The Oklahoma Community Anchor Network (OCAN) celebrates it’s 10-year anniversary this month. Since its completion in July 2013, the network has grown to serve additional community anchor institutions and provide services to help private providers expand their service areas.
“OCAN’s goal is to offer more robust access to broadband services for rural and underserved areas of Oklahoma,” said Sonja Wall, senior director of OneNet operations. “We also build on public-private partnerships to support economic growth for our state’s rural communities.”
OCAN is a middle-mile infrastructure of 1,100 miles of high-speed broadband fiber that reaches 35 Oklahoma counties. OCAN was funded through a $74 million grant from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration under the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program, along with $19 million in-kind state match.
Connecting Through OCAN
Prior to OCAN’s construction, several state agencies operated technology networks throughout Oklahoma. OCAN bridges these disparate networks to form an aligned network reaching remote areas of the state not served by the existing networks.
OCAN initially connected 33 community anchor institutions (CAIs) to the network. The original 33 CAIS also house some of the equipment necessary for operating the network. Those connections have grown to 93 CAIs over the last 10 years.
“Community anchor institutions are institutions that provide vital services to a community,” said Wall. “They include schools, colleges and universities, career technology centers, libraries, town halls, police and fire stations and health care facilities.”
New CAIs connect to the network through OneNet, who operates and maintains OCAN. OneNet is a division of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education and Oklahoma’s research and education network. Educational institutions, libraries, health care providers, and local, state, federal and tribal governments have the opportunity to connect to the network by choosing OneNet as their service provider.
Private Sector Opportunities
OCAN also plays an important role in broadband expansion through public-private partnerships. Local telecommunications providers can partner with OCAN to extend services to the private sector. Through these public-private partnerships, OCAN provides opportunities for small businesses and expands broadband access in Oklahoma’s rural communities.
Benefits to Oklahoma Citizens
OCAN benefits Oklahoma’s citizens by improving educational, public health and safety services in Oklahoma’s rural communities.
“The pandemic shined a light on the need for rural broadband. High-speed networks like OCAN are critical to removing barriers for our state’s educational institutions, healthcare providers, governments and service agencies,” said Wall. “High-speed internet is vital for these institutions to deliver services to our state’s citizen. OCAN is positioned to deliver those services and advance growth and innovation in rural areas across the state.”
For OCAN service information, click here to complete our connection inquiry form.