Broadband: The Glue That Held Us Together, An Engine for Economic Growth


(Photo | Courtesy of LS Networks )

It could be argued that broadband connectivity, and in particular high-speed fiber optic connectivity, was the glue that held us together during the pandemic. It could also be safely said that high-speed Internet will be a key driver of economic growth, educational opportunity, enhanced medical care and job creation in months and years to come. One company, Oregon based LS Networks, has invested heavily in their network expansion in Central Oregon, and Bend in particular even during the pandemic. We asked two of those customers who provide vital services in Central Oregon about their working relationship with LS Networks, the challenges we faced together and our hopes for the future. Here’s what we found:

An April 30, 2020 a Pew Research Center survey found that fully 87 percent of adults said the internet was important for their family and their business during the coronavirus outbreak, including 53 percent who describe it as essential. 

St. Charles Medical Center: The Essential Nature of Fiber Connectivity

Eric Newman, senior network engineer at St. Charles Medical Center said in a recent interview, “I’ve worked as a network engineer and IT professional for over 20 years. I’ve been with St. Charles Health System as a Senior Network Engineer for seven and a half years, and LS Networks has been our primary provider for that entire time. I can say, without reservation, that LS Networks is one of the finest Internet and Ethernet providers I’ve had the privilege to work with — including national and international providers whose names you’d immediately recognize.”

One of the things that makes LS Networks unique, is their proactive approach to managing our account. Their main technical engineers are constantly monitoring our network and they know what’s “normal” for us in terms of bandwidth use and the ebbs and flows of our data usage. If they see an anomaly in the model they’ve built based on our historical patterns, they’ll calls us to alert us to possible technical issues so we can get in front of any potential problems. This is a level of service and attention to detail that is very rare, even with the largest, most trusted providers.

Network security, reliability and ever growing fiber optic network reach are critical considerations for us as our organization is comprised of over 25 hospitals, clinics and administration offices throughout Central Oregon — all connected directly by LS Networks’ fiber network. We also have direct fiber connections through LS Networks to partner organizations as far away as Harney District Hospital in Burns and Bay Area Hospital in Coos Bay and others. 

We are fortunate to have a trusted fiber network provider that responds to our needs as our bandwidth and geographical reach expand. LS Networks has always responded to our connectivity needs with accelerated project timelines to match our growth. When one factors in LS Networks’ redundant network architecture, their best in Enterprise class technical sophistication and exceptional customer service, it’s no wonder they’re our provider of choice.

If you’re doing business in Central Oregon and you’re in need of an Internet or Ethernet service provider, without a doubt, LS Networks will take care of you. Their professionalism, the quality of their personal interactions and their technical mastery are all fantastic.

Numerous studies, including those by Crandall and Jackson, Lehr, Gillett, Sirbu and Osorio and Crandall, Lehr and Litan examined the economic benefits of broadband. Those studies found that gigabit broadband connections drive GDP and facilitate continued improvements in information technology, with significant positive effects on the economy, including lower input costs, increased labor productivity and new and more efficient production processes.

Yellowknife Wireless: Partnering With LS Networks To Bridge The Digital Divide

Central Oregon can rightly be described as a lifestyle region, cultivating tomorrow’s economy through a highly integrated and mutually supportive mix of independent contractors, consultants, small businesses, innovative manufacturing and technology companies and large, sophisticated corporations. The commonality that they share is access to broadband, especially as the challenges of the pandemic forced a shift to remote work for thousands. Together they’ve helped lead Central Oregon back from the depths of a historic recession to among the fastest growing economies in the country.

A recent study by AdvisorSmith examined 259 metropolitan areas in the U.S. to see which small, midsize and large cities had the highest rates of small business ownership per capita, and Bend was ranked the number two small city for the most small business owners. 

Given the vital role of broadband access, we asked Mark Cappuccio, General Manager of Bend’s Yellowknife Wireless about the role of fiber optic Internet in bridging the digital divide in Central Oregon, According to Mr. Cappuccio, “LS Networks has helped us enhance our wireless broadband delivery throughout Central Oregon, and in particular to customers who’ve had very limited broadband access or no access at all.” 

Our network consists of over 50 towers, covering an area of over 150 square miles and much of that area is very rugged terrain. Many of our customers rely on us for their livelihoods, and for connections to their family and to their schools. During the pandemic in particular, we served as a lifeline to people who live and work in rural Central Oregon.

By having an LS Networks fiber connection to our core towers (think of them as broadcast stations to multiple distant towers in our network) and back to our central office, we can deliver higher bandwidth to our rural customers. This mixed mode approach also provides our network with redundancy, with seamless switching from our broadcast radio equipment to the fiber connection should we experience equipment problems.

I can personally attest to the vital role LS Networks plays in enhancing, not just our operation, but also the unique and supportive business environment in Bend and the greater Central Oregon community. They were easily our first choice for a number of reasons, not the least of which being that they’re local, they’re responsive and they provide the most flexible, scalable and reliable service in the region.

When asked about the future of Central Oregon and the role LS Networks will play there, Leif Hansen, VP Engineering at LS Networks said, “The future of our company as it pertains to Central Oregon is bright. We have robust expansion underway throughout the region, not just geographical or “footprint” expansion, but densification of our current service footprint as well.”

“We’re constantly exploring, integrating and expanding our technology mix and capabilities so our customers can access the broadest possible spectrum of services under one umbrella. Since our inception in 2005, we’ve moved from a purpose built network to more of a multi purpose, broad-spectrum platform. This evolution, which is a constant for us, allows us now to serve the most sophisticated Enterprise level customers, to the small business owner who is looking to leverage superior technology in order to enhance operational efficiencies, leverage the time and talent of their employees and to better serve their customers.”

To learn more about LS Networks call 503-294-5300 or visit


About Author

Bruce Arnold is a marketing consultant and author serving technology, manufacturing, engineering and sustainable industries. He can be reach at

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