It seems like just a short time ago, we celebrated OneNet’s 20th anniversary, and now we are celebrating 25 years of connecting Oklahoma’s citizens to education, research, health care and public services.
When OneNet first began delivering services in 1996, we operated with a hub and spoke network, utilizing the higher education institutions to house our network equipment. We’ve come a long way in the last 25 years. We are still connected through the higher education institutions, and we now deliver high-speed internet with connections up to 100 Gbps.
As a division of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, OneNet proudly serves as Oklahoma’s research and education network. Networks like OneNet across the country connect researchers, schools and higher education institutions to high-speed internet services. As one of these networks, OneNet provides research-grade connectivity to Oklahoma’s research community.
Thanks to this high-speed connectivity, OneNet has helped Oklahoma’s higher education institutions garner $46+ million in research computing grants since 2009. OneNet’s 100 Gbps research network and Oklahoma’s Science DMZ, a network dedicated to research computing, enable research in areas such as high-energy physics, genomics, climate modeling, bioscience, weather forecasting and supercomputing.
As Oklahoma’s research and education network, OneNet also has partnerships regionally and nationally to boost connectivity within the state and across the southcentral region. OneNet participates with three other research and education networks as part of the Midsouth U.S. Internet Exchange, or MUS-IX, with the goals of increasing connectivity, lowering costs and bringing more content to member states.
OneNet also serves as Oklahoma’s connector to Internet2, a nationwide 100 Gbps network dedicated to research and education. Internet2 enables Oklahoma’s researchers to move big data across the country and around the globe.
While these global connections are vital, connecting communities right here in Oklahoma is a priority for OneNet. We provide connectivity to approximately half of Oklahoma’s K-12 schools, many libraries and most of the career technology centers. Rural hospital and clinics connect through OneNet.
We also serve a significant number of government agencies, which means when you visit your local tag agency, department of health, department of human services or other public service agency, you’re using OneNet. Even when you watch OETA’s PBS broadcasting, you’re using OneNet!
The Oklahoma Community Anchor Network, a grant-funded network managed by OneNet, also plays an important role in connecting Oklahoma’s rural communities. OCAN’s 2,072 miles of optical infrastructure spans 35 counties, bringing high-speed broadband to underserved areas. OCAN connects 93 community anchor institutions to the network and provides broadband services to private-sector telecommunications providers.
Another key to OneNet’s success is our public-private partnerships with more than 30 telecommunications providers throughout our state. These providers connect our customers to our network through last-mile services. Last year, OneNet reinvested nearly $12.5 million statewide with last-mile providers. These fees support broadband services in local communities.
Cybersecurity continues to be a priority for OneNet. Our security team has deployed a layered strategy to protect the integrity of our network. From managed firewall services to DDoS mitigation, OneNet utilizes next-generation technologies to keep our customers’ data safe as well. We are committed to working to identify new cyber defenses and promote security best practices across all of our end-users.
Internet connectivity is more vital than ever as we manage the new challenges with the COVID pandemic. As accessing education, health care and public services quickly became virtual, OneNet adjusted service delivery to ensure our customers had the access they needed. OneNet will continue to seek partnerships that create solutions as our world evolves.
As we celebrate 25 years, I want to send a special thanks to our customers, partners, vendors and other supporters. We appreciate the relationships we have built over the last quarter century. I also want to thank the OneNet staff–current and past–who have dedicated themselves to serving OneNet, the State Regents and Oklahoma’s citizens.
We look forward to another 25 years, growing stronger than ever together and fulfilling our mission of advancing technology across Oklahoma.