In February of 2016, community members attended a Rural Broadband Conference convened by the Oregon Rural Development Council in Bend. At the conference, attendees learned about a number of opportunities to improve broadband in their area. Residents from the McKenzie River Valley talked with a number of the presenters about beginning the community effort to bring better broadband to our area.
On March 17 2016, a meeting was held at the Leaburg Training Center to share success stories and funding opportunities for moving forward on the initiative. Representatives from CenturyLink spoke about the Connect America Fund – Phase II (CAFII) through the FCC. CenturyLink recently accepted funds through CAF II and locations on the river are eligible. We learned at this meeting that construction will begin shortly as a result of the community input. Final eligible areas for CAF II support can be viewed on this map.
The powerpoint shared at the March 17 meeting can be viewed here.
On April 7th, community members met to discuss further planning for broadband improvements. Since the March 17th meeting, many folks have gotten in touch with CenturyLink to determine whether the upgrades will improve their access to high-speed internet. Thus far, it is difficult to determine the exact locations where speeds will improve. However, some areas in the Valley are not included in the expansion. The group agreed to develop profiles of some areas through community member surveys. Many other topics were discussed including development of a FAQ or Broadband Technology Guide and the success stories in Klamath County and Sherman County.
Notes from the meeting can be viewed here.
We intend to hold another meeting to discuss our findings and determine next steps. If you are interested in getting involved, please email email@example.com for further information.
Additional links and information
- FACT SHEET: President Obama Announces ConnectALL Initiative (3.9.2016)
- NTIA Website (National Telecommunications & Information Administration) Website/Blog
- Potential Path to Improving Broadband Access to Rural unincorporated Lane County (emphasizing Schools); March 2016 memo/Stephen Dobrinich & Aniko Drlik-Muehleck; Includes links to additional reference sites
- River Reflections 3.10.16 Meeting Announcement
- River Reflections 3.24.16 Broadband gaining boost to “backbone”