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Oklahoma Announces Broadband Initiative

in Broadband Data/Recovery Act/States by

WASHINGTON, June 24, 2010 –Oklahoma has announced its broadband initiative which will consist of two phases; the first phase will be mapping and data collection with the second phase consisting of broadband expansion.

In an innovative move by the Oklahoma Office of State Finance the state will ask citizens of the state to report their broadband speeds. The office was given a $2.1million grant to conduct their data collection and mapping effort.

In the first phase, they will collect data via the website and other unspecified activities. “This data will be consolidated onto a map of Oklahoma depicting what areas of the state are served, underserved and unserved by broadband. This will enable Oklahoma’s technology community to integrate information among the government, non-government, and private sectors, and for policy leaders to use comprehensive mapping data to make decisions for the allocation of resources to unserved and underserved areas.”

The expansion phase will be funded through three Broadband Technology Opportunities Grants which the state received with a grant total of $66.6million. The first grant awarded to Allegiance Communications for infrastructure to develop a fiber to the home project that spans Oklahoma along with Arkansas, Kansas, and Texas.  The project will give users a 20Mbps down and 4Mbps speeds and provide service to “12,700 households and 230 businesses in the four-state region. The project intends to directly connect 72 community anchor institutions, including 16 city halls, 12 police stations, 16 fire stations, 11 libraries, 16 schools, and one hospital.”

The second infrastructure grant given to Pine Telephone Company will provide service to “Isolated Southeastern Oklahoma/Choctaw Nation project plans to deliver affordable wireless broadband service to underserved areas of Southeastern Oklahoma, including the Tribal lands of the Choctaw Nation and its 10 counties.” The service will provide speeds of 3mbps down via 3G connections.

The final grant was given to One Economy which will spread $28.6 across 31 states and the District of Columbia to establish sustainable broadband adoption programs. “The project plans to implement four principal programs: training 2,500 youth to become “Digital Connectors” who will then provide digital literacy training to others in their communities; deploying localized broadband networks in public housing developments; developing online content and applications aimed at low-income, low-literacy audiences.”

Rahul Gaitonde has been writing for since the fall of 2009, and in May of 2010 he became Deputy Editor. He was a fellow at George Mason University’s Long Term Governance Project, a researcher at the International Center for Applied Studies in Information Technology and worked at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. He holds a Masters of Public Policy from George Mason University, where his research focused on the economic and social benefits of broadband expansion. He has written extensively about Universal Service Fund reform, the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program and the Broadband Data Improvement Act

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