Federal grant expands broadband internet into Bryan County

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DURANT, OK -- Parts of Bryan County now have faster internet speeds, as a new broadband access project makes its way into southeastern Oklahoma.

That access is through a $74 million federal grant the state received to bring broadband services across the state.

On Tuesday the Oklahoma Regents for Higher Education, Department of Transportation and Office of Management and Enterprise Services gathered at Southeastern Oklahoma State University to complete the three year project.

Chancellor Glen Johnson said it's a big day for rural Oklahoma.

"Expanded opportunities, not only for schools and our colleges and universities, but for hospitals, libraries - they're going to have addition broadband opportunities that were not previously available," he said.

The group - known as OCAN - has 33 anchor sites across the state, sites that physically house the equipment. One site is at SOSU.

"Our students will have better opportunities to enhance their education, to prepare themselves for tomorrow's workforce, by virtue of this grant," Johnson said.

Johnson said it also has statewide implications.

"We are in a global economy, as we know very well. As several of our speakers said today, this announcement puts Oklahoma right at the top of that effort. Right on the cutting edge," he said.

Patrons of the Donald W. Reynolds library are already enjoying the faster internet speeds brought in by OCAN.

"It's almost seamless. You don't notice how many people are using it because we have this broadband access," said library director Dottie Davis.

She said the library is often packed with people using the public computers or surfing the web on their laptops.

"They can even sit out in their car after the library has closed and use our Wifi service," she said.

OCAN says the next step is to partner with private companies to expand the broadband service throughout Bryan County.

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