Austin, TX. (June 20, 2019) – Connected Texas recently launched a more than two-year program to connect and support the 1.45 million rural Texans who do not have access to high-speed (broadband) internet.
As part of that effort, Connected Nation is seeking a State Program Director with a passion for rural Texas communities who will provide primary management and administrative project oversight and support for Connected Texas’s state strategy. The Director will, among other things, guide the work of broadband capacity building, broadband inventory mapping, local and regional technology planning, broadband analysis and technical assistance, and research on broadband and related technology adoption throughout the Lone Star State.
“Texas families, businesses, and communities are being left out of opportunities and lack access to resources that many others across the country enjoy,” said Wynn Rosser, Ph.D., President & CEO, T.L.L. Temple Foundation. “Texas children aren’t able to complete homework assignments. Senior citizens are unable to access telehealth networks that could help them. Our small businesses and agricultural producers are being left out of a global market. That’s unacceptable which is why we’re taking action now to improve the lives of all Texans.”
According to data just released by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 31.1% of rural Texans lack access to high-speed internet. That’s compared to just 2.6% in urban areas. Connected Texas, with funding from the Texas Rural Funders Collaborative, has already started work that will help close that Digital Divide.
“This will be a three-pronged approach. We’re focused on getting good data in decision-makers hands, helping people learn about the benefits of broadband, and understanding the obstacles and opportunities for expanding access to rural Texans,” said Chris Pedersen, VP of Planning and Development, Connected Nation. “We want to empower Texas leaders—at the local and state level—with a neutral resource center and clearinghouse for broadband information. Our staff has already started working on statewide data collection and more but we need a strong leader who is on-the-ground in Texas to help guide this important work through the next few years.”
Connected Texas is a local subsidiary of the national nonprofit, Connected Nation. Its mission is to improve lives by providing innovative solutions to expand the access, adoption, and use of broadband and its related technologies to all people. Through Connected Texas the work will be laser-focused on rural Texas communities.
“This effort is meant to accelerate local technology growth in rural areas and increase the Lone Star state’s global technology competitiveness,” said Ellen Ray, Executive Director of the Still Water Foundation and Chair of the Texas Rural Funders Collaborative. “The Rural Funders are backing this effort because we believe every Texan should have access to the resources and opportunities that can improve their lives. Connected Texas will not only help our state identify ways to do that but the nonprofit has a history of working neutrally and with a focus on public-private partnerships. It will take all of us working together to improve broadband capacity and use across the state.”
Jessica Denson, Director of Communications
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About Connected Texas: Connected Texas is a local subsidiary of the national nonprofit, Connected Nation. Our mission is to improve lives by providing innovative solutions that expand access to and increase the adoption and use of broadband (high-speed internet) and its related technologies for all people. Everyone belongs in a Connected Nation.
Connected Nation works with consumers, local community leaders, states, technology providers, and foundations to develop and implement technology expansion programs with core competencies centered on a mission to improve digital inclusion for people and places previously underserved or overlooked. For more information, please visit: connectednation.org and follow Connected Nation on Facebook and Twitter.
About the Texas Rural Funders Collaborative: The mission of the Texas Rural Funders Collaborative (TRFC) is to partner with rural Texans to achieve their vision of prosperity and wellbeing. The group’s strategies recognize and are informed by rural expertise and assets. The TRFC leverages local, philanthropic, state and federal resources to collaborate on projects, support local capacity and leadership, share research, convene stakeholders and engage in advocacy. More information can be found on the TRFC webpage at: https://www.edtx.org/get-involved/texas-rural-funders-collaborative.
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