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Texas County Communities Hero Newv2

Fisher County Texas


The Broadband Team in Fisher County has completed its community technology assessment. The results of this assessment can be found by clicking the symbol for each of the sections below. The Solutions sector includes recommended actions the community can implement to improve the broadband and technology ecosystem at a local level. It should be noted that the assessment was conducted during the global COVID-19 pandemic. This worldwide event likely impacted many of the metrics included in this assessment.

Connected Infrastructure in Fisher County, Texas

Broadband access refers to the infrastructure that enables a high-speed internet connection. There are two primary types of broadband connections: fixed and mobile.

Fixed broadband is delivered to a user via several technology platforms including cable, digital subscriber line (DSL) over phone line, fiber optics, and fixed wireless. Fixed broadband is designed for stationary use at a fixed location such as a home, business, or institution. From one location, however, fixed broadband service is often broadcast as a Wi-Fi network to connect nearby devices.

The map below shows broadband availability in Fisher County.

Recommended Actions

To understand what broadband looks like in a community, it is important to properly define it. In the simplest terms, broadband is high-speed internet that is always on. Broadband is understood to be faster than traditional dial-up service and includes several high-speed transmission technologies, such as fiber and cable. According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), broadband capability requires consumers to have access to actual download speeds of at least 25 Mbps and actual upload speeds of at least 3 Mbps. This is often written simply as 25/3 Mbps. According to Connected Nation Texas broadband data collected in July 2021, only 8.6% of homes in Fisher County have access to broadband at this speed tier. This leaves more than 1,500 homes unserved at the minimum threshold.

To better understand the technology landscape of its community, Fisher County undertook a broadband initiative in partnership with CN Texas. The initiative included a community-wide survey, which collected information on the access, adoption, and usage of broadband among residents, businesses, and community institutions. The results pointed to a distinct need for improved and reliable internet connections in the community. Three out of ten households without an internet connection (30%) stated, “Internet service is not available at my address.” In addition, 33% of agriculture producers and businesses without internet subscriptions indicated broadband was not available at their locations.


Promote greater broadband access, adoption, and usage in Fisher County through broadband infrastructure projects (improvements and expansions).


Action 1 - To effectively understand the broadband funding landscape in Fisher County, community leaders should meet with internet service providers (ISPs) that have already been allocated federal money, including recipients of funding through the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF). The community should meet with local ISPs to assess the status and viability of ongoing or upcoming infrastructure improvement and expansion projects. As community leaders consider expanding and improving broadband infrastructure, the goal should be to pursue strategic projects that are not needlessly redundant (i.e., expand access where RDOF winners are already working).

RDOF Phase I Auction Winning Bids:

Resound Networks (1,361 locations, $1,325,536.40)


Alenco Communications. AMA TechTel Communications, AT&T, Mid-Plains Communications, Transworld Network Corp.

Action 2 - During meetings with providers, community leaders should discuss the role the county could play (through financial backing or strategic partnerships) in a project to ensure ultimate completion, or discuss starting a new project altogether. Ultimately, Fisher County should play a strategic role in ongoing or planned projects that will widely benefit the most residents. It is important for county leadership to be informed of ongoing infrastructure improvement and expansion projects such that the community can be involved in necessary decisions.

Fisher County has been allocated $743,933.00 in Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds. Should Fisher County choose to spend any of these federal funds on broadband, leaders must be prepared, informed, and readily equipped to begin working with reliable partners.

Action 3 - After taking stock of broadband initiatives in the county, Fisher County should identify applicable grants to expand broadband access, adoption, and usage. Grants may provide funding for broadband infrastructure or digital literacy and digital skills expansion. Current grant openings can be found on the Connected Nation and BroadbandUSA websites. Links can be found in the resources section below.

Action 4 - Fisher County should establish and maintain relationships with regional organizations and elected officials. Elected officials may be able to provide letters of support or additional resources when submitting grant applications. Additionally, the county should engage neighboring communities in discussion about broadband development. Communities around Fisher County have recently engaged in broadband development endeavors and can share insights, dos and don’ts, and potential partnership opportunities.

