by Michael Wynschenk
CEO, Hunter Communications
In Oregon, too many of us are using 2001 internet technology while paying 2021 prices.
The services are too slow, data caps are in place, rates change annually, and the internet connections are not stable.
Others don’t have access to internet at all, especially in our rural communities. And the poor internet that is available in too many places in our more rural areas creates challenges to keep and attract new businesses, while too many recent high school and college graduates are leaving their hometowns to find jobs outside the state.
The bottom line is that Oregonians are paying too much and not getting enough internet. I have yet to meet a person who wants slower internet for more money or who likes annual price increases, data caps, or automated customer service.
But there is hope. Many people in Oregon may be unaware that there is a lot of money on the table to provide faster internet at a lower price.
Much of the money will come from the recently passed national Infrastructure Bill that will help fund faster internet, especially in rural communities. This bill will help enable state, county, and local leaders in Oregon to determine the best way to fix the internet speed gap in our communities.
Additionally, there are some internet providers like Hunter Communications who will continue to provide fiber internet to homes and businesses without government funding. At Hunter, we see the value of providing our friends, family, and neighborhoods with a faster, more reliable fiber internet connection at a fixed price without contracts or any data caps.
The future of internet for all is certainly bright if the right strategies are selected and executed. Hunter Communications believes the funding coming into the state should be prioritized as follows:
1. Public-Private Partnerships
A thoughtful approach engaging Oregon’s internet providers working collaboratively with community leaders to build the best available internet service for all, while charging users affordable rates without having to pay for routers required in the home.
2. Investments in Training Skilled Workers
Oregon needs to become the hub of Fiber Internet technology delivery–how to design, build, and maintain our fiber that powers our homes and businesses. Who better to manage our networks and deliver service to us all than the people who live in our communities? Trained and skilled Oregonians need to be doing this work because a quality service experience matters.
3. Future Ready Internet
We believe that wired residential internet connections should meet a required minimum of 100 Mbps / 100 Mbps. The ability to increase these speeds 10x as desired by customers should be available by flipping a switch. Anything less would be like building a new home with only one electrical outlet in each room.
4. Support Remote Learning
Our classroom teachers should be properly equipped to teach remotely from their homes, using Pandemic proof internet with the fastest available speeds for $25 or less per month. These speeds would be up to 1 Gig, generally recognized as the fastest home internet available.
Hunter is proud of the progress we have made since the beginning of the pandemic, providing affordable fiber internet with no data caps, price for life, and free router for the thousands of homes now able to use our services while continuing to provide award winning internet for businesses throughout Southern Oregon.
We remain committed to lead the journey of ensuring there is no digital divide for anyone who calls Oregon home.