Delivering high-speed broadband to Oklahoma’s rural communities is a challenge Bruce Shelley knows all too well. As superintendent of Kildare Public Schools, Shelley has depended on OneNet to provide the Internet connectivity their students and teachers need.
Kildare was running on one T1 line until they added another line just last year. Although they saw some improvements, the connection was still not what they were hoping for.
“Our connection speeds made it very difficult to get our student’s access to the Internet,” Shelley said.
Most days, it was unfeasible for Shelley to even use his computer until after the students went home, because he couldn’t connect to the Internet while others were connected.
He felt as if he wasn’t able to get his work done in a timely manner, because he had poor connection to the Internet.
This year, Shelley looked to OneNet for a new solution. OneNet is currently working with schools to phase-out T1 connections and provide upgrades to higher bandwidths.
OneNet researched several options to improve Kildare’s Internet connection. We looked at traditional wired LAN lines, but a solution for Ethernet bandwidths was unavailable. Our team ultimately teamed up with SkyRider Communications for a wireless solution for the school. OneNet depends on local telecommunications and cable companies to provide last-mile services for our customers. Public-private partnerships, like the one with SkyRider, make it possible for OneNet to deliver services to every corner of the state.
The partnership with SkyRider enabled the OneNet team to better serve Kildare’s connectivity needs. After reviewing OneNet’s proposal, Shelley decided to go with wireless to see if it would help.
On the evening Shelley was switching over to the school’s new connection, he discovered something wasn’t exactly right. SkyRider had everything set up for Kildare on their end, but Shelley could not figure out how to make the connection to OneNet.
He called OneNet’s network operations center for help. The OneNet engineering team tried to trouble-shoot over the phone but couldn’t find the right solution. Striving to provide the best possible service, three OneNet engineers loaded up and drove out to Kildare to see if they could fix the problem. When they arrived around 9:15 p.m., they immediately began investigating how to get everything working properly. After a couple of hours on the job, the OneNet team had not only discovered the issue but also had it fixed.
Robert Nordmark, OneNet’s director of network services, said it’s not unusual for his team to make a site visit.
“If that’s what it takes to get our customers connected, we’re glad to be able to hit the road and make a visit,” Nordmark said.
Shelley was very thankful for all of the extra help to get his Internet set up to perfection that day.
“OneNet really goes above and beyond to make sure I am satisfied with their services,” Shelley said.
A strong, reliable Internet connection is imperative for Kildare Public Schools. The school has seven students who depend on the Internet connection for speech therapy services, which allows students to interact with therapists through video conferencing.
During the time Kildare was having issues with their Internet connection, the speech therapy services did not work for a month. If the speech therapy connection not been fixed, the school would have been forced to hire a therapist to visit the school. This would have been costly and very difficult to manage. With the school’s new wireless connection, the students now interact seamlessly with their therapists.
The new connection not only ensures quality video conferencing for the speech therapy program, but it also helps in other classrooms utilizing technology.
“I am so happy with the new Internet connection, because it means that our students get access to our programs much faster, which means more time for learning,” said Kellie Heppler, teacher assistant at Kildare Public Schools.
“When I call OneNet, no matter who I talk to, from billing all the way to customer support, I get the utmost respect,” Shelley said.
This is one of the reasons that Shelley has remained a customer of OneNet’s for several years. While other service providers are available, he said OneNet stays the best option in his eyes.
“We are always on the lookout to make sure that our customers get the assistance they need, so they will remain a part of the OneNet network for years to come,” Nordmark said.
“With all of the help that OneNet and SkyRider have given us, it has made our educational life much easier,” Shelley said.