Regional Organizations and Elected Officials to Partner With:

  • West Central Texas Council of Governments
  • Other Connected Communities: Throckmorton, Shackelford, Jones, others to come
  • Texas Rep. David Spiller
    • Chief of Staff Susanna Feather
  • U.S. Congressman Jodey Arrington
    • Staffer Kaley Mathis
  • Fisher County Chamber of Commerce
  • Roby and Rotan municipal leaders

Action 5 - As community leaders meet with broadband providers to discuss federal grant monies and community infrastructure, they should consider the value of public-private partnerships (PPPs). These partnerships take many forms and allow both parties (in this case the county and a broadband provider) to leverage an asset that the other does not have or cannot easily acquire. The community can offer infrastructure (publicly owned building rooftops, light poles, towers, and other vertical assets for mounting infrastructure) for network deployment, as well as committed anchor tenants. Private-sector partners bring network-building and operations experience. Elements to consider include competition, enhanced service, risk avoidance, redundancy, etc. The community should consider all legal obligations when considering partnership negotiations.

Examples of PPPs

  • Model 1: Private Investment, Public Facilitation — Make available public assets such as fiber and conduit, share geographic information systems data, streamline permitting and inspection processes, offer economic development incentives to attract private broadband investment.
  • Model 2: Private Execution, Public Funding — Identify revenue streams that can be directed to a private partner, issue RFP for private turnkey execution.
  • Model 3: Shared Investment and Risk — Evaluate the use of community assets to attract private investment, evaluate the costs and benefits of funding new assets that could attract private investment, evaluate building new broadband assets to businesses and/or homes for leasing to private ISPs.

Responsible Parties

Local units of government; broadband providers; community and regional organizations


Glossary of Terms (CN Texas)

Connected Nation Texas: Fisher County Map

Texas Broadband Providers by County

Auction 904: Rural Digital Opportunity Fund

Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds

Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds, County Allocation

Guide to Federal Broadband Funding Opportunities in the U.S.

Current Broadband Funding

BroadbandUSA: Federal Funding Guide

An introduction to effective public-private partnerships for broadband investments

The technology-related skills necessary to be successful on the job are changing to keep pace with new innovations, tools, and applications that make production and services more efficient. Workforce skills should match the needed skills of the employer to ensure organizations can take advantage of new technologies. According to the Connected Nation Texas survey conducted in Fisher County in 2021, 81% of businesses said they need employees who are moderate to advanced technology users. When asked how well the current technology skills of their workers matched the needs of the organization/company, only 27% said “very well/excellently.”  These disparate numbers are troubling because if the skills of the worker do not meet the needs of the company, the worker serves no purpose for the employer. An employee’s competitiveness in the professional world can be linked to their technical skills and abilities, especially given the increasingly digital nature of the workforce. Of note, 25% of businesses indicated they require employees to pursue continuing education or training, while an additional 50% of businesses indicated they encourage employees, but do not require, continuing education and training courses.


Plan and host community workshops designed to equip residents with skills necessary for engagement in the local workforce.


Action 1 - Community leaders should partner with local and regional organizations to facilitate free digital skills workshops. These workshops should function as continuing education opportunities for those participants who are employed in jobs that require them to use a computer or access the internet. For those who are not employed, or for those who do not use the internet regularly, these workshops will serve an important digital literacy role, ensuring residents have the necessary skills to engage online and use digital services.   

Workshop curriculum should be curated using material created by the county and publicly available programs, such as AARP, Digital Learn, and Grow with Google (resources linked below). Classes should be offered at local facilities, such as a school gym or the community center, and be advertised through local media. The intention is for residents (and community leaders) to learn digital skills that will prove beneficial in the workplace and lead to success in their professional endeavors. These workshops should highlight the importance of continued education and provide participants with community and online resources for future reference.

Community partners can include:

  • West Texas Central Council of Governments
  • Fisher County Chamber of Commerce
  • Schools: Rotan ISD and Roby CISD
  • Institutions and businesses who would directly benefit from a more digitally savvy workforce

Workshop topics can include:

  • How to teleconference
  • Cybersecurity 101
  • Microsoft Office skills
  • Email etiquette

Action 1A - For broadband to be accessible to the masses, it needs to be presented in a way that everyone understands. Because 32.7% of the Fisher County population is Hispanic or Latino and 20.1% of residents speak a language other than English at home, all materials pertaining to broadband workshops and digital skills should be available in English and Spanish.

