Municipal Broadband Fiber-to-the-Premises Feasibility Study Final Report
What is municipal broadband?
Municipal broadband is high speed internet that is provided entirely, or in part, by local governments. Publicly owned internet, like public utilities, can ensure everyone has access regardless of where they live or what they earn.
Why are communities exploring municipal broadband?
A digital divide currently exists in most communities, including Multnomah County. Research has found that 15 percent of Portland-area households do not have internet access at home. For households earning under $30,000, that percentage goes up to 18 percent. For people who are over age 65, it’s 28 percent and for Hispanic households it’s 30 percent.
Municipal broadband can greatly increase the number of people who have access to high speed Internet. But it can also boost economic development, provide opportunities for better civic engagement, and introduce modern applications, such as telehealth, to traditionally underserved populations.
Project Scope: Feasibility Study
Multnomah County undertook this initiative to explore the opportunities of a municipal broadband network in partnership with the cities of Fairview, Gresham, Portland, Troutdale, and Wood Village. This alliance of local government organizations is tasked with completing a feasibility study to understand the possibilities and potential for a shared broadband system.
The study was conducted from 2019 to 2020 by a qualified third party vendor, CTC Technology & Energy, and was influenced by the knowledge and cultural perspectives brought forward by the participating entities.
The feasibility study, completed in September 2020, addresses the digital divide, digital equity, resident/business user privacy, and provides models for an innovative “digital infrastructure” platform for future expansion.
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