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High-Speed Internet Coming To Downtown Eugene

Brian Bull

A $3 million fiber network project for downtown Eugene was announced today.  As KLCC's Brian Bull reports, it’s hoped that the development will boost commerce and communications significantly.  

Eugene Mayor Lucy Vinis and EWEB’s General Manager, Frank Lawson, plugged in two halves of a fiber cable, which turned a bright, glowing blue.

The ceremony – held in Eugene’s first high-rise, the Miner Building – was attended by city and utility officials, as well as regional internet companies.  

The Eugene City Council approved the plan last year.  It will use EWEB’s existing electrical conduit system, alleviating construction costs.  EWEB’s Frank Lawson says there are further benefits. 

“Up to a hundred buildings roughly can be interconnected to an exchange which is located downtown," he tells KLCC.  

"Internet Service Providers can then provide competition for services that will connect local businesses with either Portland or San Francisco, and thus the rest of the internet.” 

Credit Brian Bull / KLCC
Attendees clap at the announcement of a high-speed internet system being installed across the downtown area.

It’s hoped that a federal grant will cover most of the expense.  EWEB, the City of Eugene, and the Lane Council of Governments will build the publicly-owned fiber network.  A Technology Association of Oregon representative says completion will take 18 months. 

Brian Bull joined the KLCC News Team in June 2016. In his 25+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional), the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.