Deschutes County Broadband Needs Assessment
Reliable and affordable internet access is critical economic development infrastructure. This is particularly the case in regions like Central Oregon with a fast-growing technology sector and a large and fast-growing number of remote and/or “gig workers”. This need has been further exemplified and exacerbated since the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent transition to remote learning, remote health, and web-based business and employment models. All communities and regions should be assessing their current broadband capacity against current and future projected needs for business and economic development, health, and education/training; and identifying public-private partnerships and other actions to improve broadband capacity to meet priority identified needs. Further, communities and regions should be prepared with prioritized infrastructure and access needs in order to maximize state, federal, philanthropic, and private infrastructure investments.
COIC has convened a Broadband Action Team (BAT) to oversee the Deschutes County Broadband Needs Assessment process and to ensure that all relevant partners understand and embrace the findings and are well-positioned to support implementation. The BAT includes representatives from local government, businesses, schools, public safety, internet service providers, and healthcare sectors. COIC and the BAT have been working with consultants at Magellan Broadband to develop a strategic Needs Assessment Report that identifies and outlines community and regional needs, assesses the feasibility of solutions, and identifies priority projects, including opportunities to connect projects to potential funding sources and public-private investment opportunities.
The final report was published in July 2023. You can view it here: Deschutes County Broadband Needs Assessment
COIC and the BAT will use these findings to begin building out the partnerships, preliminary design and engineering, and infrastructure funding opportunities for priority projects that were identified through this process.