Facebook could lay fiber broadband along Central Oregon highways

Oregon transportation officials will try to negotiate an agreement with Facebook that would allow the company to use highway right of way for a 100-mile fiber broadband line serving its Prineville data center.

In exchange for the unprecedented step of allowing a private enterprise to use the right of way, the Oregon Department of Transportation could gain access to broadband that would benefit Central Oregon in the future. State and local officials envision using the internet connectivity to transmit more real-time information to drivers or to enable use of autonomous vehicles.

“There’s a lot that’s happening in the ITS — intelligent transportation systems — arena,” said Tammy Baney, the Deschutes County commissioner who is chairwoman of the Oregon Transportation Commission, which oversees ODOT.