Special to The Sun
To the Editor:
Discussion continues in The Edmond Sun publications regarding upgrading and consolidating information technology resources in state government. While I respect the viewpoint that has been expressed so far, certain facts should be taken into consideration that directly affect the University of Central Oklahoma and the 17,000 students we serve.
UCO and 373 other sites, including colleges and universities, K-12 schools, Career Technology centers, hospitals and libraries, gain significantly from our collaborative relationship with OneNet, the state’s telecommunications network, and the consolidated fiber network it provides. A major benefit is significant cost savings. Any assertion to the contrary is not an accurate reflection on our experience at UCO.
Our partnership with OneNet saves the university more than $120,000 annually in Internet services alone. Overall, the Oklahoma State System of Higher Education currently is achieving a cumulative savings of $88 million in a two-year period.
Further, UCO benefits significantly from educational discounts and membership in Internet 2 and the National Lambda Rail, both of which are vital to our growing research efforts. All of these benefits and services are only available to educational entities. A change in the operational structure of the OneNet system by moving it under the supervision of Oklahoma’s Chief Information Officer would eliminate that benefit and cost UCO more money while depriving our students and faculty of the tools they need to be competitive globally.
The current system works. The connectivity provided by OneNet is highly collaborative, operated efficiently and results in significant cost savings. It would be completely counterproductive and detrimental to the state of Oklahoma to convert it to a centralized, one-size-fits-all approach.
DON BETZ is president of the University of Central Oklahoma.