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OR closer to receiving 'historic investment' in internet infrastructure

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The stage is set for a massive investment in Oregon’s plans to bring high-speed Internet to everyone in the state. The second volume of Oregon’s Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment proposal has been approved by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, laying out its plan for investing nearly $700 million in federal funding.

Nick Batz, Oregon Broadband office director says the goal is Internet for all.

“This is a historic investment. We’ve never seen this much money invested in broadband by the federal government before. I’m not sure that we’re ever going to see it again, and if we’re successful, we’re not going to need it again,” he explained.

Batz notes that high-speed Internet connectivity is crucial, enabling everything from remote work to telemedicine appointments, and is especially important in rural parts of the state.

Batz added the state will now begin the process of selecting the grantees that will build the infrastructure in locations that are unserved or underserved.

“The goal of this challenging process is to identify every location in Oregon that is eligible to receive BEAD funding. So, by the end of this challenge process, we will have a master list of all these locations. It’s going to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 120-,130-,140,000 locations,” he explained.

Funding to increase broadband access has become available through the passage of Congress’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The Biden Administration is currently in the process of distributing more than $42 billion to states to increase high-speed Internet connectivity.


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