The Washington State Employment Security Department estimates that 1.16 million jobs, or 40% of the state's total employment, were created by technology-based industries. This indicates the importance of an adequate broadband service to the state, although over 12% of households still had dial-up from their internet provider in 2007. The 2009 Speed Matters survey ranked the state 15th with an average download speed of 6.2 mbps, down from 6.5 mbps and sixth place in 2008.
The state's Department of Information Services was charged in 2008 with developing a statewide high speed internet service strategy. Part of the task was to create a map of availability, especially in underserved areas, and it received an NTIA stimulus grant in November 2009 that provided $1.7 million for mapping and a further $0.5 million for planning. As in other states, the mapping proposals have not been popular with all internet providers, who have concerns over privacy and losing customers from their DSL and fiber optic cable services.
Washington has received many applications for funding and eventually submitted ten applications to the NTIA. Various pieces of legislation are also going through that are designed to expand the availability of broadband internet services, especially in unserved and underserved areas.
April 2009 saw the announcement of plans for ISP Proxim Wireless Corporation to provide wireless internet access on the Washington State Ferry System. This will mean that wifi is available to the 25,000 passengers carried each day on fifteen vessels.
The only US state to be named after a president, Washington consists of deep rain forests, mountain ranges and semi-deserts that have been given over to intensive agriculture. The climate is variable with a generally cool and dry spring through to a mild and wet winter.
Washington is a leading agricultural state and has been the country's main apple producer since the 1920s. Significant businesses also include the design and manufacture of aircraft, computer software development and electronics while the state also has significant hydroelectric power generation. Olympia is the state capital and the four largest cities are Seattle, Spokane, Tacoma and Vancouver. Almost 60% of the state's residents live in the Seattle metropolitan area.
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Cities in Washington likely to have, or soon to receive, fiber optic cable internet services include Seattle, Spokane, Tacoma, Vancouver, Bellevue, Everett, Spokane Valley, Federal Way, Kent, Yakima and Renton. Locations in WA with highest population counts will be targeted first by providers, though relatively high speeds can be achieved with dial-up or DSL through companies such as Netzero and Charter Communications Cable.