OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A push to bring high speed broadband internet to all of Oklahoma made its way to Oklahoma City in the Ronald J. Norick Downtown Library on Monday. It’s a listening tour that the Lt. Gov. and other state officials are going on called “Let’s Get Digital.”
“We thought that high speed Internet would be a luxury or was a luxury. Well, we know now that’s not the truth,” said executive director of the Oklahoma Broadband Office Michael Sanders. “We know it’s a way of life.”
Getting connected and staying connected is the goal of the Oklahoma Broadband office during their multi-stop statewide tour.
Several state officials will be making more than a dozen stops across the state to hear from people, schools, tribal leaders and more about our broadband needs in Oklahoma.
“We’re really excited,” Sanders said. “The feedback that we’re getting from our folks.”
According to the state broadband office, more than 800,000 Oklahomans don’t have access to dependable internet.
Also, 30 percent of our population was designated “underserved” with access to fewer than two wired internet providers.
According to the Oklahoma Farm Bureau, the tour also comes about four years after Kansas City’s branch of the federal reserve bank ranked Oklahoma bottom five in the country for broadband connectivity.
“Our goal is to take care of those 800,000 plus Oklahomans that are unserved and underserved,” Sanders said.
Another big problem Oklahomans are having with broadband is the cost.
So, as they continue to travel and learn more, Sanders said they want to use that information to build a 5-year plan in “connecting” the state.
“We’ve got a lot of great things coming here in Oklahoma, very excited we’re in the position that we’re in,” he said.
The Oklahoma Broadband Office was created in 2022 and funded by ARPA funds, to bring high-speed broadband to 95% of Oklahoma households by 2028.
The tour started on May 8 and will wrap up in Woodward on June 23.