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Lane County awarded BroadbandUSA funds

Lane Council of Governments has received  $8,325,530 from the federal initiative BroadbandUSA (part of the National Telecommunitions and Information Administration) to deliver broadband capabilities across three large, mostly rural counties — Lane, Douglas, and Klamath — and to the Klamath Tribal regions in Western Oregon.  This project will create greater rural access to digital scholarship and education, and UO Digital Scholars should take notice. President Obama announced 66 such projects funded for a total of $795 million on July 3. More information here.

LCOG’s Regional Fiber Consortium Lighting the Fiber project will enhance an existing fiber-optic backbone and deploy 124 miles of fiber-optic network to deliver broadband capabilities across Lane, Douglas, and Klamath  counties.  The project plans to enhance education, healthcare delivery, job training, and government services by providing 100 Mbps connections for more than 100 community anchor institutions, including medical centers, public safety entities, schools, community colleges, and libraries. The project also expects to spur new or improved high-speed Internet access for local consumers, including an estimated 104,000 households and 6,000 businesses, by enabling local Internet service providers to connect to the project’s open network. More information here.

Another BroadbandUSA recipient with UO connections, Internet2, received $62.5-million to expand its high-speed research-and-education network to include more than 100,000 “community anchor” institutions, like colleges, libraries, and hospitals. The University of Oregon and Oregon State University are current members of Internet2, a high-speed networking consortium for colleges and universities.

“This is going to have an enormous impact on the country,” said Gary Bachula, vice president for external relations at Internet2. “We think that these technologies are capable of literally transforming the way health care is delivered, transforming the way education is delivered, completely changing the nature of how a community uses their library to be plugged into the world.”

Mr. Bachula said he expected high-speed Internet access to have a transformative effect on the economy. He cited past investments in technology, which led to a wave of new businesses and phenomena like Facebook and YouTube. “We can’t even imagine the kinds of really big developments once you put the tools in the hands of the people,” he said.

The Obama administration estimates the BroadbandUSA projects will create up to 5,000 jobs nationally.

[info collated from reports by Chronicle of Higher Education, BroadbandUSA, and the NTIA.]

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One Response

  1. This is wonderful news and offers any number of strategic opportunities for UO collaborations with Oregon communities.

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