Rogers County Board of Commissioners seal

One portion of a $32 million project will begin construction this week as approved at the Rogers County Commissioners regular meeting Monday

Atlas Broadband was awarded a $139K contract to build a tower and hardwire fiber lines to 88 houses in the Ruby Estates neighborhood in Inola.

Rogers County District I Commissioner Dan DeLozier said this project is one of many.

“What's what's happening here is a very big thing we need to keep this going and get it there,” he said.

DeLozier said the goal is to make sure everyone in the county has access to internet.

The estimated cost of providing internet access throughout the entire county is $32 million. Rogers County District II Commissioner Steve Hendrix said there is a provider who will match the project dollar-for-dollar. Hendrix said they are trying to raise $16 million.

Rogers County District III Commissioner Ron Burrows said the county has committed $2.2 million of the American Rescue Plan Act funds to the project and are looking for other entities – whether it’s the state or Cherokee Nation – to help fund the rest of the project.

“We’re looking at one of the major providers – that already has a plan – but they’re not going to move forward with out matching funds,” he said. “So, we’re looking for the state or the Cherokees to help us with that matching.”

DeLozier said projects are also planned in Oologah and Chelsea.

“We’ve got many more to come,” he said.

Burrows said they began with Ruby Estates because it has the weakest signal.

“If we can get broadband to the weakest community in Rogers County, we should be able to get it anywhere,” he said.

The project is contingent on receiving a SAMS number. Hendrix said a SAMS number is a federal identification number for each entity that receives federal money.

“We will obtain the SAM number is just a tedious process” he said. “And they're ready to get going with this project and so is the Town of Inola.”

The project works in tandem the federal Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), created by the Biden administration. Under the ACP, eligible households can receive $30 per month off of their internet bills.

Three different metrics determine if a household is eligible for the ACP credit — A household income under 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 participates in one of 10 governmental assistance programs or a someone meets the eligibility criteria for a participating broadband provider's existing low-income internet program. Anyone interested can sign up at getinternet.gov.

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