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Texas County Communities Hero Newv2

Haskell County Texas


The Haskell County, TX Broadband Team has completed its community technology assessment. The results of the assessment can be found by clicking the symbol for each of the sections below. The Recommended Actions section includes goals the community can pursue 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 Haskell 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 lines, 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 following map shows where broadband is available in the community.


The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) defines broadband as a 25/3 Mbps connection (25 Mbps download, 3 Mbps upload). According to survey data collected in Haskell County in partnership with Connected Nation Texas between September 2021 and January 2022, only 35% of households subscribe to download speeds faster than 25 Mbps. A 25/3 Mbps connection supports three to five devices at any given time. In an increasingly digital society, three to five devices are not a lot, especially in multi-person homes. Take, for example, a home where one parent is teleworking, one child is doing virtual school, another parent is doing a telehealth visit, and another child is watching Netflix. Each of these activities requires an internet connection. It’s important for the bandwidth available in homes and community institutions to match the changing digital needs of society.

Slow internet speeds are not only frustrating, they can also be very limiting. While the current federal definition of broadband is 25/3 Mbps, many funding programs are now requiring ISPs to provide speeds of at least 100/20 Mbps to qualify for funding. This greater threshold provides for more connected devices at a single time and greater digital opportunities. To attract businesses, retain skilled workers, and encourage community and economic development, Haskell County should bring 100 Mbps connections to all community institutions, ensuring quality internet connections for all. Ian Greenblatt, managing director of J.D. Power’s technology, media, and telecommunications intelligence business unit says it best: “Without broadband, you might see lower property values, decreased job and population growth, lower rates of business formation, higher unemployment rates. These are all part and parcel of a geographic inability to access the internet.”


Bring faster and more reliable internet speeds to Haskell County residents and institutions based on current and future service needs.


Action 1 – Review current and planned broadband deployments in the county. The first step to increase broadband speeds across Haskell County is meeting with local broadband providers to determine the infrastructure needs of the community (i.e., what needs to be updated, replaced, or installed). This includes meeting with those providers who have been allocated funding through the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF). Community leaders should assess the status and viability of ongoing or upcoming infrastructure improvement and expansion projects. It will be important to know and understand where new or improved infrastructure is being built around the county, and how it will affect broadband speeds and delivery to residents.

RDOF Phase I Winners:

  • Resound Networks, 117 locations, $166,584

Providers in Haskell County (Data published January 31, 2022, CN Texas):

  • AMA TechTel Communications
  • Mid-Plains Communications
  • Rise Broadband
  • Santa Rosa Telephone Cooperative Inc.
  • TGM Pinnacle Network Solutions
  • T-Mobile
  • Transworld Network Corp.
  • Valor Communications of Texas (Windstream)

Action 2 – Monitor state and federal broadband funding sources. Haskell County should monitor funding opportunities at the state and federal levels that promise money for broadband expansion and improvement projects. Application windows are historically very brief, and application reviews very competitive, thus making it very important for communities, especially small, rural ones, to have smart, well-written applications with supporting data ready to go. It’s not only important to be prepared in advance of an application, but also to prioritize forward and long-term thinking when applying for funding. Haskell County residents will continue to need broadband for telehealth, telework, communication, public safety, and entertainment. As demand rises, infrastructure will need to support varied and broad uses.

Funding sources include:

  • The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act: a minimum of $100 million will be allocated to the state of Texas. The state is responsible for developing and distributing these funds.
  • Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds: the U.S. Treasury Department issued its Final Rule on January 6, 2022, expanding the use of funds for broadband.
  • Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund (CPF): under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, the CPF provides $10 billion to eligible governments to carry out critical capital projects that directly enable work, education, and health monitoring. The Texas State Legislature appropriated all the funding from the CPF for broadband purposes. The Broadband Development Office (BDO) plans to set up a competitive grant process to support local broadband projects around the state. More information can be found on the BDO’s website (linked below).
  • Economic Adjustment Assistance: the Economic Adjustment Assistance Program, through the EDA, makes $500 million in grants available to American communities. A wide range of technical, planning, workforce development, entrepreneurship, public works, and infrastructure projects are eligible for funding.

Action 2A – Work with a grant writer. As previously mentioned, grant application windows are short and review processes competitive, thus it is important for Haskell County to engage a reliable and trusted grant writer who can accurately capture the needs and wants of Haskell County residents, businesses, and community leaders in writing. More information on grant writing can be found in Goal 4.

