INOLA, Oklahoma. — Hybrid high-speed Internet access is now available in the homes of some Inola residents, but the ultimate goal is to get it to all rural communities in Rogers County.
Ruby Estates, a neighborhood in Inola, was the first neighborhood to gain hybrid internet access with $139,000 in funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), according to the county’s CIO of Roger, Brett Williston.
Staff from Atlas Broadband, Oologah, installed an internet tower and fiber optics in the neighborhood this week. The company started with just three people in 2002, and now it’s a team of 30, according to owner/CEO Milos Milenkovic.
“We decided to try a model where we will do point-to-point wireless from where very fast internet is available for the targeted housing edition,” he said.
Milenkovic’s team builds the towers and installs them in neighborhoods. He says the rides are good for around 15-20 miles and don’t require long cables. He said it’s important for rural communities, like Ruby Estates, because they don’t have existing fiber connections in the ground.
“I believe the nearest fiber connection [in Ruby Estates] is more than eight miles, I believe, from there,” Milenkovic said.
Rogers County leaders say for nearly three years they have listened to the concerns of residents in Inola and other towns about the need for fast internet.
Williston said ARPA paid money for the hybrid launch to Ruby Estates. He said it would cost about $20 million to bring hybrid high-speed Internet access to all underserved residents of Rogers County, just under 14,000 people.
Rogers County staff said they are expected to announce another broadband Internet project even bigger than Ruby Estates next week.
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