REMARKS AS PREPARED
Governor Kate Brown
Broadband Access Bill Signing
April 27, 2018
I am here today to sign HB 4023, which will increase broadband access. It will open up digital learning opportunities. It will bring the latest developments in science and technology into classrooms across Oregon. It’s a big step forward in making sure that our students have the tools they need to forge a path to graduation and their plans for the future.
The internet makes knowledge accessible, and that access needs to be as reliable for students in Elgin as it is in Eugene.
Today, too many rural schools in our state rely on a fragile technology infrastructure. With the passage of this bill and the fast fiber connections it supports, we are changing that.
In Oregon, we want to make sure that the internet and our classrooms help create equity, instead of exacerbating an urban-rural divide.
So far this year, nine districts in Oregon are applying for over $400,000 from this fund. Through federal match funding, that will bring over $6 million in broadband investment to rural Oregon. That’s a 15 to 1 return on our investment of state dollars.
That’s a really great ROI, but so is this: 100 miles of fiber optic cable, and thousands of hours of instructional time for thousands of students. The return cannot be measured—it is priceless.
We wouldn’t be here today without our educators, like those here in InterMountain Education Service District. I want to say particular thanks to Superintendent Mark Mulvihill. Thank you for your advocacy and partnership with the Department of Education, EducationSuperHighway, broadband service providers, and the tireless efforts of Representative Pam Marsh and Representative Nancy Nathanson.
Your dedication and hard work could move mountains. Luckily, with over 100 miles of new fiber optic cable on the way, you don’t have to.
We have a long road ahead to expand digital learning, and we will continue to fight for it, but today we’ve taken a giant step.