Rural Oklahomans now have a speedy new on-ramp to the information superhighway

Tuesday, January 10th 2006, 11:35 am
By: News On 6

Small towns are one of the last frontiers for high speed Internet, but more of them are being connected every day.

AT&T launched high speed service for several small towns Tuesday, including the Rogers County community of Oologah.

News on 6 reporter Emory Bryan says Barbara Holeman has a home office and snazzy computer, but it's painfully slow on a dial up Internet connection. “People don't want to wait, they get impatient, like I did, it's click, click, click, what's wrong with this?" But she won't have to wait much longer, because broadband internet service is now available in Oologah through AT&T.

The company showed off the service to a Chamber of Commerce crowd, and right after many of them wanted to see the map - and see who could get the service.

For now it's limited to homes no more than 3 miles from the center of town, but it will expand. Don Cain, President AT&T Oklahoma: "So it's coming, and even those people who live out there in the hinterland will be getting it at some point."

The service that's arrived in Oologah is coming to 64 other small towns over the next year. AT&T agreed to do it in a deal with state regulators to open up competition for the phone company.

Chairman of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission Jeff Cloud: "This is an incremental step, huge incremental step, if that makes sense, to try to bring high speed Internet service to most of Oklahoma."

Barbara Holeman: "I saw people looking, I signed up for sure." The Holeman family signed up for high speed, but AT&T is already backed up on orders. They’ll have to wait a little bit longer, even though their town is one of the first of the last to go high speed.

The other eastern Oklahoma towns that now have the DSL service through AT&T, are Weleetka, Rattan and Ketchum.