OKLAHOMANS PROJECTED TO BENEFIT
ESTIMATED PROJECT DURATION
more than 24 months
Greer; Harmon; Jackson; Kiowa; Tillman
The purpose of this project is to provide fast, reliable broadband coverage to unserved and underserved locations, which lack access to a high-speed internet. Data suggests many of Oklahoma's schoolchildren and adults spent the pandemic with sub-par access to high-speed internet, particularly in the state's poorer counties. Advocates say that "digital divide" across the United States is due in part to the lack of internet infrastructure in rural areas. One of the most troubling broadband disparities is that faced by poor or rural schoolchildren Through this project, Western Oklahoma State College (Western) will purchase and install the needed equipment, wiring, fiber, and software need to provide reliable broadband coverage to address the need in rural southwest Oklahoma. Funds will also be utilized installation services and network setup. This will allow not only the college students but also the surrounding communities to utilize high-speed broadband. Western will install access points to allow access to high-speed broadband from the institution?s parking lots. This project would also include providing high-speed broadband to Western?s Animal Science Education Center. This facility is an educational for Western?s Agriculture program, as well as the Rodeo Arena located approximately seven miles from the main campus.
According to the Federal Communications Commission, 22.3 percent of Americans in rural areas and 27.7 percent of Americans in Tribal lands lack coverage from fixed terrestrial 25/3 Mbps broadband, as compared to only 1.5 percent of Americans in urban areas. Advocates say that "digital divide" across the United States is due largely to two factors: a lack of internet infrastructure in rural areas and the relatively high cost of broadband in urban centers that, for some people, is simply unaffordable. The most troubling broadband disparities is that faced by poor or rural schoolchildren.
Over 14% of Oklahoma?s population live in poverty. Western?s nursing program serves 10 counties in the southwest Oklahoma. Among these counties, three have a poverty rate of greater than 20%. These include Tillman County-21.1%, Harmon-23.9% and Greer-26%. Almost 40% of Oklahoma?s population belongs to a racial/ethnic minority group. Research demonstrates health disparities in COVID-19 outcomes in the U.S., with members of racial and ethnic minority groups experiencing higher risks of COVID-19 positivity and disease severity. Further, socioeconomic and racial disparities in access to affordable healthcare options limit prevention education and treatment options for COVID-19, as well as many other chronic health conditions. Individuals identifying as white in Oklahoma are more likely to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 whereas Hispanics and Native Americans are overrepresented in the number of positive COVID-19 cases in the state. Increasing the number of nursing degree program graduates in Oklahoma aligns directly with the state?s efforts to improve health outcomes and health equity for its citizens.
Western will collect data annually to measure project outcomes. Evidence of project success include: increased access to broadband for students; increased access to broadband for the service area community; increased broad band speeds for both students and the community.
ONGOING INVESTMENT AMOUNT
ONGOING INVESTMENT DESCRIPTION
ONGOING INVESTMENT REQUIRED
One-time project will not need continued funding
Investments in Water, Sewer, and Broadband
Broadband: Other projects
FEDERAL GRANT AMOUNT
FEDERAL GRANT DESCRIPTION
Two Trio Grants, Carl Perkins Grant
Data source: Oklahoma Office of Management and Enterprise Services / More information »