Regional Fiber Consortium Background and Information

The Regional Fiber Consortium (RFC) is a public entity formed under Oregon Revised Statutes Chapter 190. Members of the organization include cities, counties, or other public entities allowed under the statute and as determined appropriate by the Consortium board.

The Regional Fiber Consortium was the first fiber consortium formed as the local governments of the area of central Oregon began developing a plan for fiber access to rural communities. The Fiber South Consortium was the second and largest of the fiber consortia formed as the local governments of the area of western central Oregon began developing a plan for fiber access to rural communities. In return for permitting assistance and an exchange in lieu of right-of-way fees that would otherwise have been charged by the Consortia member cities, the Consortia accumulated control through an irrevocable right of use (IRU) of 12 strands of optical fiber running from Merrill to Salem, and from the Trans-Pacific fiber landing site near Bandon north and east to Eugene and Coburg.

In August 2007, the Regional Fiber Consortium and Fiber South Consortium agreed to merge under the name Regional Fiber Consortium. The active membership of the Consortium now includes Florence, Veneta, Eugene, Springfield, Lowell, Westfir, Oakridge, Creswell, Cottage Grove, Drain, Klamath Falls, Merrill, and Lane County. The Consortium is guided by an Executive Committee, composed of Faye Stewart, Chair (Lane County); Carl Patenode, vice chair (Drain); Pam Berrian (Eugene); Terri Leezer (Springfield) [Len Goodwin alternate]; Rick Whitlock (Klamath Falls); Richard Meyers (Cottage Grove); and Don Hampton (Oakridge).

The goal of the RFC is to improve broadband opportunities for all residents, businesses, and governments in the four county area of Coos, Douglas, Klamath, and Lane counties.

The strategies pursued to achieve the goal include:

  1. The acquisition of a fiber backbone that is as extensive as possible throughout the four county area, and the use of this fiber backbone to facilitate telecommunications service providers developing broadband connectivity, especially in the small cities and rural areas of the RFC region.
  2. Promoting open access and the development of competitive broadband services wherever possible.
  3. Providing assistance to any entity working on improving broadband services in the four county area.

The RFC has implemented its goal and strategies by:

  1. Leasing dark fiber to competitive local exchange carriers at below market rates to facilitate the extension of broadband services to areas of the RFC region.
  2. Applying for and facilitating other applications for grant funds to construct fiber optic laterals and install equipment to facilitate the development of broadband services in the four county area.
  3. Providing technical assistance and information to any entity seeking to improve broadband services.

The Consortium has facilitated connectivity and the development of broadband services in several parts of the region. Connections between Klamath Falls and northern California have been made possible by Consortium fiber. Connections between Eugene, Albany, Corvallis, Salem, and Portland have all occurred through the use of Consortium fiber. Connectivity between Cottage Grove, Creswell, Pleasant Hill, and Eugene; between Roseburg, Yoncalla, Drain, and Eugene; between Junction City and Eugene; and for the incumbent local provider in Drain and Yoncalla have all been improved through the use of the Consortium fiber.