The Internet Project Kicks Off This Week: Project Includes Construction of Tower, Fiber Optic Cabling to 88 Homes in Ruby Estates | New
Part of a $32 million project will begin construction this week, as approved at the regular meeting of Rogers County Commissioners on Monday
Atlas Broadband has won a $139,000 contract to build a tower and cable fiber lines for 88 homes in the Ruby Estates neighborhood of Inola.
Rogers County District I Commissioner Dan DeLozier said the project is one of many.
“What’s happening here is a really big thing that we need to keep going and get there,” he said.
DeLozier said the goal is to make sure everyone in the county has internet access.
The estimated cost of providing countywide Internet access is $32 million. Rogers County District II Commissioner Steve Hendrix said there is a vendor who will match the project dollar for dollar. Hendrix said they were trying to raise $16 million.
Rogers County District III Commissioner Ron Burrows said the county has committed $2.2 million of American Rescue Plan Act funds to the project and is seeking other entities — whether the State or Cherokee Nation – to help fund the rest of the project.
“We are looking at one of the major vendors – who already have a plan – but they won’t go ahead without matching funds,” he said. “So we are looking for the state or the Cherokees to help us with this correspondence.”
DeLozier said projects are also planned at Oologah and Chelsea.
“We have many more to come,” he said.
Burrows said he started with Ruby Estates because it has the weakest signal.
“If we can get broadband in the weakest community in Rogers County, we should be able to get it anywhere,” he said.
The project is dependent on receiving a SAMS number. Hendrix said a SAMS number is a federal identification number for each entity that receives federal money.
“Getting the SAM number is just a cumbersome process,” he said. “And they are ready to launch this project, as is the city of Inola.”
The project works in tandem with the federal Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), created by the Biden administration. Under the CPA, eligible households can receive $30 per month off their internet bills.
Three different measures determine if a household is eligible for ACP credit – Household income below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines ($27,180 for a household of 1, $36,620 for 2, $55,500 for 4) , someone in the household is participating in one of 10 government assistance programs, or someone meets the eligibility criteria for a participating broadband provider’s existing low-income internet program . Anyone interested can register at getinternet.gov.