DeFazio, Wyden, Merkley Secure Funds for Public High-Speed Fiber Network in Downtown Eugene

EUGENE—Representative Peter DeFazio (OR-04), along with Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley (D-OR), today announced the award of a federal grant to the City of Eugene to construct a publicly-owned high-speed network in the city’s downtown corridor.

The funds, totaling nearly $2 million, come from an Economic Development Administration grant and will pay for the installation of fiber-optic cable to deliver high-speed Internet service to businesses located in Eugene’s Central Business District. The project is anticipated to create more than 200 jobs, with the potential to generate over $12 million in annual wages.

In addition, this funding helps to support rural fiber extension across Lane County, paving the way for low-cost high-speed internet throughout Oregon’s Fourth Congressional district.

“Eugene’s downtown is a rapidly-growing technology center and home to a wide variety of businesses—all of which depend on high-speed internet access” said Rep. Peter DeFazio. “Such economic engines cannot flourish without the proper Internet infrastructure needed to conduct business in today’s world.  This project will bring significant economic development to Eugene’s downtown and draw innovators to the area. I am excited for the opportunities this grant provides and look forward to seeing downtown Eugene flourish with this new infrastructure.”

“I am gratified that Eugene has earned this funding that will generate both jobs and improved infrastructure for the local economy,” said Senator Ron Wyden. “I have strongly supported this fiber-optic cable project in Eugene’s central business district because it exemplifies the Oregon way of finding common-sense solutions that provide broad community benefits.”

“In this day and age, technological infrastructure is just as important to economic development as roads, bridges and railways,” said Senator Jeff Merkley. “This grant will put Eugene on the leading edge of high-speed internet access, helping to spur new economic growth and job creation.”

“This is great news for our city and our region,” said Eugene Mayor Lucy Vinis. “The City’s partnership with Eugene Water and Electric Board (EWEB), the Lane Council of Governments (LCOG), and the Technology Association of Oregon (TAO) along with the support of the EDA has made the Downtown Eugene Fiber Network a reality that is strengthening Eugene’s downtown Innovation District and setting our city apart by creating opportunities for local businesses to grow and compete in the global market.”

“Greater Eugene is nurturing a growing industry of over 400 tech companies. This grant award will help the community realize its vision to be one of the best places in the country for internet access, supporting robust and sustainable job growth. We are celebrating this win today in part because of the terrific advocacy we have received from our elected federal officials. Thank you Senator Ron Wyden, Senator Jeff Merkley, and Congressman Peter DeFazio” said Matt Sayre, Director of the Technology Association of Oregon.