Using Telecommunications to Transform the Oregon Coast Economy (September 2005)
A major recent applied research project undertaken by OCZMA has been the Oregon Coast Telecommunications project. This was a year-and-a-half project which produced a report entitled Oregon Coast Telecommunications Economic Development Strategy.
The report is meant to serve as a briefing document for local leaders. It’s written in plain English. People who have read the study tell us they really liked it, and that it provides the basic orientation to this subject that they needed.
Here’s the bottom line. Because of broadband technologies (wireline and wireless)—which are becoming cheaper and astonishingly more effective every day—a growing number of entrepreneurs and businesses can operate from the Oregon Coast. This trend is already underway. We are seeing more and more creative and skilled people moving here. And, we can attract more of these people because of the Oregon Coast’s quality of life. Indeed, broadband technology gives coastal communities an unprecedented opportunity to make our economy much less seasonal and much more diversified.
At the outset, we need to work with the private sector to ensure coastal communities have roughly the same quality broadband offerings available in urban areas (wired and wireless). In the recently completed study we are urging our members to form local Telecommunications committees. OCZMA will provide technical assistance to these committees, which can be the focal point for these issues.
An Early Interest in Technology—Many people are familiar with OCZMA’s work with ports and fisheries. Fewer people know that OCZMA has been involved with telecommunications for a number of years.
Jay Rasmussen, the former OCZMA Director, recalled, “Actually, electronic communications at OCZMA began with the first OCZMA Legislative Fellow in the State Capitol in 1987. I believe we set up the first system in the Capitol that used computers to send information back and forth between Newport and Salem. I recall that in 1989 we were still the only ones in the State Capitol using computers to send documents back and forth. And, we thought it was a big deal to have access to a FAX machine.”
Jay continued, “In the early days of the Internet, in the 1990s, there was no Internet service provider on the Oregon Coast. I’m not sure when the first one appeared. We had a 1-800 dial-up system from an Oregon Telecom, which was started by the Oregon Economic & Community Development Department (OECDD). I served on the Board. I worked to get ports and local governments on the Oregon Coast to use the Internet. It was slow going. There was so little content on-line. I used to find content relevant to ports and put stuff online to the ports in e-mail messages.” It’s amazing how far we’ve come since then.
The OCZMA Report Oregon Coastal Telecommunications Economic Development Strategy can be downloaded below under Printable Reports either as the Full Report or in Sections.
Click on any photo below to enlarge.
Front Cover of Oregon Coast Telecommunications Economic Development Strategy Report
Jay Rasmussen, former OCZMA Director