broadband office meeting minutes
(Mike Allen)

Among the many technologies we enjoy in the modern world, and perhaps take for granted, I think broadband internet access may be the most important.

There was once a time I considered it a luxury, some 20 years ago, when downloading a song could take days and worrying about a disconnect was legitimately stress-inducing. Truly, I could never have imagined how ubiquitous this fancy product would one day become. Almost every part of my work and home life relies on high-speed broadband to some degree, much like electricity or running water. And yet, there are many Oklahomans who don’t have access to it at all, and never have.

Well, it sounds like that may be changing in the near future. The Oklahoma Broadband Office has quite a bit of money at its disposal for just this purpose. The agency has its new director —to the pleasure of the governor — and the goal is to have 95 percent of the state connected to broadband by 2028, which is a lofty target given the scale of the project.

So far, the Oklahoma Broadband Governing Board — with Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell and State Treasurer Todd Russ as members — has shown an inability to maintain and produce records about its activities, with minutes from the March 3 board meeting unavailable at last week’s meeting.

“It is unusual. I can’t recall ever seeing that,” Mark Thomas, executive vice president of the Oklahoma Press Association, told NonDoc after attending last week’s meeting. “It shouldn’t happen again. Board members should sort of demand that they’re going to see the minutes to review what they approved at the prior meeting before they conduct more business.

“If I was on the board, I would basically say let’s stop the meeting until the minutes can be prepared.”

Supposedly, the Broadband Governing Board’s meeting minutes will be tracked down ahead of the March 31 gathering. When former Rep. Mike Sanders takes over as director, perhaps his first course of action will be to upgrade the agency’s ability to document activities.

Getting all residents of the state “up to speed” will be an even bigger challenge for the Broadband Office, but when Guymon plays Idabel in esports, we’ll know it was a success.

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