286,908 households across Texas still lack access to federally recognized broadband speeds
Austin, TX (August 10, 2021) – Connected Nation Texas (CN Texas) just published updated broadband coverage maps for all 254 counties in the state. This fourth update provides a clearer picture and new insights about access to high-speed internet in Texas.
“This updated data comes at a critical time for Texas leaders at all levels of government. They are currently deciding how to spend billions of dollars in economic-relief funding received through the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds which can include connectivity projects*,” said Jennifer Harris, state program director, CN Texas. “In addition, as much as $65 billion is expected to be set aside nationally for broadband in the upcoming federal infrastructure bill. Our leaders need better data so that they are confident that these investments go to help unserved and underserved Texans.”
The broadband coverage maps were last updated in December 2020 before the current funding was announced. At that time, more than 315,000 households were unserved at 25 Mbps download/3 Mbps upload (listed in the maps as 25×3) which is what the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) classifies as high-speed internet.
“We improve upon our broadband coverage mapping data through public feedback, working with providers to refine their data, and continued field validation,” said Ashley Hitt, Vice President, GeoAnalytics, Connected Nation (CN). “Since December, the data shows an uptick in the number of households that now have high-speed internet speeds. Each time we update these maps we learn something new, and we are getting closer to the data truly reflecting what broadband coverage looks like across Texas.”
The key findings from the new data include:
- 286,908 households remain unserved at 25×3 speeds.
- Overall availability decreases from 96.78% at 25×3 speeds to 92.05% at 100×10 speeds.
- Rural availability drops significantly as speeds increase, especially compared to overall Texas availability. For rural areas, availability decreases from 91.50% at 25×3 speeds to 78.9% at 100×10 speeds.
CN Texas released the initial maps in January of 2020 and updated maps in late July and again in December. Each new set of maps includes additional input from residents and communities, as well as new, more granular data from internet service providers (ISPs). CN Texas will continue working to refine the broadband coverage maps by reaching out to all broadband providers across the state for new, updated, and revised information on service areas and speeds to impact the next series of broadband maps and analyses.
In addition to state-level maps, each new county has four maps based on four different download and upload speeds for internet service. You can find your county map and review its updated information and provide feedback by heading to https://connectednation.org/texas/mapping-analysis/.
You can also find an interactive map at https://connectednation.org/texas/interactivemap.
“We began this work before the onset of the pandemic in response to the need we were seeing in our rural communities,” said Kelty Garbee, Executive Director, Texas Rural Funders (TRF). “At that time, we often had to explain to others why we need to work on expanding internet to every Texan—no matter where they lived. Now, after having to work, learn, and access our doctors from home—I think all of us have seen how important it is to not only have access to the internet, but to have it at speeds that can handle our increasingly digital world.”
CN Texas launched a four-pronged approach in late 2019 to improving access for all Texans: working directly with broadband providers to obtain accurate broadband service coverage areas; focusing on getting good data to decision-makers; helping people understand the benefits of broadband; and understanding how we can expand broadband access and use to rural Texans.
By working in partnership with local stakeholders, internet service providers, and community and state leaders, the hope is to identify ways to connect every community in the state.
“This map would not be possible had it not been for the participation of the broadband providers and the cooperation of the telecommunications trade associations across the state. We want to take this opportunity to thank those broadband providers that worked so closely with us over that last two years,” said Chip Spann, CN Vice President of Engineering and Technical Services.
*Get the latest on current broadband-related funding by heading to https://connectednation.org/current-broadband-funding/.
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About Connected Nation Texas: CN Texas is a local division 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: The mission of the Texas Rural Funders (TRF) 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. TRF 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 TRF webpage at https://texasruralfunders.org/.
Jessica Denson, Communications Director
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