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Business Oregon
Nathan Buehler
Marketing Mgr
Email; 503-689-3559

January 16, 2018 Media Contact

Business Oregon Seeks Proposals to Advance Rural Broadband Development

To help rural communities of Oregon improve access to broadband, Business Oregon is accepting proposals from communities for up to $500,000 in funding that can be used for planning, engineering, infrastructure, or as matching funds for rural broadband development.

"Business Oregon's infrastructure financing programs are critical to updating water, wastewater, industrial land, and multimodal transportation infrastructure statewide, but particularly in rural communities to advance economic development and community health priorities," said Business Oregon director Chris Harder. "But to ensure long-term growth throughout the state, we must also address 21st century infrastructure needs, and broadband access is critical to rural economic opportunity."

According to the 2016 Broadband Progress Report adopted by the Federal Communications Commission, 39% of rural Americans lack access to the broadband speed benchmark of 25 Megabits per second (Mbps) download and 3 Mbps upload, compared to only 4% in urban areas. Working to expand and enhance broadband access is part of Business Oregon's role as the state's economic development agency, and the agency staffs the Oregon Broadband Advisory Council.

Oregon cities, counties, ports, tribes, cooperatives, non-profit corporations, and public-private partnerships can submit proposals, which are due by February 21, 2018.

The grants may be used for the following:

  • Planning—For projects to organize and engage rural community stakeholders to develop broadband strategic plans for the deployment, adoption, and utilization of broadband infrastructure in their respective communities.
  • Engineering—For projects that have completed plans, a grant may be used for the design and engineering of broadband infrastructure.
  • Infrastructure—For projects that have completed plans and engineering designs, a grant may be used for the construction of broadband infrastructure.
  • Matching Funds—A grant also may be used as matching funds to enable recipients to qualify for grants and loans from federal and private foundation funding programs for broadband planning, engineering, and infrastructure deployment projects.

More information on eligible project requirements, eligibility, and the program application are available on the Rural Broadband Capacity Pilot Program web page.

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.