Officials announce internet access plan, programs aimed to help Tulsans impacted by COVID-19

Collaborator: City of Tulsa
Published: 08/14/2020, 12:08 PM
Edited: 03/11/2021, 10:22 AM
(TULSA, Okla.) Governor Kevin Stitt, Mayor G.T. Bynum and officials from Tulsa Public Schools and Impact Tulsa announced this week the internet access plan for Tulsa residents and upcoming City of Tulsa programming for Tulsans impacted by COVID-19. City of Tulsa Internet Access Plan Beginning in April 2020, the City worked closely with Jenks Public Schools, Tulsa Public Schools, Union Public Schools and Impact Tulsa to launch the Internet Access Taskforce, a taskforce focused on identifying needs and building upon the work of school districts to find solutions to ensure Tulsa students and their families have the internet access they need to be successful. The taskforce identified the following data that drove this process: 15% of Tulsa County families have no Internet access at home through any means. 1 in 3 Tulsa households do not have “wireline” broadband needed for virtual meetings or online learning. It’s estimated nearly 57,000 households in the city of Tulsa and 20,000 Tulsa students do not have fast, reliable internet at home. Thanks to the partnership with Governor Stitt and the State of Oklahoma’s allocation of Coronavirus Relief Funds, the City will utilize $5.6 million to provide internet access to Tulsa families. “We have been working with our school districts and community stakeholders since April of this year to identify solutions for Tulsa families and students as our community navigates one of the worst pandemics of our lifetime,” Mayor G.T. Bynum said. “Through the use of CARES dollars, we will be providing better opportunity and internet access for more than 22,000 Tulsa families, providing a clear path for our children to receive the help they need with their education during this critical time in our city. I want to thank all of our stakeholders for their work on the Internet Access Taskforce and give a special thanks to the State of Oklahoma for providing funding to make this possible.” The Internet Access funding will be focused in three areas: $2.7 million will provide high-speed, reliable Wi-Fi to all Tulsa Housing Authority complexes – impacting nearly 2,500 families and more than 8,000 Tulsans. In partnership with Cox Communications, this program will provide free Internet for the next three years. $2.4 million will provide high-speed internet coverage for up to 20,000 public school families that currently lack an internet subscription. This funding will provide free Internet to families for the next year. $500,000 will fund internet access navigators through Tulsa Responds and Tulsa’s powerful network of non-profit organizations, ensuring families know about the subscription opportunities while providing a group of individuals that will help navigate technological challenges for students and families. "We are grateful to Mayor Bynum, the City of Tulsa, and ImpactTulsa for their leadership in convening the task force and working across sectors to create strong, sustainable internet access solutions for our students and families,” Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Gist said. “This is a wonderful example of how our entire city can work together -- from city government to school districts to non-profits and businesses -- with a common goal to address digital equity that affects not just student’s ability to learn, but our entire city’s ability to thrive. Our continued partnership is important to see this solution through and to make this a lasting change for our city. “After nearly four months, we’re still only beginning our journey to address digital equity. The funding for this first phase will go a long way toward connecting individual families with the support and services they need, and we’re excited to hear about other ideas that are still in the pipeline to provide even greater access throughout the city." “ImpactTulsa is proud to partner with the City of Tulsa for the Internet Access Task Force, and I am grateful for the leadership of Dr. Delia Kimbrel, ImpactTulsa’s Director of Research and Analytics, who has been an instrumental leader and relentless advocate for this effort to eliminate barriers to access,” Carlisha Williams, Executive Director of Impact Tulsa said. “The digital divide is one of the many inequities that has been exacerbated in the midst of the pandemic. A core principle in our collective impact work is the goal of transforming systems for more equitable outcomes. The internet access task force is a reflection of the power of data-driven problem solving and cross sector partnerships to rebuild equitable systems and align our resources as a community. On this shared journey we must never stop imagining the possibilities of what we can build together in this time of crisis.” City of Tulsa CARES Act Updates Under the CARES Act, federal funds were directly awarded to cities and counties with populations above 500,000. Tulsa (401,190) is the largest city in the state that did not receive a direct allocation. Last week, Governor Stitt announced the City of Tulsa would receive more than $30 million from the State of Oklahoma in CARES funding to support a multitude of community driven programs for Tulsans impacted by COVID-19. “I am excited to present the City of Tulsa with over $30 million from the Coronavirus Relief Fund," said Gov. Stitt. "Mayor Bynum and his team at the City of Tulsa have done a great job coming up with innovative ways to use this money to continue to fight COVID-19, support local businesses and help educate our children." With the State allocation, the City of Tulsa will roll out programming in the coming months in five major areas, including: Addressing unbudgeted costs incurred due to the public health emergency Making safety modifications to community facilities Supporting vulnerable Tulsans Providing job training, facilitating remote work, and supporting entrepreneurial ventures for COVID-19 displaced workers Increasing access to capital and helping small businesses establish an online presence Tulsa Health Department Situation Update – Aug. 13, 2020 To date, the Tulsa Health Department (THD) has confirmed 10,999 positive COVID-19 cases in Tulsa County. 9,545 residents have recovered and 113 have died. Test results are updated daily at For the most up-to-date news, information and business resources in Tulsa, visit The Tulsa Health Department continues to stress the importance of frequent handwashing, wearing a mask in public, and maintaining a distance of 6 feet from others. Additionally, seek out COVID-19 testing. The Tulsa Health Department offers specimen collection for COVID-19 testing by appointment only. Call 918-582-9355 to schedule an appointment or to speak with a public health professional.


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