2024 Annual Member Meeting Highlights

The full recording is available here.

Link Oregon’s annual member meeting for 2024, held on June 24th via Zoom, brought together a diverse community of members and partners in the broadband ecosystem from Oregon and across the country to share insights about broadband and digital equity efforts. Panelists included local, statewide and regional leaders from Oregon K-12, public library community and local government as well as broadband thought leaders from two other Western states. We want to extend our thanks to all the participants who joined us and especially our panelists who came prepared to share substantive insights.

Below are a few salient takeaways from the 90- minute discussions (timestamps included):

Link Oregon Strategic Business updates (2:50 to 23:20)
Steve Corbató, Executive Director, Link Oregon
Overview of Link Oregon’s mission-driven activities and strategic updates on broadband projects with our founding members. Areas of key focus for Link Oregon in 2023-2024 included planning for a 400-Gbps testbed, establishing a K-20 education network community, supporting K-12 eduroam deployments, enhancing cybersecurity services, and convening a statewide research computing collaboration initiative.

Building a K-12 Network Community for Oregon (24:00-45:16)
: Rachel Wente-Chaney, Chief Information Officer, High Desert ESD; Stuart Long, Chief Information Officer, Northwest Regional ESD; Cynthia Brown, Manager, Proj. Management, Implementation, & Ops., Link Oregon

Discussion focused on ongoing need and investment in broadband post-pandemic, and the criticality of interconnecting K-12 networks in the state to build a resilient online infrastructure, support shared services and extend reach into remote regions of Oregon. Link Oregon provided an update on our newly launched service model for K-12 ESDs.  

Oregon Libraries as Partners in Advancing Digital Equity (45:25 – 1:06:25)
Arlene Weible, Library Consultant, State Library of Oregon; Kari May, Library Director, Jackson County Library Services; Cristian Salgado, Senior Broadband Investment Coordinator, Washington County

A prominent theme was how libraries are ideally positioned as trusted partners in advancing digital equity with a long-standing history in providing free digital services to patrons and underserved local communities. Digital Navigator programs and Mobile Libraries were highlighted as key community programs that support digital literacy and accessibility. Panelists encouraged digital equity practitioners to consider libraries as partners in their efforts.

Statewide Middle Mile Development (1:06:28 – 1:30:00)
Brian Mitchell, Director, Nevada Office of Science, Innovation and Technology / Nevada Broadband Office; Jeff Egly, Associate Director, Technical Services, Utah Education & Telehealth Network; Lynne Yocom, Fiber Optics Director, Utah Department of Transportation

Panelists representing the states of Nevada and Utah shared insights on how strategic middle mile infrastructure initiatives have been deployed in their respective states. It was noted that Nevada and Utah share similar geographical topologies and challenges with much of eastern Oregon. Panelists discussed why investments in middle mile projects are critical to extend the reach of last mile access into the most remote and under/unserved locations across their states.