Attracting Population Back to OurRural Areas

Kanokla celebrates and promotes the “return to rural” movement; a recent phenomenon of people leaving cities for a preferred quality of life in a rural area.  To incentivize this movement, Kanokla buries fiber optic connectivity to the new homes going up in many of our member areas, enabling work and livability with modern access to education, precision agriculture, telehealth, security, and economic development, including remote workability, to our areas.

Fifty years ago, rural communities were defined by industries based on their natural resources – farms, fisheries, forestry, mining, and tourism, but if the anchor industry shut down, the economy collapsed. Today, many of these same communities are experiencing a renaissance. Rural regions can provide early-state entrepreneurs with low-cost housing, commercial space, and internet connectivity. We can offer a lower cost of living to retirees, who bring their retirement income and professional experiences to the economy. For urbanites who have had it with crowds and crime, a growing number are embracing rural areas as places to reshape their professional and work lives to serve a high quality of life.  
Leaving the countryside to go to a city for jobs is so last century.  Kanokla areas are experiencing a wonderful reversal.  Returning to rural areas for high connectivity to the modern world while simultaneously living in the beautiful open countryside is taking hold.  We want to promote community projects that inject energy back into your communities, and we want to hear from you.  With our matching grants program, revolving loan program, scholarships, internships, robotics and IT camps, and capital credit refunds, our community service projects are many. Let’s connect and help your local city government and volunteer efforts get to the next level.  What is it that would move the needle and attract people to move back to your community?Timing is everything, and though tiresome to say, COVID caused terrible timing to affect our fiber optic project in our member areas in Osage County. It basically removed the ball from the playing field while moving the goal post at the same time.  I feel like a broken record in talking about the trials we’ve experienced with this project, but we have GOOD NEWS! Kanokla members in the Shidler, Webb City, Foraker, Grainola and Wynona areas will finally see progress in getting better connectivity delivered through the USDA Reconnect 50/50 Loan/Grant that has been on pause since early 2020.  The environmental review has been the central issue. The first review was rejected, and another is currently underway, rustling up anticipation and excitement!  The review is a lengthy 255 day process that, once approved by the Osage Nation Tribal Historic Preservation Office, will allow us to bid a contractor this winter and begin construction hopefully this spring.  

Meanwhile, back at the ranch… we have installed bandaids throughout the region to get better, faster internet to the area.  In addition to a new technology installed in four of our central offices in the region to allow faster speeds over copper telephone lines, we added fixed wireless connectivity (rooftops to towers) to help fill in the sparser rural spaces.  We can deliver high speeds over these technologies but need to bury fiber optic lines for the 40-year longevity plan through our wind-swept prairies.

Kanokla’s investment in the surrounding areas enable innovative ways to do more with less will be leveraged with the broadband grant opportunities through both Kansas and Oklahoma state broadband offices.  We have served our customers in the surrounding county seats of Medford, Cherokee, Newkirk, Anthony, Winfield and Wellington for over 20 years with our fixed wireless network. We are analyzing grants to extend our member-area fiber optic solutions to these non-member areas for future longevity with low maintenance and easier troubleshooting.  Meanwhile, we are testing new fixed wireless equipment in Medford that can deliver up to 1 Gig of symmetric connectivity in case the grant dollars are awarded to more densely populated areas.  
The areas that will not be easy to obtain grants will be the countryside between our cities.  Many of the grants prioritize population and anchor institutions in the specs. We will compete with a compelling case for why these areas need universal connectivity to enable everyone to participate in the modern world with smart home capabilities and future innovations for decades to come. Producing the nation’s food, fuel, and fiber is taking on new automation and technology every day, and we’re here for it, taking our hard working productivity to the next level with Kanokla broadband. 

We’re thrilled to introduce you to one of our newest employees at Kanokla, Erma Ratliff. Erma  joined us in February of this year as our Sales & Development Coordinator. Her role on our communications team is dedicated to community involvement, building partnerships, and ensuring our customers remain at the heart of everything we do. Her responsibilities extend to sales and supporting the growth of our company through new and existing business pathways. Erma comes to us from the City of Wellington, and she’s already making a significant impact within our organization.

Erma is not just a dedicated professional; she’s also a devoted family person. She resides in Wellington with her husband, Jeffrey, and their three children. In her free time, Erma enjoys quality moments with her family, passionately cheering for the Kansas City Chiefs, and indulging in a game of bingo. Or two.

Erma’s passion for community involvement began in 2012, and has grown exponentially since then. Erma is an active participant in various boards and organizations in Wellington. She serves as a board member at the Wellington Area Chamber of Commerce, the Wellington Recreation Center, the Wellington Lions Club, and the Wellington Young Professionals. Currently, Erma is spearheading a monumental project to enhance a local park in Wellington, with the goal of raising enough funds to install the community’s first-ever splash pad.  This month, she organized the 2nd annual cleanup day in Wellington, which more than doubled in participation and sponsorships from 2022.In recognition of her passion for community, Erma received the Wellington Young Professional of the Year award in 2022. She also earned the prestigious Kansas Department of Commerce NextGen Under 30 award, highlighting her dedication to personal and professional growth.

When asked what she is most looking forward to in her new role, Erma stated, “I am so excited to personally connect with our customers and meet the residents and businesses who play a pivotal role in making Kanokla great. I have ties to Caldwell and love the community involvement here, so I can’t wait to experience that in all of the Kanokla communities.” 

As your local broadband provider, Kanokla is committed to growing our communities’ cybersecurity success during Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2023 and beyond.

Founded in 2004, Cybersecurity Awareness Month, held each October, is the world’s foremost initiative aimed at promoting cybersecurity awareness and best practices. Cybersecurity Awareness Month is a collaborative effort among businesses, government agencies, colleges and universities, associations, nonprofit organizations, tribal communities, and individuals committed to educating others on online safety.

From mobile to connected home devices, technology is deeply intertwined with our lives. And while the evolution of technology accelerates, cybercriminals are working just as hard to find ways to compromise technology and disrupt personal and business life. For 20 Octobers and counting,

Cybersecurity Awareness Month aims to highlight some of the emerging challenges that exist in the world of cybersecurity today and provide straightforward actionable guidance that anyone can follow to create a safe and secure digital world for themselves and their loved ones.

Now in its 20th year, Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2023 continues to highlight the importance of cybersecurity in our daily lives and encouraging individuals and businesses to take important cybersecurity steps to stay safe online. It is true that cybersecurity is something we all play an important part in.

According to Devry University, human error accounts for 95% of cyber attacks, and research indicates 19 out of 20 breaches are the result of human error in some form.

This includes a range of human behaviors like downloading infected software, weak or irresponsible password management or  failing to install software updates that contain critical security patches.

The 2023 theme of Cybersecurity Awareness Month is Secure Our World, with the main messaging revolving around four key cybersecurity best practices:

Understanding the benefits of using a password manager and dispelling existing myths around password manager security and ease of use.
Turning on multifactor authentication on personal devices and business networks.
Recognizing and reporting phishing – still one of the primary threat actions used by cybercriminals today.
Installing updates on a regular basis and turning on automated updates.-