Rural Internet improvement rollout continues

Jan. 4, 2023 — Hyak, a growing Internet service provider based in Florence, was the recent recipient of USDA funding as a part of the ReConnect program to bring affordable high-speed Internet to rural communities.

“What it is designed to do is to help ISPs [Internet Service Providers] like us reach rural portions of the U.S. where the cost to deliver a utility like that generally wouldn’t be covered,” says Hyak CEO Robbie Wright. “The ReConnect program is designed to help get low-cost dollars into the hands of ISPs [...] to help them expand Internet to places that otherwise wouldn’t have it.”

The program focuses on Oregon’s Benton, Lane, Lincoln and Polk Counties, and will bring affordable high-speed internet to nearly 5,000 people with $35 million being invested in total, according to the USDA.

Hyak uses fiber internet, which utilizes optical technology and fiber-optic cables for a faster, more reliable connection. “Other types of Internet [...] use what they call ‘twisted-pair copper,’ and it uses electrical signals to pass data down the copper lines. Fiber is more resilient to interference,” says Wright. “If a telephone pole gets hit by a car or a tree falls on it [fiber internet] will have the same problems as any other type of Internet, but it isn’t susceptible to any type of electromagnetic interference.” This means that fiber Internet is also immune to weather interference, making it particularly well-suited to the area.

With the funding from the ReConnect program, Hyak plans to extend its range of service, especially in the more rural parts of the central Oregon coast. The range of service will extend from Highway 126 near Mapleton, through Highway 36 towards Deadwood and Stagecoach Road and into the hills towards Triangle Lake. It will also cover areas on the north side of Florence that lack adequate broadband, especially around the far side of Mercer Lake near Dahlin’s Peninsula and Enchanted Valley.

In addition to broadening the geographical range with access to Internet, Hyak also provides multi- gigabit options to standard gigabit Internet.

“We have both gigabit and multi-gigabit Internet connection speeds, so we have [...] some of the first multi-gigabit Internet available to residences on the Oregon Coast,” added Wright.