Wyden, Merkley: $1.8 Million to Grant County to Increase Broadband Connectivity

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley this week announced that the City of John Day has earned a $1.8 million CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to increase broadband connectivity in Grant County.

“Reliable broadband is essential infrastructure for Eastern Oregon, just like the Rural Electrification Act opened new opportunities across the nation nearly a century ago,” said Wyden, who supported the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act which included $65 billion to expand broadband to more rural, remote and low-income communities. “This federal investment in fast, dependable internet and a coworking space from the COVID relief package will allow Grant County to take a solid step toward connecting Oregonians to remote work, distance education and homework, telemedicine and more as we build more robust broadband connections for communities in every nook and cranny of our state.”

“High-speed internet is a critical need in today’s connected world, especially in our recovery from COVID-19, but also in supporting continued economic development in rural communities,” said Merkley. “I am pleased this federal funding is heading to the John Day and Canyon City region to bring enhancements to broadband infrastructure. This funding will create and retain jobs to support business, education, and underserved communities, all while strengthening the region’s economy.” 

This project will support community broadband enhancements in the cities of John Day and Canyon City, as well as the acquisition of a coworking space for use by small businesses, distance learners, and residents without reliable broadband service.

“The lack of high speed internet has become a deterrent to economic growth and recovery in John Day by restricting opportunities for job creation and business expansion. With this award, they can now compete for businesses and residents who depend on the Internet for their employment,” said John Day City Manager Nicholas Green. “By funding this project, we’re helping provide internet access to over one fifth of John Day’s residents that lack access today, helping to permanently close the digital divide in this rural-frontier community.”

A web version of this release is here.