Eugene Company Awarded $1.5 Million From CARES Act For Rural Internet
Eugene-based company, Emerald Broadband, was awarded $1.5 million of CARES Act funds as part of Business Oregon’s Rural Broadband Capacity Program. The grant money was awarded to finish an existing program in Western Lane County.
The project, based in the Fern Ridge and Cheshire areas, is focussed on replacing outdated infrastructure. The new system will use fiber optics which will last at least 50 years and keep up with future technology advances.
According to Systems Engineer Ben Shapiro, the biggest hurdle for the project is how long it takes to acquire materials.
“We’re using this grant money to accelerate the first deployment of fiber, but we are not stopping,” said Ben. “We are going to continue to mesh in communities out there.”
Currently, 28 households are connected to the system with the hope of expanding to about 2,500. Community services like schools, fire stations and granges will also be connected.
The grant mandates the project be completed by the end of this December - a year ahead of the original timeline.