LONGVIEW — The Port of Woodland is moving forward with a $1 million plan to bring high-speed internet and better cellphone coverage to rural communities in southeast Cowlitz County.Port commissioners voted unanimously April 19 to direct Executive Director Jennifer Keene to begin applying for federal and state grants to fund the project.Under the proposal, engineers will work with the Cowlitz PUD to place 28 miles of fiber line on 500 poles along state Highway 503 all the way to the Cougar.First proposed in June 2016 by Commissioner Paul Cline, the dark fiber plan was initially considered a long-term project. But with the port’s acquisition of 153 acres at Austin Point facing a legal challenge by Columbia Riverkeeper, the port is pursuing the dark fiber project first.The port initially completed a feasibility study along two routes. It determined that the Woodland-to-Cougar route offered the greatest return on investment. The route would also serve a larger population of residential, commercial and governmental needs, according to the study. A second route tracing the Columbia River could be added later.Woodland port officials worked with other officials from ports in Ridgefield and Whitman to model the project after similar dark fiber installations in those communities.