Rep. Reschke announces passage of bill to provide broadband internet to Malin and Merrill
Salem, Ore. – House Bill 3061 was signed by Governor Brown on Monday. The bill was chief-sponsored by Rep. E. Werner Reschke (R-Klamath Falls).
House Bill 3061 amends ORS 271 to allow municipalities to transfer property acquired from government entities to private corporations if used to provide broadband internet services to the citizens. It allows a political subdivision to waive and relinquish interest within 20 years of the transfer if such action is determined to be in the public interest.
Specifically, ORS 271 required the city of Merrill to hold the property transferred by the county for 20 years before it could be transferred to a private entity for the benefits of high speed, broadband service. HB 3061 will convey assets of a foreclosed cable company to transfer from Klamath County to the City of Merrill for the provision of broadband service.
“This bill is narrow in focus, but broad in its impact for two small communities in Klamath county. There was a need for clear authority to convey property for the express purpose of providing broadband service. HB 3061 immediately remedies the issues of ORS 271 to allow the transfer of this property, specifically for broadband internet access, to a private entity to provide this modern service," said Rep. Reschke.
Existing infrastructure from an abandoned cable company plant in Merrill has been in a steady state of decline after being neglected and unmaintained for about a decade. Small rural cable television providers abandoned their facilities and moved away. These businesses left behind infrastructure attached to utility poles that were used to deliver cable television services. This infrastructure can be converted to allow modern high speed, broadband internet services through fiber optic cable strung in place of the old abandoned coaxial cables that previously delivered cable television signals.
"There is an emergency clause on this bill to take effect immediately. The private entity is ready to roll out their service. People in the communities of Merrill and Malin are eager to access the internet at speeds comparable to their urban counterparts,” said Rep. Reschke.
Press release provided from the Office of E. Werner Reschke..