Port of Ridgefield gets $50,000 grant to pursue fiber network

Nelson Holmberg
VBJ file. Nelson Holmberg, vice president of innovation for the Port of Ridgefield, discusses plans to bring a fiber network to the Discovery Corridor.

The Port of Ridgefield has been awarded a $50,000 grant from the state of Washington’s Community Economic Revitalization Board (CERB) to help bring a broadband fiber network to the Ridgefield Port District, also known as the Discovery Corridor.

The port plans to use the grant funds to complete a feasibility study and formal needs analysis for the construction of fiber infrastructure, which, as planned, would loop around the corridor and extend to WSU Vancouver and Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center.

With fiber optic infrastructure in place, the port would be able to lease the network to private companies for data transmission, cable TV and internet access. The network would also include civic/government, education, emergency services and healthcare nodes.

Nelson Holmberg, VP of innovation for the port, presented the plan during a CERB meeting last week, along with Port CEO Brent Grening.

“A unanimous decision by the (CERB) board to award us the grant in the full amount we applied for is much appreciated,” said Holmberg in a press release. “It recognizes our disciplined approach and smart policy we’ve established as we work to ‘light up’ the Discovery Corridor.”

A feasibility study, Holmberg said, will help determine construction costs and aid in determining a cost/benefit analysis for the infrastructure development and project revenue generation capacity.

“This will provide us with an expected rate of return – required information for a responsible public entity,” he said.

Port representatives see dark fiber optics installation in North Clark County as key to the organization’s efforts to best serve the growing community.

“Connectivity is mission critical to our area for growing business, competing globally and providing our citizens with access to a world-class education and other services,” Holmberg explained.

For more information on the project, visit portridgefield.org.

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