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Douglas County, Ore., Sees $28M Annually from Fiber Internet

About one-third of Douglas County, Ore., is able to access fiber Internet. The project, which began over 20 years ago, has brought substantial economic impact to the local area to the tune of $28 million each year.

Douglas County, Ore., rakes in $28 million in revenue and savings thanks to its fiber Internet system, according to new research from Futuriom.

The county has had fiber running to many of its locations for over 15 years. In 2000, the first connections were made to medical centers in the city of Roseburg. Residents started receiving fiber Internet by 2003. And by 2005, most of the county's schools, hospitals and other anchor institutions were added to the system.

All in all, Douglas Fast Net (DFN), the county's Internet service provider and a subsidiary of Douglas Electric Cooperative (DEC), has built out about 2,800 miles of fiber in the local area, covering about one-third of the population.

DFN plans to add 10G symmetrical speeds soon as it continues to widen its coverage area.

"It has helped our customers reduce costs, our hospitals improve care, our city government reduce costs and enabled students of all ages participate in online learning,” said DFN CEO Todd Way in an emailed release. “We know that it’s also playing a key role in helping keep some of our largest employers in the area and attract new businesses and industries to our market.”

In addition to helping residents, students, businesses and anchor institutions in the county, the fiber system has also provided connectivity to wildfire command centers and allowed firefighters to have new pole-top cameras that have been critical to identifying and tracking fires.

DEC is also moving the county toward a smart grid system with the fiber infrastructure, which could help residents see savings on their electrical bills when all the work is completed.

"DEC has taken full advantage of its fiber infrastructure, equipping all its substations with supervisory control and data acquisition and advanced metering infrastructure technologies," the release explains. "These smart grid protocols automate control and monitoring of remote systems. They also are the precursors to more complete smart grid functionality in the future, which entails distribution automation, whereby the entire grid is automatically regulated by sensors and monitors."

The Fiber Broadband Association backed the research findings.