We show up. We do what it takes. We get it done.

At Kanokla, we take an active role in improving the lives of the people around us—by keeping them connected and by supporting our local communities. Much more than just another local internet provider, we offer a sprawling menu of high-quality services, and we embody a rich cooperative spirit. We approach every interaction dedicated to helping those in our care overcome every obstacle in their way—no matter what it takes.

Looking back, 2022 was a year of hard slow growth, building our future foundation. Nothing was fast or easy. It was worth the sweat and tears, it will stand the test of time, and launch us to our next-level customer service and easily scale up without headache or hassle like a springboard. With all of the changes needing to happen at the same time, it made it even more difficult to navigate, adding stress and testing our resilience.

We found both efficiency, effectiveness, and new functionality by streamlining all of our systems together under one roof for the first time EVER, which is finally finished and starting to make 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 for expectations of future needs and found the best tools and equipment. We have deployed a high quality router to ensure reliability and functionality of internet delivery throughout the home or business.  We chose the same manufacturer to convert our transport delivery over the next two years. 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 2022 for our completion of Phase I in Wellington, the largest competitive broadband opportunity in KanOkla history!  This initial phase laid out the mainline fiber throughout the town to allow us to build up and out in sections. We launched Phase II in the 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 Medford and Wellington, 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 future generations and vitality to the communities we serve.

2022 marked our 5-year anniversary since we acquired the Shidler Telephone Company. We are finishing up 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 this year.  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 speed and pricing migration to rightsize our customers to an appropriate speed plan. We’ve found over the years, many customers are not upgrading their speed package to accommodate the high number of devices entering their homes. Many had 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 (pictured on back) over the summer, groups of 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. 

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 ballroom 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.  We look forward to hosting our first Annual Meeting of the Membership here on Friday evening April 21, 2023. Watch for your official invitation in our spring newsletter. 

Team Sports Taken to the NEXT LEVEL

The first esports tournament took place on October 19, 1972 at Stanford University’s Artificial Intelligence Lab. Around two dozen players showed up to compete on their one computer a PDP-1. There were two challenges a five-man free for all and a team event. The first prize for the team event, won by Slim Tovar and Robert E. Maas, and the free for all, won by Bruce Baumgart, was a one-year subscription to Rolling Stone magazine. Fast forward to now and there are millions being made in the esports industry. The biggest purse in esports for many years has always been The International for Dota 2 simply known as T.I. In 2021 first place, Team Spirit, at the T.I. took home $18.2 million. Split between five players that’s a little over $3.6 million apiece.

The generations that grew up with the advances in the early 90’s and into the 2000’s in home consoles you didn’t need access to an artificial intelligence lab to play video games. All you needed was a console, controller, tv, and some friends. In the 2010’s now you don’t even need your friends to be present they just need their own console and you can play online together as long as you had an internet connection. That ease of access is what made gaming take off now you didn’t even need to leave your house to hangout with your friends. It became a way to relax with friends while still maintaining a little competition. Some people who were more competitive that others took that competition to the next level and started creating competitive leagues. Thus, Esports was born and they continued to grow until they became as massive as the T.I.

So, again why esports? Esports has taken the thing kids use nowadays to hang out and added a competitive edge to it. It used to be kids playing baseball, basketball, football, etc. on the street. Now kids don’t do that as much but they still want to hang out with their friends and they can from the comfort of their home. It used to be kids would go from the front yard to the school sports teams, now kids can go from playing video games in their bedroom to playing with a team sanctioned by the school. It gives the kids who are not traditionally athletic a chance to be a part of something they enjoy and be a part of a team.

Esports are video games played in a competitive setting. Most games that kids play nowadays have the option to play a competitive game mode with more restrictions made to simulate the professional leagues of these games. This gives the average player the chance to feel like they are playing the same game as the professionals.

As someone who didn’t want to go into field of education, I have found that coaching these kids as been quite enjoyable. While working with kids is difficult seeing them get to enjoy something they love and that I love and represent their school is a rewarding feeling and special because its something I didn’t get to do. This first year we have had about forty kids come out to compete in esports. We have kids competing in Brawlhalla, Halo Infinite, League of Legends, Rocket League, Valorant, and are looking to add more this spring. During the Fall season we had some success our Halo team placed 15 th out of 90 teams and our League of Legends team placed 3rd in the Kansas state tournament.