Action 2 – Community leaders should work with local schools in Fisher County to integrate digital skills and digital literacy into classroom curricula. According to survey results, the average device-to-student ratio is 1.27, indicating students have access to internet-enabled devices. With access to internet-enabled devices comes the opportunity to learn online skills that will prove beneficial to students academically, professionally, and socially. However, a device is only as useful as the user’s skill-set. If someone cannot utilize Microsoft Word, answer emails, or surf the web, the perks of a laptop will largely be lost on them. Among school-aged children, digital skills training should focus on equipping students with tools to help them further educational attainment (i.e., college applications, SAT prep) and professional development (i.e., resume writing, online portals). This solution considers that high-school students often hold jobs outside of school. Student workers should be equipped with the necessary digital skills for success, regardless of age or occupation.

Action 2A – According to the U.S. Census, only 18.6% of Fisher County adult residents have a bachelor’s degree, fewer than 1 in 5 adults. In Texas, the average is almost double, with 30.8% of the adult population having a bachelor’s degree or higher. If high school is the highest level of guaranteed educational attainment for many Fisher County residents, it is important for K-12 curriculum to equip residents with skills necessary for social and professional success. If these skills are not likely to be learned at institutions of higher education, then local high schools must serve as the last line of defense.

Action 3 – According to the U.S. Census, the average commute in Fisher County is 20 minutes. Eighty percent of residents commuted to work alone, while another 13% carpooled. While this is shorter than the average commute in Texas (27.2 minutes), the past year has showcased the need — and society’s ability — to successfully telework, which could cut out commuting altogether. Telework is a viable work option in a digitally inclusive society, but it requires a stable internet connection and requisite digital skills to be successful. With this in mind, community workshops should highlight the skills necessary for telework. In turn, businesses should be an integral part of the conversation as they, too, could benefit from a teleworking staff. The Fisher County Chamber of Commerce and local businesses can lead the conversation on teleworking dos and don’ts, best practices, and personal success stories.

Responsible Parties

Local businesses and business organizations (chamber of commerce); local units of government, community residents; community anchor institutions (schools, libraries, healthcare clinics)


Digital skills workshops and continuing education curricula should be available no later than the end of Q2 2022. Curricula should be reviewed and updated every 3-4 months.


The complete guide to digital skills

AARP Joins with Nonprofit to Teach Tech to Older Adults

Digital Learn: Use a computer to do almost anything!

U.S. Census: Fisher County

Grow with Google® program

According to survey results, 20.5% of residents have no internet connection at their home. Thirty percent of these residents cited lack of availability as a barrier to adoption, while an additional 26% stated the cost of internet service was a barrier. Ultimately, these residents will be unable to take part in digital activities or benefit from the conveniences provided by online banking, telework, telehealth, and general online resources. It is paramount that these residents have locations throughout the community where they can access public computers, laptops, and tablets to engage digitally with peers, coworkers, and society as a whole. Ultimately, internet-enabled public computers offer those unable to connect to the internet at home with access to technology and online resources.


Expand the availability of existing public computer centers and identify opportunities to provide additional workstations at locations accessible to vulnerable populations.


Action 1 - Identify frequently accessed community locations where public computers/laptops/tablets would serve the largest amount of people with the greatest need. Catalog community sites, indicting how many computers are currently available and how many are needed to serve the needs of guests. The community should focus on locations frequently visited by students, teleworkers, the elderly, and other vulnerable populations.

Locations to consider:

  • Schools, libraries, community organizations
  • Chambers of commerce
  • Government buildings such as city hall, courthouses

Action 2 - The community should identify funding sources and partners that can be used to increase the number of computing devices or improve devices that are currently available. A list of broadband grants has been linked in the below resources. Local broadband providers may be willing to provide/sponsor new devices in partnership with the community or local institutions.

Action 3 - Once new and improved devices are available for use by the public, information about the public computing centers should be promoted far and wide. Notices with information about how to access the centers can be sent out in the water bill, posted in the newspaper, circulated in monthly school newsletters, discussed at commissioners court and city hall meetings, or advertised at frequently visited community buildings and businesses.

Responsible Parties

Community institutions: businesses, schools, libraries, organizations; local government leaders and elected officials; broadband providers; community residents


For residents who cannot access the internet at home, public computers are the next option for accessing the digital world. To meet the needs of these residents, Fisher County should increase the number of free, public computing stations by the summer of 2022.


Texas Broadband Providers by County

Guide to Federal Broadband Funding Opportunities in the U.S.

Current Broadband Funding

BroadbandUSA: Federal Funding Guide

How to Create a Public Computer Center https:/ /

Northland Public Library

First -Ever National Study: Millions of People Rely on Library Computers for Employment, Health, and Education (Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation)