County Commissioners across rural Oregon continue to press for expanded broadband access as an economic development issue. Lake County Commissioner Ken Kestner has been working to lead that charge on behalf of AOC and recently participated on a panel Oct. 20 in Hood River at the annual Oregon Connections Telecommunications Conference.

The annual conference brings together nearly 200 attendees from the northwest region. This year’s theme was “Networks of the Future,” and focused around their changing architectures, technologies, applications, patterns of use, industry structure, and public policy. Major shifts are underway as broadband telecommunications secures its position as essential infrastructure.

“Broadband internet can give incalculable growth to the economy, health, education, and amenity values of our county,” said Kestner. “Of particular interest to me is the educational growth of our children today and tomorrow.”

Kestner’s panel on “The Continuing Digital Divide” included Maupin Mayor Lynn Ewing, Rep. Pam Marsh (D-Ashland), Sen. Ted Ferrioli (R-John Day), and Chris Wall from Blue Mountain Hospital District.

“Today, broadband internet is the window to the world and universe for our kids,” said Kestner. “Our kids of today are our future community leaders of tomorrow and we owe our communities a health society for today and for tomorrow.”

Contributed by: Patrick Sieng | AOC Public Safety Policy Manager