Rural broadband project still moving forward

SKIATOOK, Okla. — The rural broadband project for Grayhorse and Bowring remains a work in progress, but forward movement is still happening.   

At the Jan. 15 Osage LLC board of directors meeting, Rick Perrier confirmed that a required agreement with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation for the Grayhorse portion of the project has been finalized and sent on to the tribe’s executive branch for approval.

“We’re in communication with their office,” Perrier said.

The agreement has to be executed before bids can be solicited to begin construction on fiber optics.

Engineering work is still underway on the Bowring portion of the project.  

The endeavor is funded through a $3 million Community Connect grant through the U.S. Department of Agriculture and a $450,000 matching money appropriation from the Osage Nation Congress. As per the USDA website, the grant program helps finance broadband deployment into rural communities where it is not fiscally feasible for private businesses to provide coverage.

The Grayhorse and Bowring rural broadband projects have been delayed through a combination of factors, including a belated agreement between the Osage Minerals Council and the Oklahoma Department of Transportation over the right of way access and the discovery of the American burying beetle along the proposed route for the fiber optic cable.