Lebanon has a lot to offer new businesses.

The enterprise zone, the shovel-ready land, and online permitting are obvious incentives. But other, perhaps equally important, things can be overlooked: infrastructure.

Everything that goes into the city makes things “easier from here,” from the new sewer line extension on the Westside Interceptor project, to the new parking lot at Bob Smith Memorial Park, to the plans for a new water storage and treatment facility.

And now, Peak Internet is in partnership with other providers to work on a third and fourth path of connectivity for broadband infrastructure, which is just as important as water, sewer and electrical infrastructure, said Rick Petersen, Peak Internet president and CEO.

“That’s what we’ve really been lacking, is broadband infrastructure,” Petersen said. “It’s the perfect recipe. We have all the other ingredients, and this is the missing ingredient to attract some of these people.”

The idea to enhance the broadband connectivity in the Willamette Valley started last year when Peak joined forces with other providers to form the Oregon Broadband Partnership and submitted a grant application for $9.5 million in federal stimulus money.

The grant was not approved, but now Petersen said Peak Internet is moving forward in spite of that.

“Obviously we see the viability in Lebanon with the huge inventory of shovel-ready land along with the current incumbent business and industry,” he said.

Having more connectivity paths is similar to having more lanes on the highway, Petersen said.

And more lanes means better telecommunication, which makes running a business easier.

“It has evolved so much, from casual web browsing and email to where it is today,” Petersen said. “It really is part of the whole global telecommunications.”

Before, if a large internet company looked at Lebanon, the lack of broadband infrastructure may have deterred them. But this will change that, Petersen said.

“What we want in the community is jobs,” he said. “We need them badly. Hopefully this could help.”

It also will help the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific-Northwest, Linn-Benton Community College, Samaritan Health Services, and other already established business and industry in Lebanon. The project should be completed in six months to a year, he said.

Petersen is looking for any Lebanon businesses that may have a need for increased broadband connectivity or auxiliary connections to possibly include them in the project. He may be reached at (541) 738-4900 or via email at rick.petersen@peakinternet.com.

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