We sure do. In fact, not only do we have it, we're at the top of the list on broadband infrastructure. That's according to the fresh-from-the-oven TechNet 2012 State Broadband Index. TechNet is a network of CEOs and senior executives that promote the growth of technology-led innovation.
What puts us at the top are high rates of broadband use, a broadband-connected economy and better-than-average network speeds. Other tech states, like California and Utah, trail behind us ranking 5 and 9 respectively.
Upon hearing the news, the Washington State Broadband Office (WSBO), which is part of the Washington State Department of Commerce, issued this press release. It quotes Will Saunders, WSBO program and policy director, on the issue: "The state's ranking reflects state broadband planning going back to 2008 and more than $2.3 billion in public and private investment in infrastructure and training during that period. The study also confirms that we are ideally positioned for economic growth based on this work."
Saunders is right; one of the reasons we're leading the pack in 2012 is that in 2008 the legislature passed SB 6438, regarding high-speed internet services and community technology opportunities. The measure required the then Department of Information Services to come up with a statewide high-speed internet deployment and adoption strategy to:
• develop geographic information system maps and inventories of public and private high-speed internet infrastructure
• address management of proprietary and competitively sensitive data
• spur development of high-speed internet resources across the state
• track residential and business adoption of high-speed internet
• use local technology planning teams to help with internet deployment to disenfranchised or unserved areas.
Access to broadband means your morning paper loads quickly and you can watch the latest viral video in a snap. Being the best at access to broadband means it will be easier for the state to attract and grow companies, which means more jobs.