Oregon’s $157 Million Broadband Program Opens for Applications

Oregon's $157 Million Broadband Program Opens for Applications

The Oregon Broadband Office is currently accepting grant applications for the $156.8 million funds it got from the U.S. Treasury Department’s American Rescue Plan Act Capital Projects Fund.

Previously, the U.S. Treasury approved $149 million in Capital Projects Fund grants to cover the cost of rural broadband deployments in Oregon, which was said to be distributed via a Broadband Infrastructure program.

The previous press release from the U.S. Treasury mentioned a sum of $156.7 million, and a part of $7.7 million would be used for administrative costs.

Director of the Oregon Broadband Office Nick Batz stated in a prepared statement, “Access to high-speed broadband is essential for all Oregonians. Our students need access for remote learning, our businesses need access to reach national and global markets, and our seniors rely on it for telehealth and connection,”

Batz added, “In Oregon, approximately 145,060 total households lack access to reliable high-speed internet. Programs like the BDP can address this gap.”

As per a press release this week, recipients of the funds will be able to use them for the creation and rolling out of broadband infrastructure projects that will provide dependable broadband service (minimum 100/100 Mbps) to underserved ( which refers to not having a wired connection that consistently delivers 100/20 Mbps) or unserved (which refers to not having a wired connection that consistently delivers 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload) locations in Oregon that do not have at least 100/20 Mbps wired service.

Oregon $157 Million Broadband Program Opens for Applications
Oregon’s $157 Million Broadband Program Opens for Applications

Who is eligible to apply?

All nine federally recognized tribes in Oregon, non-profit organizations, municipalities, electric utilities, cooperatives, municipal affiliations, and private and for-profit businesses are all eligible to receive the funding. Both solo and partnered applications are accepted.

What is the last date for the application submission?

The deadline for submitting BDP applications is April 25, 2024, at 5 p.m. PST.

What is the scoring system for the Oregon Broadband Office award?

Every unserved location will receive 10 points, and every underserved one will receive 5 points. If the monthly cost of 100/100 Mbps service is $30 or less, you can earn 5 points for every location, and you can earn 2 points per site if the cost is $30 to $50 per month.

It is also to be noted that for each percentage point of the project’s total costs that providers will contribute, they will also receive 50 points.

After the points are totaled, an additional 5% to the project score is added if the project fits any of the following four priorities. They are regional scale consideration, muni/co-op/non-profit affiliated, high level of readiness and census block or tract with moderate to high social vulnerability.

Governor Tina Kotek stated, “We must remedy the digital divide in Oregon and among Oregon’s federally recognized Tribes,”

Kotek added, “The Broadband Deployment Program is a significant opportunity to stand up critical infrastructure to ensure long-lasting, quality internet access which will increase pathways to education, business development, health care, and so much more across our state.”

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Eliana Cooper

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