East Side of the Steens

Harney County, Oregon

Southeast Oregon Broadband Action Team

Southeast Oregon Broadband Action Team (SEOBAT)

Harney County has begun the foundational work to bring reliable, affordable, high speed internet to its remote communities.  With the Harney County Court’s decision in 2023 to invest in technical assistance, pre-engineering design, and collaboration across stakeholders and sectors, the Southeast Oregon Broadband Action Team (SEOBAT) was formed. This web page provides key updates and links to relevant information.

Internet access is critical socio-economic infrastructure.  This is particularly true on a number of levels in frontier, rural southeast Oregon.  Expanding opportunities for remote work brings income to a vast region that is challenged by lack of manufacturing and sizable employers. Delivering high speed, reliable, affordable internet to the 7,500 residents across the geographically largest county in Oregon is not a matter of luxury; it’s a matter of equity and necessity. This need was further exemplified and exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent transition to remote learning, remote health, and web-based business and employment models.

All communities and regions should be assessing their current broadband and high speed internet capacity against current and future projected needs for residences, business and economic development, health, and education/training; and identifying public-private partnerships and other actions to improve capacity to meet priority identified needs. Further, communities and regions should be prepared with prioritized infrastructure and access needs in order to apply for and maximize new state, federal, and private infrastructure investments.

To accomplish this, the Harney County Court has contracted with Greater Eastern Oregon Development Corporation (GEODC) to provide technical assistance and facilitate the process.

Greater Eastern Oregon Development Corporation LogoHarney County, Oregon

 

About the Southeast Oregon Broadband Action Team (SEOBAT)

The SEOBAT is meeting to support the development of a Rapid Design Study, Action Plan and grant applications for Harney County. The primary objective is to provide a strategic and prioritized plan using industry experts and stakeholders to identify broadband needs within Harney County.

This plan will assist in determining the optimal infrastructure, including hybrid solutions, that will serve the existing and future connection demands across Harney County, including our most distant unincorporated communities. The outcome of this plan will create a roadmap to identify broadband opportunities by studying geographical terrain, evaluating current assets, and assessing community needs. Reliable internet connection, especially during emergency situations, is needed more than ever.

Harney County has convened a Broadband Action Team (BAT) to oversee the plan development process and to ensure that all relevant partners understand and support the findings, and are well-positioned for implementation. The SEOBAT includes representatives from Harney County, Internet Service Providers, Business Oregon, utility providers, chamber of commerce, education partners, health partners, Harney County Economic Development, and cities. SEOBAT will continue to maintain engagement with statewide entities such as the Business Oregon Broadband Office, LinkOregon, and Oregon Economic Development Districts (OEDD) to ensure that Harney County’s priorities are understood by key partners, and to align our work with best practices happening across the state.

Contact Us

Commissioner Patty Dorroh
Harney County Court
450 N Buena Vista, Burns Or 97720
541-589-5483 (Leave a message)
patty.dorroh@harneycountyor.gov

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