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Hillsboro expanding municipal fiber network to serve entire community

(MGN)

HILLSBORO, Ore. – Hillsboro says it will expand its existing city-owned municipal fiber network to provide affordable high-speed internet access to its residents, businesses and nonprofits.

The fiber network currently serves city buildings, schools, local government organizations and traffic signals. But soon, it will serve residents in their homes.

The expansion will target two areas: Southwest Hillsboro/Shute Park and South Hillsboro.

City officials say Southwest Hillsboro has the greatest need for the affordable internet service because it is the lowest-income area of Hillsboro. The city hopes to begin installing municipal internet service to the area by summer 2019.

South Hillsboro is a new development. It is the largest, master-planned neighborhood in Oregon history. They city is seizing the opportunity to install the fiber network infrastructure as the area is developed.

“Building out the network at such an early stage in the neighborhood’s development presents the greatest potential cost efficiency of any area,” the city said in a press release.

The city will begin installing the fiber network in in the South Hillsboro neighborhood by spring 2019.

Hillsboro is looking beyond these two neighborhoods. They’re exploring opportunities to expand the service to the rest of the city.

It will be a 10-year rollout, but the conduits and infrastructure are now in place.

Mayor Steve Callaway says the system will help bridge the digital divide.

“Right now we have kids who go home at the end of every day who aren’t able to access the internet for their homework, for their school, learning projects and things like that,” he said. “So this makes sure that all of our residents have, whether they are low-income or not, have access to internet.”

The city estimates the flat-rate cost of the internet access will be about $50 per month. Low-income households are eligible to only pay $10 per month.

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