BTOP Grant Information
Since its formation, the Regional Fiber Consortium has worked to facilitate access to broadband, high-speed fiber optic facilities for communities throughout the three-county region of Lane, Douglas, and Klamath counties. With its 10-year vision firmly in place, the Consortium joined with the Lane Council of Governments (LCOG) to apply for federal grant money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, better known as ARRA or the stimulus bill. The awarding of the Broadband Technology Opportunity Program (BTOP) grant for broadband improvements throughout the three-county region makes clear the benefits of this portion of the stimulus bill. BTOP is a program of the US Department of Commerce National Telecommunications and Information Agency, who awarded the grant to LCOG.
The “middle mile” project made possible by the BTOP grant is designed to bring broadband at needed speeds to community anchor institutions in unserved and underserved anchor institutions in the three-county region. The grant was awarded to the LCOG in February 2010, after working closely with the Regional Fiber Consortium to make the grant application possible. A Eugene Register Guard (download PDF) editorial concisely and eloquently described the benefits of this project.
The project will bring broadband services to 111 community anchor institutions, ranging from the Klamath Tribal Medical Clinic in Chiloquin to the new police headquarters in the City of Eugene. Other anchor institutions include school buildings, entire school districts, libraries, community service centers housing social service agencies, hospitals, and fire districts (some of whom provide ambulance services). The project will also construct an interconnection facility in Eugene, where local service providers will be able to directly exchange signals, avoiding the delays of the internet for large files, and where local service providers will have several options to connect to the internet.
An important goal of the project is not only to spend money in ways that increases employment, but also to make investments that will build a foundation for lasting recovery. By the end of 2012, the grant will bring high-speed broadband connections to anchor institutions in Coburg, Cottage Grove, Eugene, Florence, Junction City, Lowell, Oakridge, Springfield, Veneta, Drain, Sutherlin, Winston, Riddle, Myrtle Creek, Days Creek, Chemult, Chiloquin, and Klamath Falls.