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Talent Partners With Non-Profit To Bring Internet to Residents Displaced By Wildfires

Brett Jordan

After last year's wildfires in Southern Oregon, around 1000 people in the city of Talent still don't have access to the internet in their homes and businesses. Now the city is looking to change that by partnering with a nonprofit called No One Left Offline (NOLO).

The nonprofit is distributing 53 different hotspot devices to 53 different RVs in Talent. Each hotspot is capable of supporting 14 to 16 devices and provides a year full of high-speed internet.

Umpqua Bank provided the funding for this project by donating $20,000. Although not a permanent solution, NOLO is working to provide immediate services for those affected by our climate crisis.

“There are a lot of great ideas to provide the internet on a long-term time horizon but all of those things are cumbersome, resource-intensive and uncertain,” says Kevin Frazier, the founder of No One Left Offline. “And NOLO comes into that equation by saying our focus is on immediate relief with high-speed internet access.”

Frazier explains that high-speed internet is necessary to help kids succeed in schools, people apply for jobs and patients to have telehealth appointments. As more and more resources have moved online during COVID, the internet is becoming increasingly crucial for communities to recover from events like the Talent wildfires.

Sophia Prince is a reporter and producer for JPR News. She began as JPR’s 2021 summer intern through the Charles Snowden Program for Excellence in Journalism. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a BA in journalism and international studies.