Since OneNet’s beginnings, our service model has been built on public-private partnerships. These partnerships have been instrumental in delivering broadband services to research, education, health care and public service communities across the state.
OneNet depends on public-private partnerships, because we are a middle-mile service provider. We connect communities across the state and provide an upstream Internet connection from our network to the rest of the world. We depend on local telecommunications and cable companies to provide the connection from our network to the customer’s site, which is called the last-mile connection. With this connection, we are able to operate a network that reaches every corner of the state.
Through these connections, OneNet has enhanced the quality of service for many of our rural customers and assisted them with finding affordable broadband options. Many of our customers would not be able to afford the services they need without the partnerships between OneNet and our last-mile providers.
The viability driven by these public-private partnerships is vital not only to serving rural customers, but also to rural economic development. These partnerships enable us to build upon commercial opportunities within local communities.
As we seek solutions to improve and expand the services for rural customers, OneNet drives a need for enhanced network capabilities in areas without Ethernet services. Through our last-mile partnerships, we advocate for new infrastructure that will deliver the broadband capabilities our rural customers need. This drive for higher bandwidth creates positive economic opportunities in both the public and private sectors, as last-mile providers are better positioned to serve private industry and residents.
In addition to driving bandwidth growth, last-mile partnerships allow OneNet to support economic growth through reinvestment in the community. Although OneNet is a state agency, a majority of our customer fees are invested back into the community through purchasing last-mile services. Last year, OneNet paid last-mile providers $10.8 million to connect customers to our network. These customer fees are returned back to the community to support local broadband services.
Because OneNet is reliant on our last-mile partners, we realize the key to successful partnerships is open, effective communication. We have made it a priority to actively reach out to our partners to improve communication and business interactions. We make conscious decisions to increase levels of communications between organizations by conducting roundtable meetings to find synergy with our partners. By understanding each other, we are better able to serve our customers and create more partnership opportunities that will benefit communities across the state.
As OneNet’s executive director, I want to express my appreciation for those who have partnered with us for the last 20 years. We stand committed to growing our partnerships with last-mile providers across the state. Thank you to each of the providers who partner with us. Your partnership is key to not only OneNet’s success, but also the success of our great state.