sr. Project Manager, said, “The scope of this project makes for an exciting challenge, but that challenge has brought everyone involved together with a shared focus. The project demonstrates our commitment not just to our partnership with Whidbey Telecom, but also the local Washington communities that this project will impact most.”

Two men shake hands in front of a Whidbey Telecom sign
Whidbey Telecom & ATCO Communications to Improve Broadband Infrastructure for 100,000+ in Washington

By acquiring and improving existing telecommunications facilities and constructing new ones, Whidbey Telecom and ATCO will bring more reliable broadband infrastructure and services to unserved and underserved areas from Whidbey Island to the Canadian border. The “Point Roberts Middle Mile Infrastructure Project” aims to continue bridging the digital divide and bring improved digital infrastructure to local communities. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) oversees this project and others with the goal of reaching digital equity, a vision that ATCO and Whidbey Telecom also share. Speaking to the greater mission driving the “Point Roberts Middle Mile Project,” Donna Hilty, Whidbey Telecom COO, said, “We must have a durable and resilient infrastructure to allow this area to grow and prosper. Through these investments, we continue to look for opportunities to help improve the quality of life and expand economic growth in the communities we serve.” 

Aerial shot of Whidbey Island, WA
Whidbey Telecom & ATCO Communications to Improve Broadband Infrastructure for 100,000+ in Washington

The Point Roberts Middle Mile Infrastructure Project will ultimately impact tens of thousands of individuals in Northwest Washington, including residents of Whidbey Island, Lummi Nation, and Island, San Juan, and Whatcom counties at large. Whidbey Telecom, ATCO, and their partners take immense pride in being part of a project that will impact so many Washington residents for years to come.

About ATCO: With offices in Snohomish, WA, and Fort Wayne, IN, ATCO is a contract engineering company powered by industry experts to deliver turnkey, customer-centered solutions for telecommunications planning, engineering, and project administration. While headquartered in Snohomish, WA, and Fort Wayne, IN, their hands-on and team-oriented approach guarantees success while paving the way for a more connected future.

About Whidbey Telecom: Whidbey Telecom was the first telephone company on Whidbey Island to offer internet services. They have been recognized by NTCA, The Rural Broadband Association, as Gig Certified and a Smart Connected Community. Whidbey Telecom delivers innovative communications solutions to its customers and communities, serving residential and commercial customers on Whidbey Island and Point Roberts.

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