Some communities already are reaping benefits from the program, McVey said. In Pryor, a group of teachers and principals signed up to pursue advanced college degrees online using the service, she said.
Rep. Lee Denney, R-Cushing, said she thinks the program will benefit rural Oklahomans economically. In speaking with residents of rural communities, Denney said she's heard many Oklahomans say that access to high-speed Internet was essential to allowing those areas to succeed.
Broadband access also will allow rural hospitals to offer telemedicine, which would allow doctors to reach patients they may not have been able to serve otherwise, Denney said.
“It's a great day in Oklahoma,” she said. “But we can't stop here or rest on our laurels.”
Oklahoma higher education Chancellor Glen Johnson said the program brings educational resources to students in rural parts of the state. Students at K-12 school districts and in colleges and universities will be able to complete work more quickly, he said.
Those students also will be better prepared to enter the state's workforce, where digital literacy is expected, Johnson said.