Oklahoma rural broadband initiative reaches completion, state officials announce

The Oklahoma Community Anchor Network, or OCAN, brings broadband access to 33 so-called community anchors located in rural towns statewide. The program comes on line Aug. 1.
by Silas Allen Published: July 24, 2013
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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.

Oklahoma Community Anchor Network (OCAN)
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by Silas Allen
General Assignment/Breaking News Reporter
Silas Allen is a news reporter for The Oklahoman. He is a Missouri native and a 2008 graduate of the University of Missouri.
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