OFN was recognized in the category of Digital Equality and Accessibility. The awards were designed to recognize the progress North American municipalities have made in implementing Smart Cities projects, as well as providing a forum for sharing best practices to help accelerate Smart City development in the region.
OFN turned its electric utility’s fiber-optic network into a municipal broadband service that provided a sustainable option within the city limits before COVID-19. During the pandemic, OFN helped the county’s rural schools with distance learning, especially families who did not have high-speed internet access, by installing Wi-Fi access points at ten schools. This provided free internet access from the parking lot so that homework could be downloaded and uploaded while parents and students remained in their vehicles, according to the City of Ocala.
OFN will be honored at Smart Cities Connect being held October 2021 in National Harbor, MD.