The Oregon Broadband Middle-Mile Infrastructure Planning Group’s new report offers actionable recommendations to ensure a robust broadband middle-mile network for Oregon
In May 2021, at the request of Oregon Rep. Pam Marsh—together with Sen. Lee Beyer and Rep. Mark Owens—an ad hoc committee of Oregon broadband leaders with expertise in network technologies and business models was convened as the Oregon Broadband Middle-Mile Infrastructure Planning Group to assess the status of middle-mile network infrastructure and the associated economic considerations in Oregon. The group was asked to provide actionable recommendations to the legislators and to the Oregon Broadband Office.
Stuart Taubman of Zayo and I co-chaired the group, and Link Oregon provided additional administrative support.
The group was challenged to think about the unique opportunity to construct a robust, future-proof network infrastructure in Oregon by leveraging the significant forthcoming federal funding allocated to bridge the gaps in broadband availability and adoption nationally.
Here is a summary of the resulting report:
The group established two fundamental goals for Oregon’s upcoming broadband investments:
- Assure the delivery of robust broadband services to all Oregonians.
- Attain broadband availability in currently underserved communities with network speeds and consumer pricing on par with Oregon’s largest cities.
We identified 12 actionable recommendations based on an evaluation of the long-standing needs and gaps in broadband connectivity in Oregon—particularly in remote, rural regions of the state—combined with observations made during the pandemic on the critical societal role of broadband and the gaps, widened and made even more visible by the pandemic, in equitable access, service delivery, pricing, and adoption. The recommendations fall into the areas of policy, governance, funding, and community awareness and engagement. Their adoption will allow Oregon to establish and maintain a robust middle-mile network to help to achieve the stated goals:
- Ensure a robust, capable state broadband office.
- Establish a ‘future-proof’ residential bandwidth standard.
- Accelerate Oregon’s broadband mapping.
- Establish a central repository for middle-mile network infrastructure maps.
- Cultivate a richer array of local Internet exchanges statewide.
- Develop and evolve effective strategies for investments in public broadband.
- Apply broadband funding to extend the middle-mile network.
- Ensure growth and equitable access for networks that are publicly funded.
- Recognize state and local government as stakeholders in broadband deployment.
- Take a ‘whole of government’ approach to solving the broadband problem.
- Consider the full spectrum of technologies needed to connect all Oregonians.
- Recognize the human and socioeconomic factors of broadband adoption, not just the technology.
For more details on the recommendations and the thinking behind them, see:
- Oregon Broadband Middle-Mile Futures Report
- Oregon Broadband Middle-Mile Infrastructure Presentation (PDF)
Stuart and I extend our appreciation to the Oregon Broadband Middle-Mile Infrastructure Planning Group participants for their focused efforts and insightful contributions.
- Trent Anderson, LS Networks
- David Barber, Oregon State University
- Kurtis Danka, Enterprise Information Services, State of Oregon
- Joe Franell, Chair, Oregon Broadband Advisory Council and Blue Mountain Networks
- Keith Grunberg, Hunter Communications
- Leif Hansen, LS Networks
- Craig Heidgerken, Western Independent Networks
- Tre Hendricks, Lumen
- Daniel Holbrook, Oregon Broadband Office, Business Oregon
- Molly Thurston, Link Oregon
- Matt Updenkelder, Wave Broadband
- John van Oppen, Ziply Fiber
Thank you! We would welcome your feedback.