Oregon Business – High Speed Internet Access Unleashes the Potential of Communities
Comcast is in the midst of a $15 million project to expand high-speed broadband to Woodburn and Hubbard, rolling out its suite of solutions to the Oregon and southwestern Washington region, particularly in rural communities.
But its investment goes beyond meeting the growing demand for reliable service. By providing managed connectivity and services, Comcast has energized a partnership in these areas that builds better businesses and helps communities thrive.
In Woodburn, where the boundary for urban growth has recently been widened, business is poised to boom as more residents and industries call the town home. And in Hubbard — though its population is small at less than 4,000 in 2020 — a strong industrial base increasingly relies on robust digital connections.
In both of these cities, and in most places, COVID has driven businesses to improve their operations with new and more advanced technology. The pandemic has accelerated demand for reliable high-speed internet access and changed the way people work, go to school and more, expanding opportunities outside of urban centers.
Competition suitable for all
Increasing consumer choice means providers need to step up to make sure they’re the best on the market, and Comcast is doing just that.
“Competition breeds excellence,” says John Zobrist, General Manager of the Woodburn Area Chamber of Commerce. “Competition makes everyone better at what they do, because they have to attract and retain customers.
“Because we’re a business and we’re a large organization, Comcast allows us to have better choices and options for our business community,” says Zobrist.
Comcast’s extended network makes fast broadband more cost-effective, especially in smaller communities that often didn’t get what they paid for when there were fewer options.
Mike Lipke, president and owner of Trillium Pacific Millwork in Hubbard, signed up for Comcast Business last November.
“One of the most obvious differences was better and faster service. The competition aspect has been very beneficial to us,” says Lipke. “The reliability of the system and the fact that it is less expensive is a win-win situation for us. I’m glad Comcast came to Hubbard and look forward to a long relationship with them.
Necessity, not a luxury
Simply having digital access is not enough. Reliability and speed are essential, especially in the business world where time is money and delays reduce productivity.
Businesses cannot afford latency when uploading documents, interacting with their teams, conducting transactions, or communicating with customers. Bandwidth should meet the business needs of multiple users and should provide strong connections for online meetings and calls.
Faster connections do the job. “Increased speed will make video conferencing a little easier and more natural,” says Lipke.
“Comcast will be more reliable than some of the other choices we’ve had, which relied on quite old equipment and infrastructure” and often provided spotty service, he says.
Strong partner with benefits
Any new business that comes to town wants to foster goodwill. Comcast does, but its track record shows that instead of making a splash, it’s sticking around and rooting itself in the community with fiber cable.
They are not only a presence of the company in the community, they become long-term partners and active sponsors. Comcast’s investment means a lot to nonprofits and local organizations.
“Having a good corporate sponsor out there who wants to actively participate in improving the community is invaluable,” says Zobrist. “I put them in contact with several partners. Last year, they donated a substantial amount to Love Santa, which provides food boxes and toys to more than 450 families at Christmas.
Additionally, Comcast has donated and supported the Boys & Girls Club Woodburn Teen Center, civic organizations like Kiwanis and Rotary, and has helped with fundraisers and sponsored various scholarships.
Not a static market
In today’s world, being connected is a necessity for work, school, business, scheduling, dating and more. And the amount of productivity that results from that connectivity increases exponentially. The more people who use it, the more productive a business can be. However, there is still a need to help households connect to high-speed Internet.
To help bridge the digital divide, Comcast provides low-cost home Internet service through its Internet Essentials program. The program offers broadband connectivity for $9.95 per month, including a Wi-Fi-enabled modem. And with the federal government’s Affordable Connectivity Program, which provides a monthly reimbursement of $30 to eligible households using broadband , it can basically make their internet almost free.
“This ability for a large portion of our population to be able to afford high-speed Internet access is huge,” says Zobrist. “When your staff have the internet and you have the ability to work remotely, it will indirectly help businesses, because a high-speed internet connection for those who otherwise could not afford it will be a huge benefit for everyone. the world. .”
Another ripple effect is being able to attract better workers. “People who want to live here and have that capability (online) give us an advantage in the business world,” says Zobrist.
Woodburn and Hubbard both expect population growth, more new businesses, lower unemployment rates and rising home values. The long-term benefits of high-speed broadband access are consistent with these changes.
“At the Chamber of Commerce, we promote a better business climate. We advocate for businesses and provide business training and resources,” says Zobrist. “But beyond that, we’re advocating to make Woodburn a better place to live because if you don’t have good people, if you don’t have well-educated, happy people living in your community, then you don’t have a good workforce.
Brand Stories are paid content articles that allow Oregon Business advertisers to share information about their organizations and engage with readers on business and public policy issues. Stories are produced in-house by Oregon Business’ marketing department. For more information, contact Associate Editor Courtney Kutzman.