Oregonians could see their cell phone bills go up to raise money for expanding rural high-speed internet.

Legislators are considering a surcharge on wireless calls to raise $10 million a year that utilities could use for internet projects in rural Oregon. The average cell phone user could see an increase of $4 to $8 a year. The surcharge would apply only to calls within the state and also cover voice-over-internet protocols.

The state created a special fund in 1999 to push telecommunications technology into rural areas. The idea is that all customers would help pay for services that are more expensive to provide in sparsely populated rural communities.

PMG/EO MEDIA/SRThe critical telecom service used to be landlines. Now, it’s the internet. According to a December report from the U.S. Census Bureau, rural areas of the country trail in their access to broadband.

In 2016, 64 percent of rural Oregonians lived in areas where they could access broadband speeds, while 98 percent of Oregonians in urban areas could, according to the Federal Communications Commission.

In rural areas of Sherman, Gilliam and Harney counties, the share of residents who have access to broadband was in the single digits. No rural residents in Wheeler County had access to broadband, according to the FCC data.

A greater share of rural Oregonians — about 95 percent — had high-speed internet access through cell phones, although that access varies widely between counties as well.

Some say the gap in accessibility to fixed broadband — high-speed internet you can access on a computer or multiple computers at home, school or at work — cuts off rural areas from economic opportunities.
A D V E R T I S I N G | Continue reading below

Riding the Lightwave

About 15 years ago, businesses, schools and local government in Tillamook County were clamoring for faster internet, according to David Yamamoto, a Tillamook County commissioner, who testified at a legislative hearing this week. They didn’t want to wait for a commercial company to decide the county of about 26,000 people was a viable market.

Locals created Tillamook Lightwave, a partnership between the Port of Tillamook Bay, Tillamook County and the Tillamook People’s Utility District, to provide affordable broadband service.

“We have more cows than we do people in the county,” Yamamoto said. “Cows, fortunately, don’t use the internet. But our schools, and hospitals and businesses absolutely do.”

While businesses and government agencies have access now, many homes in the county still don’t have high-speed internet, said Yamamoto. He also serves on the Oregon Broadband Advisory Council.

Under House Bill 2184, legislation championed by state Rep. Pam Marsh, D-Ashland, a partnership like Tillamook Lightwave could apply to the state for money raised by the cell phone surcharge. The proposal is one effort by state officials to bridge the so-called “digital divide” between rural and urban communities.

Oregonians ought to see their cellular phone bills pass up to elevate cash for expanding rural high-velocity internet.

Legislators are considering a surcharge on wireless calls to raise $10 million a 12 months that utilities could use for internet initiatives in rural Oregon. The average mobile phone person should see an increase of $four to $eight a yr. The surcharge might observe handiest to calls inside the nation and additionally cover voice-over-internet protocols.

The country created a special fund in 1999 to push telecommunications era into rural areas. The concept is that every one clients might help pay for services that are greater pricey to offer in in moderation populated rural communities.

PMG/EO MEDIA/SRThe vital telecom carrier used to be landlines. Now, it is the internet. According to a December document from the U.S. Census Bureau, rural regions of the united states trail in their get admission to to broadband.

In 2016, 64 percent of rural Oregonians lived in areas wherein they may get admission to broadband speeds, at the same time as ninety eight percentage of Oregonians in city areas should, in step with the Federal Communications Commission.

In rural areas of Sherman, Gilliam and Harney counties, the share of residents who’ve get entry to to broadband became within the unmarried digits. No rural citizens in Wheeler County had get right of entry to to broadband, in step with the FCC statistics.

A greater proportion of rural Oregonians — approximately ninety five percentage — had high-velocity net get right of entry to thru mobile phones, despite the fact that that get right of entry to varies widely among counties as properly.

Some say the distance in accessibility to fixed broadband — excessive-velocity internet you may access on a laptop or multiple computers at home, school or at work — cuts off rural areas from economic opportunities Continue studying underneath

Riding the Lightwave

About 15 years in the past, groups, faculties and neighborhood government in Tillamook County have been clamoring for faster net, in line with David Yamamoto, a Tillamook County commissioner, who testified at a legislative hearing this week. They didn’t want to look forward to a commercial corporation to determine the county of approximately 26,000 human beings become a possible marketplace.

Locals created Tillamook Lightwave, a partnership among the Port of Tillamook Bay, Tillamook County and the Tillamook People’s Utility District, to provide affordable broadband carrier.

“We have greater cows than we do human beings in the county,” Yamamoto said. “Cows, happily, don’t use the net. But our colleges, and hospitals and companies definitely do.”

While businesses and government agencies have get right of entry to now, many homes inside the county nonetheless do not have excessive-speed net, said Yamamoto. He additionally serves at the Oregon Broadband Advisory Council.

Under House Bill 2184, rules championed via kingdom Rep. Pam Marsh, D-Ashland, a partnership like Tillamook Lightwave could practice to the state for cash raised by means of the cellular telephone surcharge. The suggestion is one effort by way of nation officers to bridge the so-referred to as “virtual divide” among rural and urban communities.

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