August 19, 2020


Grant from Rural Broadband Capacity Program of Business Oregon is largest single award in state

Eugene, OR, August 19 – Emerald Broadband, an internet service provider based in Eugene and with service areas in Oakridge, Westfir, Eugene, Cheshire, Blachly, and surrounding areas, has received $1,529,600 to fund a rapid expansion of fiber internet to currently underserved areas in rural west Lane County. The Oregon Legislature and Governor Kate Brown allocated $10,000,000 from the CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund to Business Oregon's Rural Broadband Capacity Program for broadband projects targeting unserved and underserved areas of the state.

The award to Emerald Broadband will allow the company to rapidly build the backbone infrastructure to connect residences, schools, and public services to gigabit fiber internet services. The company estimates that it will provide internet to 2500 residential customers in Fern Ridge, Franklin, Cheshire, Goldson, and Low Pass, as well as four Lane Fire Authority fire stations, and Territorial Elementary School.

“We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to accelerate this project, in order to bring internet connectivity to these rural communities around Lane County,” says Raymond Hardman, CEO and founder of Emerald Broadband. “As a local public benefit corporation with a mission to bring sustainable connectivity to communities traditionally neglected by major telecommunications companies, we’re ready to get to work bringing fiber to these communities at a time when internet is the key to education, healthcare, and vital information.”

Business Oregon’s Rural Broadband Capacity Program awarded the $10,000,000 to a total of 24 projects across the state. The award to Emerald Broadband is the largest of the individual awards. The project must be completed by December 30, 2020. Emerald Broadband already planned to complete this service expansion, but it was initially expected to take close to two years to complete. “With this injection of funds, we can move quickly to complete this project,” says Hardman.

Emerald Broadband’s project will provide households with low-latency dedicated fiber connections, which are expected to last for 50 or more years. “It’s the best connection to the internet that you could ever have,” says Emerald Broadband Systems Engineer Ben Shapiro. “There is nothing better.”

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