Last year, OneNet and BTC Broadband explored the possibility of connecting the communities that OneNet serves to BTC Broadband’s buried fiber optic infrastructure. A mutually beneficial partnership was developed and now the school system, the library and businesses throughout Okmulgee, OK have access to fiber-fast speeds and capacity at affordable rates.
BTC Broadband is a 104-year-old telecommunications company that delivers fiber optic internet to residents in and around the Bixby area and to schools and businesses throughout northeastern Oklahoma. Fiber transmits data much faster over greater distances than DSL and cable. It relies on light instead of electricity, providing greater bandwidth and faster internet connections. Fiber is ideal because of its small size and weight, and it can also withstand high voltages including lightning. It also costs less to maintain than cable.
“We work cooperatively with other service providers, so our relationship with OneNet is one of symbiotic growth. With public and private cooperation, we both come out ahead, as do the schools and businesses we serve,” says Scott Floyd, president, BTC Broadband.
“Having strong, reliable, affordable internet is critical to doing business, and this partnership gives businesses in Okmulgee the leverage to attract top industries and jobs, so they’re more competitive with other cities. It also enables Okmulgee schools to control costs, have better access to high volume websites and utilize the fastest connection for their curricular programs and apps,” adds Floyd.
This partnership also benefits higher education students at Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology’s (OSUIT) Okmulgee campus. OSUIT is a recognized leader in applied technology education. Being able to provide new and advanced technology for the students at OSUIT has always been a priority for the institution, and in today’s digital world, keeping up with the constant technological innovations while facing budget cuts can be challenging.
Through the BTC Broadband partnership, OneNet can provide reliable and affordable connectivity for the students at OSUIT. The campus is now able to give students access to additional resources that enhance their educational experience. Students can log in to online courses faster, download documents faster and stream video without interruptions.
“This January, OSU Institute of Technology welcomed the inaugural class of student residents to its brand new loft-style apartments situated in historic downtown Okmulgee. Through this partnership, OSUIT partnered with OneNet to provide not only a new fiber network backbone, but also additional wireless access that will provide these students the high-speed internet necessary to access the online course resources and scholarly databases necessary for successful completion of their degree goals,” says Kevin Hulett, OSUIT associate vice president of technology services.
In addition, the Okmulgee Public Library, a vital community resource, received fiber connectivity through the partnership with BTC Broadband. This upgrade is not only more economical, but also allows the library to provide improved services to the people of Okmulgee and surrounding areas. Residents can access more resources with greater speeds to search for jobs, enroll in online degree programs, conduct research and download necessary documents much faster. Prior to this enhanced service, the library used T1 and Ethernet connections. The new fiber connection will increase the library’s internet speeds from 1Mbps to 100Mbps.
“Our mission at OneNet is to provide reliable connectivity and facilitate technological innovation,” said Vonley Royal, OneNet executive director. “These public-private partnerships are instrumental in delivering the most reliable internet connectivity, which provides citizens access and opportunities they have not had previously.”
While fiber is not the only internet connectivity option available, it is the only last-mile technology that is capable of meeting the ever-growing demand for high-speed connectivity in today’s digital age. When the technology is brought into homes, schools and businesses, the benefits are astronomical.
“OneNet is passionate about its mission, and we look forward to partnering with other private companies to better serve all communities throughout the entire state of Oklahoma,” said Royal.