Modern Acceleration in a Mountainous Location
The mountains are impressive, and so is the university—but soon, Eugene-Springfield will be making an impact at a national level, thanks to increased connections and unstoppable ingenuity.
At the western edge of the Cascade Mountains, the Eugene-Springfield area is a hidden gem of American industriousness and idea generation. Long known for its beautiful surrounding lands and boundless options for recreational activities—as well as the home of the University of Oregon (UO)—one might be tempted to mistake it for a just a college town out west that happens to be more picturesque than some. But in Eugene-Springfield, ancient environs stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the radical advancements of the future. A burgeoning tech sector is bringing new life to the downtown area, where leading-edge institutions and companies cluster and connect with start-ups, business incubators, and accelerators.
In the last 5 years, Eugene-Springfield’s public and private sector have invested a combined $300 million in downtown office, retail, and housing space. And now that this incredible “Innovation District” is fully fleshed-out, it’s time to determine how business, government, and citizens can work together to make real innovation happen for years to come.
At the center of this collaboration is the network provided by EUGNet, the largest ‘open access’ fiber network in Oregon. Downtown Eugene is also home to open access high speed fiber provided through a partnership between the City of Eugene, Eugene Water and Electric Board, and Lane Council of Governments. The fiber provides connection to major peering points (allowing two internet networks to connect and exchange traffic without involving a third party) in Portland and San Jose, which have lowered the costs for ISPs and their customers. This expanded connection has enabled providers to offer gigabit and multi-gigabit services for public agencies across all of Lane County, including isolated rural communities, and all the K-12 School Districts. It is a bridge for the digital divide.
And gigabit technology is supercharging the incredible resources available to Eugene-Springfield residents through the University of Oregon, such as a 50-million-pixel PSC
Visualization Lab screen and the Titan $5 million 3D microscope at Lorry I. Lokey Laboratories. With new internet capabilities in Lane County K-12 schools, students could experience firsthand the groundbreaking work in the biological sciences and chemistry happening at UO as it’s beamed right into their classrooms. Currently, a new facility is being built around a new $2 million supercomputing cluster also available to the public at the University. With extensive computing power and high-quality data storage systems, the possibilities for use with smart gigabit applications are mind-boggling.
Featured Project: Equipping Rural Areas with Medical Technology
The Technology Association of Oregon (TAO) is working to partner with providers of mobile telehealth technology to increase access to mental and medical health services. Eugene lies in Lane County, which is almost as physically large as the state of Connecticut. Lane County includes many remote rural communities, which tend to have high levels of poverty, and households in the remote parts of the region have difficulty accessing all types of medical care. Mobile telehealth apps for fitbits and mobile devices powered by the fiber network provided by EUGNet to these areas could create care solutions that are cost-effective for providers and customers alike.