While it is known that a digital divide exists in Oregon, that divide cannot be successfully addressed without understanding the underlying conditions that prevent or deter Oregonians from accessing broadband service and utilizing the array of applications it offers from which they can benefit. Oregon has broadband infrastructure and service availability that reflects prior economic factors and current market dynamics; this means broadband exists where high demand is concentrated or subsidies have been available. It is critical for Oregon to understand those conditions or options that will enable or encourage more institutions, businesses and individuals to access and use broadband, and that will support the expansion of broadband providers' service areas.
The US Congress enacted legislation called the Broadband Data Improvement Act (BDIA) in 2008 to improve the quality of Federal and State data regarding the availability and quality of broadband services and to promote the deployment of broadband services to all parts of the Nation. The Congress found:
(1) The deployment and adoption of broadband technology has resulted in enhanced economic development and public safety for communities across the Nation, improved health care and educational opportunities, and a better quality of life for all Americans.
(2) Continued progress in the deployment and adoption of broadband technology is vital to ensuring that our Nation remains competitive and continues to create business and job growth.
(3) Improving Federal data on the deployment and adoption of broadband service will assist in the development of broadband technology across all regions of the Nation.
(4) The Federal Government should also recognize and encourage complementary State efforts to improve the quality and usefulness of broadband data and should encourage and support the partnership of the public and private sectors in the continued growth of broadband services and information technology for the residents and businesses of the Nation.
The premise for identifying broadband services is found in Section 106. (b) ESTABLISHMENT OF STATE BROADBAND DATA AND DEVELOPMENT GRANT PROGRAM.—
(1) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary of Commerce shall award grants, taking into account the results of the peer review process under subsection (d), to eligible entities for the development and implementation of statewide initiatives to identify and track the availability and adoption of broadband services within each State.
In February 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funded Section 6001, The Broadband Technology Opportunities Program ("Program") with $4.7 billion provided to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) in consultation with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Under this Program the NTIA was allocated $350 million to fund the State Broadband Data and Development (SBDD) Grant Program authorized by the BDIA and to support the collection of comprehensive and accurate state-level broadband mapping data, the development of state-level broadband maps, and the development and maintenance of a nationwide broadband map for use by policymakers and consumers The SBDD is now referred to a the State Broadband Initiative (SBI).
The SBDD is a competitive, merit-based matching grant program that effects the joint purposes of the Recovery Act and the BDIA by funding projects that collect comprehensive and accurate state-level broadband mapping data, develop state-level broadband maps, aid in the development and maintenance of a national broadband map, and fund statewide initiatives directed at broadband planning.
In July 2009, the NTIA released its Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA) for SBDD Grant Program. "Awardees under this Program will receive grants to fund their collection of broadband-related data as well as funding for planning programs at the state level. Awardees will use the broadband-related data that they collect to develop statewide broadband maps, which will be linked to a Department of Commerce webpage. In addition, the awardees will submit all of their collected data to NTIA for use by NTIA and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in developing and maintaining the national broadband map, which will be displayed on an NTIA webpage before February 17, 2011."
Eligible Applicants: Pursuant to the BDIA, eligible recipients of SBDD Program grants are:
(a) Entities that are either (i) an agency or instrumentality of a state, or a municipality or other subdivision (or agency or instrumentality of a municipality or other subdivision) of a state; (ii) a nonprofit organization that is described in Section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and that is exempt from taxation under Section 501(a) of such Code; or (iii) an independent agency or commission in which an office of a State is a member on behalf of the State; and
(b) The single eligible entity in the State that has been designated by the State to receive a grant under this section.
Governor Kulongoski selected the Public Utility Commission (PUC) of Oregon as the single eligible entity to receive SBDD grant funding. The Department of Administrative Services released a request for proposal (RFP) on behalf of the PUC and the SBDD project. The PUC's Telecom Division in conjunction with Oregon's Enterprise Information Strategy & Policy Division and Oregon's Business Development Department selected the contractor, One Economy to perform as a vendor the Program requirements contained in the NOFA.
The PUC submitted its application in August 2009. The NOFA required that successful applicant projects must propose:
a) To provide comprehensive and verifiable data meeting the Program standards as published in this Notice, such data will be accessible and clearly presented to NTIA, the public, and state and local governments without unduly compromising data or the protection of Confidential Information as defined in this notice;
(b) A workable and sustainable framework for repeated updating of data;
(c) A plan for collaboration with state-level agencies, local authorities, and other constituencies, as well as a proposal for planning projects designed to identify and address broadband challenges in the state;
(d) Feasible projects as demonstrated by a reasonable and cost-efficient budget, and a showing of applicant capacity, knowledge and experience; and
(e) A timeline for expedient data delivery.
The NTIA award Oregon $2.1 million in December 2009. This $2.1 million grant funds Oregon's two year broadband data gathering and mapping efforts and broadband planning initiatives.
In May of 2010, the NTIA allowed SBDD awardees to apply for supplemental grants that support continued data collection and mapping for an additional three years and other projects that support other program purposes. Oregon's supplemental award of $3.55 million supports continued mapping through 2014 for $1.77 million. The remaining $1.78 million funds projects for broadband application usage and development, broadband technical assistance and broadband capacity building within Oregon.
The Oregon Broadband Map includes:
(a) Geographic areas in which broadband service is available;
(b) The technologies used to provide broadband service in such areas;
(c) The spectrum used for the provision of wireless broadband service in such areas;
(d) The speeds at which broadband service is available in such areas; and
(e) Broadband service availability at community anchor institution such as public schools, libraries, hospitals, colleges and universities, medical/health care, and public safety entities.
For more details on the data being collection and processed for use in the map and how the maps depicts the information collect please read the answers in the Frequently Asked Questions link on the index provided at the left of this page.