Greg Walden Announces $67.6 Million to Expand Rural Broadband in Oregon

September 5, 2019
Press Release

Representative Greg Walden (R-Hood River) released the following statement after the Federal Communications Commission authorized $67.7 million for rural broadband in Oregon over the next 10 years for rural broadband. These funds will support Oregon for the next decade by helping to maintain, improve, and expand affordable broadband for rural Oregonians. Ten counties in Oregon will receive funding, nine of which are in the Second District, including, Baker, Gilliam, Grant, Jefferson, Malheur, Morrow, Wallowa, Wasco, and Wheeler.

“Expanding access to rural broadband in Oregon brings us closer to narrowing the urban/rural digital divide and ushers rural Oregonians into the 21st Century,” said Walden. “There are still too many Oregonians who lack access to reliable broadband internet service and thus access to things like telemedicine, remote learning, next generation emergency services, and video streaming because of insufficient Internet service. I am grateful that the FCC recognizes the need to expand rural broadband in Oregon. I look forward to continuing to work alongside Chairman Pai and my colleagues in Congress to ensure all Americans are connected to high speed broadband.”

The funding Oregon received is part of a larger national authorization of $4.9 billion across 39 states and the American Samoa. In return for the support the FCC is offering, carriers must maintain, improve, and expand broadband through their service area.

In his statement, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said these funds will help 4,700 homes and small businesses in Oregon and help close the digital divide.

“Our action today will help close the digital divide and is a win-win for rural Americans and taxpayers, including nearly 4,700 homes and small businesses in Oregon,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. “Carriers get the predictable support they need to deliver broadband to their customers in these high-cost rural areas.  And taxpayers, who fund this support through a fee on their phone bills, are getting more bang for their buck.”

Walden invited Chairman Pai to eastern Oregon last year to discuss efforts to improve connectivity in rural communities, including making sure patients in remote areas have access to the best doctors through technology like telehealth.

Walden continues to partner with Chairman Pai and the FCC to expand broadband infrastructure to rural communities in Oregon, which is a priority for Representative Walden. Walden led the effort to pass the RAY BAUM’S Act into law, which reauthorized the FCC and gave the agency additional tools to enhance broadband expansion.