For community service organizations in Shawnee, Oklahoma, dependable internet is the backbone of operations, making it a necessary expense. A recent initiative of a local university has allowed OneNet, the comprehensive digital communications initiative of the state system of higher education, to provide resources to upgrade networks while generating significant cost savings.
In 2012, Oklahoma Baptist University (OBU) learned of grant-funded fiber being built through Shawnee. University officials quickly realized connecting directly to fiber would increase bandwidth while decreasing costs, so they contacted OneNet, which manages the fiber.
Randy Smith, OBU executive vice president for business and administrative services, saw the possibilities the increased bandwidth and cost savings could bring to OBU education. Lower administrative budgets would allow expansion in classroom initiatives while maintaining OBU’s commitment to affordable education.
“Immediately, we saw the benefit to OBU of additional bandwidth at a lower cost to better meet the needs of students and the university community,” Smith said.
Smith saw potential for the Shawnee community as a whole, too. Shawnee is home to numerous institutions with similar missions that could benefit from cost savings and increased bandwidth opportunities. OBU representatives contacted leaders at St. Gregory’s University, Gordon Cooper Technology Center, Shawnee Public Schools, Citizen Potawatomi Nation, St. Anthony Shawnee Hospital and the City of Shawnee. In response to immediate interest from all, OneNet developed a plan for upgrades.
With thousands of patient records, seamless connections between St. Anthony Shawnee Hospital and its sister hospital in Oklahoma City are vital for patient health and timely service. Chuck Skillings, St. Anthony Shawnee Hospital CEO, welcomed the opportunity to increase the hospital’s data safety net.
“Our number one priority is data capacity,” Skillings said. “Increased bandwidth expands our ability to transmit data seamlessly between sites.”
An agreement was reached in 2015, and OneNet began construction. OneNet partnered with Dobson Technologies to bring fiber from the existing route to each location. To ensure reliability, OneNet used Vyve Broadband’s connections for redundant paths. These public-private partnerships increased savings for all consortium members.
The project was finished in July 2016. By eliminating redundant construction processes and utilizing available telecommunications companies, OneNet was able to provide significant cost savings while maintaining or increasing bandwidth.
“Partnering as a consortium made the process significantly more economical,” Skillings said. “We were able to make infrastructure plans as a group that would have been redundant if we had each worked alone.”
While the consortium is a group arrangement, each organization has its own tailored connection to meet individual needs, with an expansion option up to 10Gbps. As the city grows, the network can, too.
“This allows us to bring a sense of community improvement to the table,” Smith said.
As the project comes to a close after four years of collaboration, leaders are already looking to the future. Consortium participants impact almost every individual in the city, and leaders anticipate the new opportunities the enhanced connections will generate.
“As an organization with a mission to empower communities, OneNet sees the city of Shawnee as a potential model for other cities, too,” said OneNet Executive Director Von Royal. “When community service organizations increase reliability and cost-savings, the whole community reaps the benefits.”
For more information on OneNet, visit www.OneNet.net or call 888-5-OneNet.
Media Contact: Angela Caddell