Municipal Broadband

Municipal Broadband Fiber-to-the-Premises Feasibility Study Final Report

Click the following link to download the  Municipal Broadband Feasibility Study Final Report (12.11 MB)

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 has undertaken the initiative to explore the opportunities of a municipal broadband network in partnership with the cities of Portland, Troutdale, Gresham, Wood Village, and Fairview.  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 will be conducted by a qualified third party vendor, CTC Technology & Energy, but will be influenced by the knowledge and cultural perspectives brought forward by the participating entities.  

The County anticipates the feasibility study to address the digital divide, digital equity, factor in resident/business user privacy, explore the creation of family-wage jobs, highlight economic opportunities, and provide models for an innovative “digital infrastructure” platform for future expansion.

Related Articles

What States Can Do to Improve Broadband Access, Carl Smith, Dustin Haisler, Governing, March 5, 2020

San Jose Fund Set to Pay Out First Round of Broadband Grants, Skip Descant, Government Technology, February 12, 2020

Governors Commit to Broadband as Critical Infrastructure in State of the States, Government Technology Staff, Governing, February 7, 2020

The Dos and Don'ts of Community Broadband Network Planning, Jed Pressgrove, Government Technology, October 2, 2019

Pasadena, Calif., Uses Fiber Network to Monitor Earthquakes, Lucas Ropek, Government Technology,  December 20, 2019

Minority Broadband Initiative Aims to Connect Rural America, Jed Pressgrove, Government Technology, December 2, 2019

Upgrades Are Making Peculiar, Mo., into a Smart Small City, Skip Descant, Government Technology, November 26, 2019

Shared costs make broadband happen, Charlie Ban, National Association of Counties, November 22, 2019

New Hampshire Bill Will Allow Multi-Town Broadband System, Jed Pressgrove, Government Technology, November 13, 2019

Investing in Digital Equity: The Case for Broadband Expansion, Jed Pressgrove, Government Technology, October 25, 2019

Portland-area municipal broadband study group kicks off, Malia Spencer, Portland Business Journal, October 21, 2019

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