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Oklahoma State University

OSU’s Whitacre named to new Oklahoma internet accessibility council

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Photo of Harold Stephens and Brian Whitacre.
Harold Stephens (left) of OSU Extension learns firsthand from Brian Whitacre (right) how a mobile hotspot device will give area residents broadband access through the public library at Davis during a 2018 visit. Whitacre has worked with public libraries across Oklahoma to enhance local internet connectivity for years. (Photo by Todd Johnson, OSU Agricultural Communications Services)

Oklahoma State University’s Brian Whitacre has been appointed by the State Senate to serve on the new Oklahoma Rural Broadband Expansion Council.

The appointment of Whitacre – one of the nation’s leading researchers and outreach proponents on rural broadband accessibility and use – enhances the council’s mission to improve, expand and reduce the cost of high-speed internet connectivity in rural Oklahoma, said Tom Coon, OSU vice president of the university’s Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.

“The council is charged with creating recommendations for new policies and incentives, which is a focus of Dr. Whitacre’s work on behalf of Oklahomans and others throughout rural America,” Coon said. “Broadband access empowers Oklahomans to make use of digital services such as healthcare, entertainment, and job and education resources, while also being able to be more socially connected and personally fulfilled.”

Whitacre is enthusiastic about being a member of the council.

“The Oklahoma House and Senate are well aware of the importance of broadband access, and the council will help our state enhance efforts that OSU, cooperating public and private agencies and organizations, and community leaders have been doing to solve internet connectivity issues and concerns,” Whitacre said.

The holder of the Sarkeys Distinguished Professorship in Agricultural Economics, Whitacre also serves as an OSU Extension rural development specialist in addition to his research and teaching duties. Whitacre became an OSU Department of Agricultural Economics faculty member in 2006. He previously served on the faculty at Virginia Tech University and as a mathematician with U.S. Naval Surface Warfare Center.

The university’s Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources is comprised of the Ferguson College of Agriculture and two state agencies: OSU Extension and the Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station system.

MEDIA CONTACT: Donald Stotts | Agricultural Communications Services | 405-744-4079 | donald.stotts@okstate.edu

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