July 02, 2010

Wyden, Merkley Announce More than $16 million for Broadband Infrastructure

Crook and Clackamas Counties along with Bend Broadband will Receive Funding for Broadband Infrastructure and Create Community Computer Center

Washington, D.C. Responding to the need for reliable, high-speed internet access throughout all corners of Oregon, U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) announced today that Crook and Clackamas Counties as well as Bend will receive a combined $16 million in Recovery Act funding for broadband infrastructure projects and a community computer center equipped with high-speed internet access.

“Oregon’s economic success as it moves through the 21st century will depend on universal access to high-speed internet,” Wyden said. “Right now, we are laying the groundwork for this economic growth and creating family-wage jobs in the process. This investment will go a long way toward connecting students, families and entrepreneurs in rural Oregon with the technology they need to succeed.”

“Broadband access is becoming a necessity for businesses to thrive and create jobs,” Merkley said.  “Projects like these that bolster Oregon’s information infrastructure and create jobs are exactly what the Recovery Act was intended to support.”

Divided into three projects, the funding announced today will be distributed to Clackamas and Crook counties as well as Bend Cable Communications, LLC. All three projects are funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Crook County Computer and Education Center - $3,908,064
This funding will contribute to a county and community-wide effort to plan and build a new, 65-station computer learning center in Prineville that can be accessed by the county’s 25,000 residents. The station will be open more than 90 hours per week and will provide education, training and broadband access at speeds eventually reaching 100 Megabytes per second (Mbps). The project will also include a mobile lab with satellite connectivity and 12 mobile workstations to provide access to remote areas of the county.

Bend Cable Communications, LLC (Bend Broadband) - $4,418,765

This funding will help to extend high-speed internet access to the areas surrounding Bend that currently lack adequate broadband connectivity by creating a 132-mile, 40 Gigabytes per second (Gbps) fiber optic ring connecting the communities of Madras, Prineville, Sunriver and LaPine. This regional fiber optic network will include more than 1,100 households, 1,200 businesses and will provide connections to four area business parks and local district hubs with a capacity up to 100 Mbps. The project will also connect 25 community anchor institutions such as four libraries, three schools, eight public safety entities, two health care facilities and one community college.

Clackamas Broadband Innovation Initiative - $7,804,181

This funding will go the county’s Broadband Innovation initiative to bring high-speed broadband access to 156 community anchor institutions throughout the county. The 180-mile fiber optic network will provide internet speeds up to 1 Gbps to schools, community colleges and libraries to allow for distance learning applications and other educational tools and services current technology does not allow. This project will affect roughly 97,000 households, 3,600 businesses and an additional 30 anchor institutions by making the project’s open network available to local internet service providers. The project will also connect police and fire stations and will improve information sharing between county and municipal governments.