Gervais, Oregon, Oct 08, 2010 -- High-speed Internet is coming to parts of rural Oregon, and with it, opportunities for residents, small businesses and agricultural producers to enter the 21st Century economy. On Friday, October 8, U.S. Congressman Kurt Schrader joined local residents and other public officials at the Broadacres Fire Station in rural Marion County to recognize this milestone achievement.
The event was held in honor of the current installation of 27 miles of high-speed fiber optic cable in rural areas surrounding Gervais and Woodburn, Oregon.
“The continued deployment and adoption of high speed broadband is becoming more and more critical to a community’s ability to compete economically,” said Schrader. “This is particularly crucial in our rural communities. Expanding rural access to high-speed internet to homes and businesses will provide them with the tools they need to attract business and grow education and economic opportunities. This is an important step in creating jobs at a time when we need it most.”
The project was made possible with grant and loan funding to the Gervais Telephone Company through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act).
The project will provide the industry’s highest level of Internet access – Fiber to the Home. Fiber networks are needed to meet the huge bandwidth demands of the future, such as those for 3D High Definition TV, holographic games and home health care.
The Recovery Act funding was delivered through Rural Development, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“Broadband investments like this will form a backbone of infrastructure that is essential in creating jobs and revitalizing Oregon’s rural communities and economies,” said Vicki Walker, State Director for Rural Development in Oregon.
“Local farms, nurseries and small businesses will be able to compete in the global marketplace, while emergency services, schools, and health care providers will be able to provide better services and opportunities to rural residents,” Walker continued.
Through the Recovery Act, USDA Rural Development is providing $6.7 million in loans and $13.2 million in grants to six broadband projects in rural Oregon. This is in addition to the annual funding appropriated to USDA Rural Development to help rural communities fund infrastructure and telecommunications projects.
USDA Rural Development's mission is to increase economic opportunity and improve the quality of life for rural residents. In federal fiscal year 2009, Rural Development invested more than $550 million in Oregon’s rural communities. These dollars have been used to foster growth in homeownership, business development, and critical community and communications investments. Further information on rural programs is available at any of Oregon’s Rural Development offices in Pendleton, Tangent, Redmond, Roseburg or the state office in Portland (503-414-3300), or by visiting USDA's RD Oregon’s web site at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/or.