Bridging the digital divide in rural Oregon was a primary topic of discussion at the 2018 Oregon Connections Telecommunications conference in October. Nearly 250 attendees discussed building broadband infrastructure as well as supporting use of those investments by residents and businesses. Keynote Speaker Mary Beth Henry highlighted the need to utilize collaborative and inclusive approaches to addressing these needs. Speaker Jonathan Chambers focused partnering with electric cooperatives to develop sustainable infrastructure to rural areas and building networks that will be able to grow with use into the future. There was a strong focus on steps communities, ISPs, and state/local governments could take to support these investments. Conference details are available here.
Two local groups were recognized at the conference with the “Excellence in Telecommunications Projects, Regional Strategies and Advocacy Award.”
- Mid-Columbia Economic Development District (MCEDD) received the award for almost a decade of work in broadband inclusion.
- A partnership of the Qlife network received the award for efforts to bring an open access fiber backbone into the City of Maupin.