A year of change
Looking back, 2022 was a year of hard growth, future-building. Though nothing came fast or easy, it will stand the test of time and springboard us to next-level customer service and scalability. We found efficiency, effectiveness, and new functionality by streamlining all of our systems together under one roof for the first time EVER, making work easier for our employees. This is crucial to bring ease and relief to our teams so we can better serve our customers, now and in the future.
We raised the bar of future expectations, deploying the best tools and equipment to ensure reliability and functionality of internet delivery throughout the home or business. We rolled out two KanOkla apps to make our customers’ lives easier: one for managing your Wi-Fi environment; the other to easily see and pay your bill, with future features to make changes to your service.
Fiber Construction was heavy and will be for the next few years. We celebrate the completion of Phase I in Wellington, the largest competitive broadband opportunity in KanOkla history. This initial phase laid mainline fiber throughout the city to allow us to build up and out in sections. We launched Phase II in late fall, which picks up where our Mayfield to Wellington construction grant left off, filling in the west section of town. We installed new central office hubs in both Wellington and Medford, and will be placing Cherokee’s hub in 2023.
Connecting fiber to new homes going up in our member communities has been constant & heartwarming. The “return to rural” to live, work, and raise a family is at the heart of our coop’s economic drive to create vitality to the communities we serve and our future generations.
2022 marked our 5-year anniversary since we acquired the Shidler Telephone Company. We just finished a fiber construction project to remove the capacity bottleneck to our Shidler areas, bringing much relief to their limited access while waiting for our Reconnect construction to begin. It has been a long battle of regulatory tug of war to get our USDA project off the ground and running. We can finally see daylight at the end of the environmental tunnel, and will begin tying our networks together in 2023 as we begin fiber-to-the-home construction in our member areas in Osage County.
We finished the year with a massive internet service plan overhaul, rightsizing our customers to a speed plan that will work for them now and in the future. We see the majority of the traffic on our network is video streaming, and the bandwidth requirements for a smooth video stream of our favorite shows and movies have increased year over year because of new technology demands. It’s estimated 27 billion devices will be connected to the internet by 2025, and we had many customers using the same internet package from 10 years ago, giving them a terrible home experience for what their modern family and home required. Timing the new website launch with the migration couldn’t happen, but the new site is fantastic and will launch in a few weeks!
With all the changes in 2022, we welcomed many new faces! We had a record of 7 interns over the summer, work study students during the spring and fall semesters, and hired 6 new employees. We also celebrated milestone anniversaries of 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, and 35 years! KanOkla has a great mix of new and seasoned employees.
Exciting things to come in 2023:
KanOkla has a new, refreshed logo with new colors, signifying both strength and new horizon; still recognizable but with a modern font and forward leaning K. Our new website will be launching in the next weeks, making a very complicated company and industry appear easy to our customers. This allows us to create and enhance the convenience of digital interaction that many prefer, freeing our phones up to better help our customers.
The Upstairs Downtown space above our retail store in Caldwell has been ushered into the current century with reinforced floors, new wiring, plumbing, networking, new roof, lodging, and spaces to host our annual meetings, employee meetings, company celebrations, strategic workshops, digital literacy classes for our customers, and youth IT camps & entrepreneurship classes. Maximizing our existing unused space aligns with our need to maximize our current assets for future growth to serve the next generation.