The Covid-19 pandemic revealed and greatly exasperated a digital divide within the City of Broken Arrow. Broken Arrow is the fourth largest city in Oklahoma, and one of the fastest growing cities in the state. Such great growth often comes with significant changes at a neighborhood level, and it is not unusual to see differences in demographics emerge. However, this was intensified by the pandemic and a move to remote learning across schools. For Broken Arrow families with school age children, the ability to remain engaged suddenly depended on the speed and availability of high-speed broadband Internet. While this was also true for many families at a work level, it was the children who were the most negatively impacted. In addition, neighborhoods of lower income families and their students found themselves on the wrong side of a suddenly larger digital divide, creating a disparity contributed to by the area?s high cost of suitable broadband service and lack of providers. These children have been effectively left behind, especially in a world that will continue to utilize home-based broadband connectivity in some capacity going forward. To directly address this disparity and establish a foundation for future technology innovation and growth, the City of Broken Arrow is moving forward with a Broadband Initiative to provide the opportunity for low-cost Internet Service utilizing the federal funding provided by American Rescue Plan Act funds.


The critical need for this project has been termed as a significant digital divide among families within the City of Broken Arrow. While this existed prior to the pandemic, the impacts of and responses to COVID-19 have made this digital divide much more pronounced. Simply put, a larger number of families and neighborhoods within Broken Arrow cannot afford appropriate high-speed Broadband despite its commercial availability. Figure 2 in our submitted project document shows this graphically utilizing data from Broken Arrow Public Schools and Union Public Schools superimposed over the most current data from the FCC.


The combined Broken Arrow and Union school data depicted in our attached project document utilizes the count and location of students who participate in two lower family income programs ? the Reduced Lunch program, and the Free Lunch program. This data is plotted across the city and within the respective school districts within the city limits. The FCC data shows available broadband speeds across city neighborhoods color coded appropriately to the speed of the available connection. Both school districts have internal data that show the students who participate in the Reduced and Free lunch programs have minimal or no available Internet service at home. Excepting for the most affluent neighborhoods within the city limits, large clusters of students and their families are grouped in swaths throughout the neighborhoods of the city and represent those lower economic conditions. Both school districts have over 75% of their students within the City of Broken Arrow participate in these programs, and many are not able to afford appropriate broadband. This encapsulates the "digital divide" we are seeing in Broken Arrow.


This effort will be managed in accordance with Project Management Institute (PMI) methodologies with a city-assigned project management team. The track record of success of large-scale projects for the City of Broken Arrow is because of internal project management. Project performance is measured on the achievement of critical milestones, the mitigation of risks, and the containment of project scope. Ultimately a successful project is one that comes in at or under budget and on or under time. Project management oversight, committed executive stakeholders, and a strong approach has produced successful delivery of similar large scale projects.






One-time project will not need continued funding


Investments in Water, Sewer, and Broadband


Broadband: Other projects




The City of Broken Arrow has previously received various federal grants for public safety, road, and water infrastructure and anticipates receiving more in the future.




Municipal government entity

Data source: Oklahoma Office of Management and Enterprise Services / More information ยป