SALEM — Governor Kate Brown issued an executive order establishing the Oregon Broadband Office within the Oregon Business Development Department (Business Oregon). Governor Brown’s recommended budget includes funding to fully staff the new broadband office.
“This is an economic and equity issue, ” said Governor Brown. “Broadband is essential for businesses to grow, and for schools, health care providers, and first responders to deliver the highest quality of service. We will continue to push for policies that help all Oregonians thrive.”
The Oregon Broadband Office will develop broadband investment and deployment strategies for underserved areas, promote public-private partnerships, support local broadband planning, advocate for policies that remove barriers to broadband deployment, and help communities access federal and state funds.
Broadband is essential infrastructure, like roads, rail, utilities, and ports. While Oregon is highly ranked among states for broadband access and speed, many rural communities are underserved.
“Broadband is our state’s greatest economic development tool. The new Broadband Office will take on the critical work of helping unserved and underserved communities with technical assistance and funding expertise necessary to get them online. Our goal should be nothing short of 100 percent broadband adoption across the state of Oregon,” said Representative Pam Marsh.
Joseph Franell, CEO of Eastern Oregon Telecom and Chair of the Oregon Broadband Advisory Council, said, “I am very pleased with the Governor’s focus on broadband. This is a critical step in bridging the digital divide in Oregon. That is why the Oregon Broadband Advisory council is supportive of this office being established.”
“The digital divide is very real in Eastern Oregon. The broadband office will help rural, underserved communities make broadband plans, develop public-private partnerships, and acquire funding from state and federal sources,” said Representative Lynn Findley.