Salem, OR—Governor Kate Brown today appeared before the Joint Subcommittee on Transportation and Economic Development to urge her support for investments in expanding broadband access statewide. The Governor's Recommended Budget proposes an $118 million investment, with a focus on providing broadband access to underserved communities that have been disproportionately impacted during the pandemic; ensuring every school across Oregon is connected; and connecting 50 additional communities statewide.
"In today’s increasingly digital world, access to broadband is no longer a luxury — it is an absolute necessity," said Governor Brown. "The internet has become the platform on which the world works, and broadband connectivity is becoming the universal common denominator — important and essential for all sectors of the economy, especially at a time when remote work is becoming more widely adopted.
"Broadband also opens up digital learning opportunities, brings the latest developments in science and technology into classrooms across Oregon; and makes knowledge accessible. And regardless of income level or zip code, the pandemic has demonstrated that every child must have access to broadband internet connections and digital learning devices for learning purposes.
"While we have made progress in deploying broadband infrastructure throughout the state in recent years, it is not enough. We have much more work to do to ensure equitable and reliable access across the entire state.
"The investments we make today with state dollars will have a lasting impact for years to come, and set us on track to further close the digital divide when additional federal dollars become available."
A copy of the Governor's prepared testimony is available here
, and a letter of support from the Broadband Caucus is available here
A recording of today's committee hearing is available on the Oregon Legislature's website