After two years of work, a project that seeks to provide high-speed Internet access to rural and underserved Oklahoma communities is nearing completion.
The Oklahoma Community Anchor Network project celebrated its two-year anniversary in July, and officials say the project is about 88 percent complete. Leaders hope to see the network expand to serve more communities after the project completes its initial objective.
The project is a joint venture by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, the Oklahoma Office of Management and Enterprise Services and the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education's OneNet division, which serves as the state's telecommunications network for government and education.
The project is funded through a $74 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration as a part of the agency's Broadband Technology Opportunities Program.
The three agencies are providing broadband Internet access to 32 “community anchors” in underserved areas across the state, said Von Royal, executive director of OneNet.
Sites act as nodes
The sites include college campuses, libraries, hospitals and tribal offices, which act as distribution nodes and allow telecommunications companies to provide broadband access to homes and businesses, Royal said.