Using the roughly $1.8 million provided by the state, the city of John Day plans to provide access to high-speed internet to John Day, Seneca, Prairie City and Canyon City.
These four communities plan to partner with Grant County to form the Grant County Digital Network Coalition, with John Day acting as the lead agency, according to City Manager Nick Green.
While the $1.8 million from the state is enough to install a fiber optic line from Prairie City to Burns, Green said the coalition would use the funds as match money for grants to help fund the project.
Cost sharing would be based on the population, with John Day paying 23 percent, Prairie City paying 12 percent, Canyon City paying 10 percent, Seneca paying 3 percent and Grant County paying 52 percent.
Green said he was unsure if the coalition would provide the service as a utility or if the coalition would contract with a private firm to provide these services. He said the average download speed in the county is about 10 megabits per second, and he expects 30 megabits or faster from the new network.
The network will be created in four phases with the first phase being the design and financing of the network.
The second phase will construct the main fiber optic line from Prairie City through John Day and into Burns where it will link up with the network there. Connections will be made to schools, city halls, the hospital and county courthouse.
The third phase will extend services to residents through either fiber to the home or wireless service.
The fourth phase will extend service to the northern and western parts of the county where lower population densities will likely require a wireless solution.
Green said he hoped to have the intergovernmental agreement adopted in September and begin servicing residents by October of 2018.