How to get into Tulsa’s tech industry
Tulsan Tech, which is building a high-speed fiber optic network that can connect the world’s fastest Internet to schools, hospitals and offices, is the latest in a series of businesses to jump into the burgeoning sector.
Tulsan is one of just four states in the country to have its own fiber optic service and the nation’s fourth largest Internet provider by revenue.
It’s also among a handful of tech startups to have taken a lead role in building their own fiber networks, including Tango, a company that provides a secure network for telecommunication companies and other technology companies, and BitPay, a payment processor that works with merchants to handle payment for digital goods.
For a while now, the tech industry has been struggling to find a foothold in the state, which has a population of just over 7 million and the eighth-largest city in the nation.
Texas Tech’s tech startups are building networks that connect businesses, schools, schools and hospitals.
They’re trying to attract young, educated tech workers who have been attracted by its tech scene and other places that have a competitive advantage in the sector, said David Lueck, who runs Tulsas research lab, Tulsans Institute for Data Science and Analytics.
Tech companies are seeing that Texas has a good tech ecosystem.
And they’re coming here because they see that the state has the infrastructure and the opportunity, he said.
Tech companies have been trying to build networks to connect with schools, but the Texas Education Agency (TEA) has been slow to embrace their efforts.
Tech startups have been able to apply for funding, but only if they have a connection to a school that the schools district already serves, said Teneycke.
The TEA has said it wants to see a better system of data sharing.
The agency also wants to know how many students live in a school district and how many live in homes where schools are connected, she said.
Teachers have been working with the agency for years to get a better understanding of where students live, how much money students spend on schools, and what kinds of services students receive, said Elizabeth A. Leach, a teacher at Tulsahoe Middle School who helps run the district’s Tech Tech program.
The program connects teachers with technology companies and their customers and helps them to connect students with resources, such as computers, laptops, and phones, she explained.
The districts most expensive broadband customers are Tulsaic and St. Joseph’s, which each have $200 million in commitments, and West Dallas, which will soon have $80 million in pledges.
The money will be used to provide broadband service to students, teachers and their families, said Scott McDaniel, vice president for technology and public affairs at TCCS, a nonprofit that helps finance tech companies.
The TCCs tech network is the fastest in the world and the fastest growing in the U.S., said John J. Fagan, president of the Texas Commission on Higher Education.
The company is also using the network to help schools connect to high-tech companies in the industry.
The network will connect to schools in all 50 Texas counties, including Travis, Denton, Laredo, El Paso, Plano, Richardson, San Antonio and Dallas, he added.
Tech schools that have already signed up are already being used by more than 300,000 students, said Brian Koczela, a spokesperson for TCC.
Tulsa Tech is one example of startups looking to get in the broadband game in the Texas Tech industry.
The startup is partnering with Texas Tech to offer free broadband to students who have already enrolled at TTS, said Jennifer J. Mankiewicz, the company’s president and chief technology officer.
TCC also is helping with the school district’s outreach to students interested in tech careers, she added.
Mankiewicz said the TTS district is using the program to provide free broadband at schools and provide training and resources to students.
The company’s new network is also the first to connect to the TCC’s fiber network in Texas.
The district has been testing the network, she noted.
Tech school districts are looking to expand the network into other areas of the state in the future, she also said.
TTS is also exploring how to help students access their free broadband and help them get jobs in tech.
We are trying to connect our school district to a network of providers, and we’re doing that by partnering with other local districts and technology companies,” said J.T. Loepp, TTS CEO.
A TCC spokesperson confirmed the new network will eventually connect to a new fiber network, but would not say when.