Rural Oregon Communities Awarded Funds to Enhance Broadband Access

Business Oregon announced seven recipients of grant funds designed to advance broadband infrastructure in rural areas.

“Bridging the digital divide is an integral part of growing our rural economies and creating a Future Ready Oregon,” Governor Kate Brown said.

The 2016 Broadband Progress Report adopted by the Federal Communications Commission shows that 39% or rural Americans lack access to broadband speed benchmarks, versus only 4% in urban areas. To address that gap, Governor Kate Brown authorized Business Oregon to use $500,000 from the Strategic Reserve Fund to stand up a grant pilot program to advance rural broadband development.

“Cultivating economic stability in rural Oregon is a key priority for us, and identified as such in our agency’s strategic plan,” said Business Oregon director Chris Harder. “Broadband access is critical to both advancing existing rural industries, as well as diverse economic growth.”

As the state’s economic development agency, Business Oregon works to expand broadband access as a critical component of 21st century infrastructure for business and community development. Oregon cities, counties, ports, tribes, cooperatives, non-profits, and public-private partnerships submitted proposals in February, 2018. There were 25 applications submitted for more than $4.8 million in requested funding. Grants awarded will support broadband planning and infrastructure projects located in Baker, Columbia, Coos, Curry, Douglas, Morrow, Harney, and Tillamook counties.

Tillamook Lightwave – Port area of Garibaldi, $50,000 grant
TLW will expand its fiber network in the Port of Garibaldi area to deliver Gigabit services and support economic development.

This funding is contingent on successful negotiation between Business Oregon and the recipients, of contractual terms for the awards and performance objectives by agreed upon dates.

Business Oregon, the state’s economic development agency, invests in Oregon businesses, communities, and people to promote a globally competitive, diverse, and inclusive economy. The agency’s services span rural community development and infrastructure financing; business retention, expansion and recruitment; export promotion and international trade; investments in industry research and development and entrepreneurship; small business assistance; and support for arts and cultural organizations.