Company joins Anchor Network to aid area schools
Cross Communications is one of several telecommunications companies in the state to partner with the new Oklahoma Community Anchor Network (OCAN) to expand broadband services into Oklahoma’s rural communities.
The new partnership will help extend OCAN’s recently launched broadband network to area schools, health care providers, and public service providers.
“Cross Communications has delivered high-speed Internet to rural Oklahoma communities for over 12 years, and we have provided fiber services to facilitate connectivity between our schools and qualifying agencies, including OneNet’s hubs in Warner and Muskogee, since OneNet’s inception,” David Miller, president of Cross Communications, said in a media release.
“The new OCAN network creates additional opportunities for us to offer more cost effective fiber fed capacity and bandwidth options to our schools and qualifying institutions.”
Spanning more than 1,000 miles and impacting 35 Oklahoma counties, OCAN is specifically designed to offer high-speed Internet connections to rural Oklahoma communities.
The network was funded by a $74 million grant Oklahoma received from the National Telecommunication and Information Administration under the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program. Three agencies implemented the grant and built the network infrastructure: the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, Oklahoma Office of Management and Enterprise Services and Oklahoma Department of Transportation.
OCAN is managed by OneNet, a division of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.
Educational institutions, health care providers, public services and nonprofits can connect to the network through OneNet.
While OneNet can connect these community institutions, it is not designed to provide services to the private sector or residences.
“We will depend on public-private partnerships with local telecommunications companies, such as Cross Communications, to extend OCAN’s services to schools and nonprofit in the rural areas,” Sonja Wall, OneNet’s OCAN program manager, said in the release. “The partnership with Cross and other rural fiber providers will be vital to expanding services to these entities in many communities.”
The OCAN-Cross partnership will build on synergies already in place, the release states.
Cross Communications and OneNet have a long-standing partnership in providing Internet connectivity to community institutions, such as Connors State College’s Warner and Muskogee campuses, Checotah and Gore public schools and the Department of Health in Stigler. OneNet and OCAN provide middle-mile services, connecting qualifying entities in communities across the state, but depend on local telecommunications companies such as Cross to deliver services directly into OneNet’s customers’ buildings.
Connors State College has depended on Cross and OneNet to provide high-speed connectivity for faculty and students, and the new partnership through OCAN will enable the school to create additional educational opportunities for students.
“We have enjoyed a successful relationship with Cross for many decades,” Connors State College President Tim Faltyn said in the release. “We are proud of the services our partners at Cross have been providing, and we look forward to continuing that relationship for years to come.”
Services provided by Cross and OneNet enable Gore Public Schools to meet bandwidth requirements for state mandated testing.
The district recently upgraded to a connection 10 times faster than their previous connection.
“Without the new bandwidth, it would take us a lot longer to do testing,” Gore Superintendent Lucky McCrary said in the release. “We’ve advanced leaps and bounds over the last two years.”
Miller is looking forward to connecting more qualifying institutions to OCAN’s high-speed network.
“The partnership with the OCAN network is a win-win situation for everyone involved and creates huge benefits for our schools and nonprofits,” Miller said.