Comcast Expanding Broadband Service to Rural Oregon
Comcast Oregon/SW Washington has embarked on a $15 million project to extend its broadband products and services, both residential and business, to the communities of Hubbard and Woodburn, Oregon.
Construction has already begun on the project, with fiber backbone to these communities now in place.
Hubbard will be the first area to receive service, with customers likely able to come online in September.
Service to Woodburn will be accomplished in phases and is expected to begin in December of this year with completion forecast for the end of 2022.
Once completed, both communities will have access to Xfinity Internet, delivering speeds of 50 megabits per second (Mbps) up to 1.2 gigabits per second (Gbps) for residential customers and up to 10 Gbps for business customers.
“We are actively working to fill in some of the holes in our service area map, particularly in some of the more rural areas of the mid-Willamette Valley, and we’re eyeing expansions into additional communities adjacent to our footprint” said David Tashjian, regional senior vice president of Comcast Oregon/SW Washington.
The reach into unserved areas is part of a years-long effort to provide the often life-changing power of broadband to communities and their residents who have thus far been left behind by the technology revolution.
“Over the past three years, we have spent more than $510 million in Oregon/SW Washington to maintain and upgrade our network, help local charities, and keep children connected during school closures,” Tashjian said.
Hubbard Mayor Charles Rostocil is bullish on Comcast bringing more choices to the residents of his community.
“Internet connectivity is not a utility, thank goodness, so our residents get the opportunity for competition. Competition drives innovation which will incentivize companies like Comcast to constantly seek ways to improve the technology and service they offer to their customers,” he said.
Rostocil says the City of Hubbard has fewer retail businesses than Woodburn, for example, but it does have a strong industrial base, and Comcast Business offers the services they’re looking for.
“What I hear from our industrial folks is that they want steady, reliable internet connections,” he said.
Woodburn Mayor Eric Swenson says internet access has become an essential service. “The critical role of the internet in our homes and the need for robust, reliable connectivity for distance-learning has been highlighted by the pandemic. People are always clamoring for choices and Comcast will offer the citizens of Woodburn an exciting new option.”
“That is great news!” was the immediate response from John Zobrist, executive director of the Woodburn Area Chamber of Commerce, upon hearing the news that Comcast will be providing service there.
“That’s fantastic. It will give our local businesses a new option.” Zobrist says the community is actively growing.
“We have 120 acres of industrial land available for development right now due to the recent expansion of the urban growth boundary. In addition, there are over 750 new homes being built and over 2,000 units of multi-family apartments and condos approved or underway. The expansion of industrial space and housing will drive additional business growth, as well.”
Along with its products and services, Comcast will bring its Community Impact programs to Woodburn and Hubbard through its decade-old Internet Essentials program. Swenson sees that as a benefit to his residents, calling Comcast’s commitment to supporting the needs of the community “impressive.”
“We have hard-working, but still economically challenged families here in Woodburn, and programs aimed at helping low-income families who’ve struggled to afford internet access are very welcome.”
Earlier this year, Comcast announced a $1 billion commitment over 10 years in continued support of digital equity, including its Lift Zones initiative, which aims to establish WiFi-connected safe spaces in 1,000+ community centers nationwide for students and adults by the end of 2021.
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