Federal Grant Brings High-Speed Broadband to Rural Oklahoma
Project partners announced recently the completion of the Oklahoma Community Anchor Network (OCAN). OCAN is a partnership among the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education (OSRHE), the Oklahoma Office of Management and Enterprise Services and the Oklahoma Department of Transportation.
In August 2010, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), under the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP), awarded Oklahoma a $74 million grant to fund the OCAN project and expand broadband services across the state. OCAN is designed to offer high-speed broadband services to rural and underserved Oklahoma.
Communities will access OCAN’s expanded network through OneNet, a division of OSRHE and Oklahoma’s only statewide Internet service provider. Educational institutions, health care providers, public services and nonprofits will have the opportunity to connect to the network through OneNet. In addition, local telecommunications providers can partner with OCAN to extend services to the private sector. Through these public-private partnerships, OCAN will provide opportunities for small businesses and expand economic growth in Oklahoma’s rural communities.
“In today’s knowledge-based world, our students, from kindergarten through higher education, need access to technology that supports and enables their learning,” said Chancellor Glen D. Johnson. “OCAN offers that access, bringing Oklahoma’s rural schools, colleges and universities, libraries, and hospitals the technology they need to stay competitive in today’s economy.”
OCAN’s expanded broadband network encompasses 1,005 miles, reaching 35 Oklahoma counties. The network connects 33 community anchor institutions, including state colleges and universities, hospitals and local libraries, to the state's existing networks. These connections will be vital to advancing economic development and improving educational, public health and safety services in Oklahoma’s rural communities.
Oklahoma’s library system and the residents it serves is one group who will benefit from OCAN.
“Public libraries in Oklahoma are increasingly providing services for their customers that require access to high speed broadband. Examples of services libraries will be able to provide include videoconferencing for recovering stroke victims support groups, higher education courses leading to more college degree completion, job coaching and interviewing and continuing education for professionals,” said Oklahoma Department of Libraries Director Susan McVey. “The completion of the OCAN is making that possible with available and affordable broadband connections.”
Several state agencies operate technology networks throughout Oklahoma, including each of the project partners and the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority. OCAN bridges these disparate providers to form an aligned network reaching remote areas of the state not served by current networks.
“Four years ago, the state of Oklahoma recognized the need to expand our current networks to reach all areas of the state with high-speed broadband services,” said Oklahoma’s Chief Information Officer Alex Pettit. “We are now seeing this goal become a reality for our state’s rural communities.”
OCAN’s high-speed broadband options will not only bring technology opportunities to rural Oklahoma, but also will create new levels of efficiencies for state and local government agencies and other community services.
"The Department of Transportation is not only a necessary partner in the routing and construction of this new network, but many of our remote facilities and operations enjoy enhanced Internet access and network connectivity," said ODOT's Director of Capitol Programs Tim Gatz. "Now that it’s operational, OCAN will have an important role in helping us take full advantage of the benefits and efficiencies offered by advancements in transportation business, asset management, communications and traffic operations technologies and software."
High-speed networks are critical to removing barriers for Oklahoma’s educational institutions, governments and service providers, making OCAN an essential component for growth and innovation in rural areas across the state. For more information, contact OCAN Program Manager SonjaWall at (888) 566-3638.
Community Anchor Institution
CLEET - Ada
East Central University - Ada
Western Oklahoma State College - Altus
University Center of Southern Oklahoma - Ardmore
Atoka Memorial Hospital - Atoka
Coal County General Hospital - Coalgate
Cameron University - Duncan
Duncan Public Library - Duncan
DPS-Highway Patrol Troop HQ - Durant
Southeastern Oklahoma State University - Durant
Redlands Community College - El Reno
DPS-Highway Patrol Troop HQ - Enid
Northern Oklahoma College - Enid
Northwestern Oklahoma State University - Enid
Choctaw Hospital - Hugo
Southeastern Oklahoma State University - Idabel
Cameron University - Lawton
Comanche Nation College - Lawton
Lawton Indian Hospital-Indian Health - Lawton
Eastern Oklahoma State College - McAlester
Carl Albert State College - Poteau
Carl Albert State College - Sallisaw
Southwestern Oklahoma State University - Sayre
Seiling Municipal Hospital - Seiling
Seminole State College - Seminole
Gordon Cooper Technology Center - Shawnee
Connors State College - Warner
Jefferson County Hospital - Waurika
Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribal College - Weatherford
Southwestern Oklahoma State University - Weatherford
Eastern Oklahoma Stat
e College - Wilburton
Northwestern Oklahoma State University - Woodward
Woodward Hospital - Woodward