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'It puts Eugene on the map': 10 gigabit internet service coming soon for downtown

EUGENE, Ore. - Internet service 10 times faster than is currently offered will be available in downtown Eugene after construction of a publicly owned fiber network.

The development of 10 gigabit internet service comes after a 2-year pilot project involving 7 downtown buildings.

The expanded network will be available to businesses in 120 buildings downtown.

"Having a high-speed connection is pretty essential to not only saving us some money but also being productive," said Ryan Postma, owner of Attic Media Inc.

"It puts Eugene on the map," said Stephen Parac, chief operations officer at XS Media. "It means that we're one of the best places in the country to get high-speed internet."

That hasn't been the case.

"We found out that Eugene is the 22nd slowest place in the state for internet access," said Matt Sayre with the Technology Association of Oregon.

High-speed internet could result in 200 new jobs downtown, Sayre said.

"Work that tech companies previously couldn't do because of slow internet speeds, the dam, sort of, is going to burst," he said. "And when tech companies grow, they create the highest paying jobs in our economy."

So how fast is it?

"You could download 2 full Blu-ray movies in 8 seconds," Parac said. "That's how fast 10 gigabit is."

The network is a project of the City of Eugene, the Eugene Water & Electric Board and the Lane Council of Governments, with support from the Technology Association of Oregon.

The Eugene City Council made fiber installation within the Downtown District eligible for up to $3 million of urban renewal funds in 2016.

The network will be built by and owned by the public partners.

Private internet service providers will be able to lease fiber from EWEB to provide services to businesses downtown.

A Fiber Lighting Ceremony will take place on March 21, from 12 to 1 p.m. at the Miner Building, 132 E. Broadway, which was recently connected to public fiber and is now home to several tech companies.

That same night from 5 to 7:30 p.m., the public is invited to attend the Fiber Project Launch Celebration at the same location. Tickets are $20 in advance at http://techoregon.org Proceeds will benefit Springfield Education Foundation and Looking Glass Community Services.

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