West Texas A&M University Champions Robust Connectivity for All

West Texas A&M University (WTAMU) is a public university located in Canyon, Texas, serving West Texas and the Panhandle and extending their curriculum to students worldwide. Their mission is to provide intellectually challenging, critically reflective, regionally-responsive, and inclusive academic programs that discover, interpret, apply, and disseminate knowledge for preparing the next generation of global citizens. The university prides itself on making a difference through their innovations and services.

Reliable, robust, and secure service — we are on the line every day 24/7. There’s no excuse

James Webb, CIO and VP of IT

WTAMU relies on connectivity throughout multiple campuses, and residential living, athletics, vendor interconnects, Veterinary and Nursing schools, online learning management systems, and more. For James Webb, CIO and VP of IT, this means he and his team are tasked to provide the university with maximum connectivity. "Reliable, robust, and secure service — we are on the line every day 24/7. There’s no excuse.”

As the successful university continues to grow, one of their biggest challenges is scaling bandwidth to keep up with the competing and exponentially growing needs of local and global students and administration and academic staff across multiple campuses, residents, and sports arenas. That’s where the relationship with Optimum Business is crucial.

The trustworthy partnership with Optimum began in 2013 when WTAMU had an outage with another connectivity provider. Optimum stepped in to help, and the quick response and unwavering support of the Optimum team has since led to the addition of over 20 additional services to the university's 10Gbps connection, ensuring reliable connectivity to local and international students across locations.

We turned to Optimum because we needed a provider who understood our challenges and who we could rely on

With the recent addition of the football stadium, the first in the nation with WiFi 6, Webb knew the school was really pushing the envelope for connectivity. “We turned to Optimum because we needed a provider who understood our challenges and who we could rely on to successfully scale WiFi 6 bandwidth for the stadium.” It was essential for the WiFi to work well when WTAMU hosted the NCAA playoffs and ESPN had to cross-connect their trucks for national broadcast in the high stakes and high-pressure situation. Since, Buffalo Stadium has been successfully named the best football stadium in Division II football.

Buffalo Stadium

According to Webb, “The relationship with our Optimum Account Team, Theo McGee, Tim Upp, and Mike Shaffer is paramount. We see a benefit to having a local provider who we can talk to on the phone and who will come to campus and sit down with us to understand our needs and develop the right problem-solving solutions. And for me, that’s the most important part. With our other providers, you may not even get through their phone call tree to talk to a person."

It is this relationship that has made transitioning more and more connectivity to Optimum as the primary provider. “We know we can rely on Tim Upp and the entire Optimum engineering team to coordinate with us even when we are making changes in our maintenance window close to midnight. We are on the phone making these changes to our networks with a real person on the phone. That’s unheard of with other larger providers. You cannot get through to an actual person, let alone get a status update. The people aspect has been the key for us. It’s been a really good experience over the last decade and as we continue to expand.”

Most recently, when the pandemic hit, Optimum also helped the university expand connectivity to the students and parents of local K-12 schools. Because the university had a wide-area network with Optimum, wireless access points were installed in the WTAMU on-campus parking areas. This provided WiFi for their local community to bridge the equity gap and improve users' performance. "It was so important for us to help our community," declared Webb, “and it’s ridiculous how fast it is.”

With the pandemic also spurring the Work from Home model, Webb and his team must also ensure West Texas A&M University’s staff and faculty remain securely up and running from their remote work locations. In addition to providing voice and desktop VPN through Optimum, the school will continue to work with Optimum to evolve their security needs to combat potential cyberattacks such as DDoS. "We have all the elements in place with layered security, but it's never enough. With Optimum, we will continue to evolve and ensure our secure connectivity because it's our lifeblood,” states Webb.

In fact, this past November, Web and the Optimum team worked together to upgrade to a 10GB link to the school’s new disaster recovery site in Amarillo to enhance business continuity for the university. This speaks to the speed and efficiency in which a partnership with Optimum helps get things done.

If you would like to take advantage of a successful collaboration leading to innovative solutions to help your business better achieve its goals, contact your Optimum Business Account Executive or call 866-220-2357.