Fiber Internet to Light Up Downtown Eugene, Oregon

  • Eugene Water and Electric Board (EWEB)
  • Technology Association of Oregon (TAO)
EUGENE, OR — The city of Eugene, the Eugene Water and Electric Board (EWEB), and the Lane Council of Governments (LCOG), with support from the Technology Association of Oregon (TAO), are moving forward with construction of the publicly owned fiber network that will connect about 120 downtown Eugene buildings.

This economic development project builds on the success of a two-year pilot, which brought fiber to seven downtown buildings. The pilot demonstrated the benefits of the publicly owned fiber network, partnered with private providers. Consumers are now able to choose from several ISPs, who are offering faster speeds at significantly lower prices than before the pilot in downtown Eugene. “We have already begun to see the positive impacts of having access to world-class internet in our community. The expansion of the fiber network will be a catalyst for the creation of local high-wage jobs, and will spur economic development opportunities around the region,” said Lucy Vinis, Eugene Mayor.

Funding from Eugene’s Downtown Urban Renewal District
Funding for the project comes primarily from Eugene’s Downtown Urban Renewal District. In 2016, the Eugene City Council approved a plan amendment that made fiber installation within the Downtown District eligible for up to $3 million of urban renewal funds. The fiber network will be constructed by the City, LCOG, and EWEB, and will be owned by the public. Private ISPs will lease the fiber strands from EWEB and then provide services to individual businesses within the service area. Any qualified ISP can lease the fiber— it is an open-access network.

The City of Eugene, Lane County, LCOG and TAO also partnered to purchase two fiber backbone connections to significant Internet points of presence in San Jose and Portland and plan to sublease them to any Internet service providers who want to provide retail services. This investment supercharges all of the existing publicly owned fiber in our region, connecting our schools and rural communities.

Beginning in March, the City of Eugene will take construction orders from downtown building owners through their website at Construction of the downtown network will begin in the spring and is expected to last 18 months.


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