Action 3 – Consider public-private partnerships. Public-private partnerships (P3s) take many forms, depending on the needs and resources of each community. The strength of these partnerships is that each party brings something important to the table that the other lacks or cannot easily acquire. For example, Haskell County can offer infrastructure (publicly owned buildings, light poles, towers, other vertical assets for mounting fixed wireless or wirelines infrastructure) for the deployment of a network, as well as guaranteeing committed anchor tenants and possible funding sources.

  1. Model 1: Private Investment, Public Facilitation— Make available public assets, share geographic information and systems data, and streamline permitting and inspection processes. Offer economic development incentives to attract private broadband investment.
  2. Model 2: Private Execution, Public Funding —Identify revenue streams that can be directed to a private partner. Funding may include appropriated payments from the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds established by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, the Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund, Reconnect Loan and Grant Program, and several others listed at New revenue streams are likely to become available from the FCC and/or state government.
  3. Model 3: Shared Investment and Risk— Evaluate how to best use assets to attract private investment, evaluate funding new assets to attract private investment, evaluate building new broadband assets to businesses and/or homes for leasing to private ISPs.

Action 3A – Think long term with community resources. In a February 2022 article, U.S. Telecom had this to say about P3s and broadband: “The need for broadband connectivity has never been greater, and closing the final segments of the broadband gap will require true public-private partnerships. States and communities have the ability to help their residents, not just through funding programs, but also by preparing their communities to receive broadband service.” Haskell County has been allocated $1,099,000 in Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds. Should Haskell County choose to spend any of these federal funds on broadband, it is important that county officials are prepared, informed, and readily equipped to begin working with reliable partners.

Responsible Parties

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


Haskell County leaders should begin meeting with broadband providers within three months of receiving this plan. Increasing broadband speeds will increase the number of opportunities for residents, businesses, educators, and community leaders.


U.S. Telecom: Preparing your Community for Broadband Success -

The era of the broadband public-private partnership: New trends and opportunities in the wake of COVID-19 -

 For full effect, broadband expansion will require cooperation -

Texas Broadband Development Office: Funding Resources -

U.S. Department of the Treasury: Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds -

EDA: Economic Adjustment Assistance -

Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds -

 Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds, County Allocation -

Texas Broadband Providers by County -

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

Current Broadband Funding -

Auction 904: Rural Digital Opportunity Fund -

FCC: First RDOF Default Public Notice -

The push to expand rural broadband expands across state government -


Digital literacy is the ability to use information and communication technologies to find, evaluate, create, and communicate information. It requires both cognitive and technical skills. In answering digital literacy questions on the residential survey, responses ranged from “I need to learn” and “I know a little” to “I could teach this [skill].” These data reflect the need for residents to focus on increasing their technology skills. Ultimately, technology skills are paramount to competitiveness in the workforce, to community development in an uber-digital society, and to general quality of life (i.e., telehealth and teleworking).


Offer Haskell County residents digital literacy classes, discussing topics such as workforce development, higher education, and telehealth.


Action 1 – Identify a digital literacy hub in Haskell County. Broadband is more than physical infrastructure; it is being able to attend a telehealth appointment, streaming a favorite show on Netflix, or having a Zoom call with family members during the COVID-19 pandemic. Having the requisite skills and knowledge to utilize the internet and related technologies to the fullest extent allows a user to capitalize on endless online opportunities. In 2022, those lacking digital skills are being left behind. Society is becoming increasingly dependent on technology, and people are turning to the internet for news, entertainment, education, health care, and more.

In Haskell County, the survey data indicate that residents are anywhere from “unsure” to “comfortable” with hardware, software, social media, and other technology devices. For those who “need to learn,” Haskell County should set up a learning lab at the Haskell County Public Library to host digital literacy workshops. The library already provides free community resources and public computers and is well-known to the public. The learning lab should offer desktop computers and laptops (should the library want to go mobile) for public use. When not hosting a workshop, the learning lab can be used by residents to apply for jobs, by students studying for exams, or others to simply surf the web.

Action 1A – Utilize community partnerships, resources, and funding programs to purchase or update current technology. The county library can pursue grant funds to acquire new devices or partner with community organizations and internet service providers to outfit the learning lab with desktops and laptops for mobile service. Communitywide electronic recycling efforts may serve as a less expensive alternative for pre-owned equipment. The community should continue monitoring local, state, and federal sources that provide funding for broadband equipment purchases.

 Action 2 – Create curriculum for free community workshops designed to improve the digital skills of residents. Workshop curricula should be curated using material created by the county and publicly available programs, such as Digital Learn and Grow with Google (resources linked below). Workshop topics should be informed by local interests. Additionally, community stakeholders should lead workshops based upon their expertise. For example, the Chief of Police might lead the “Online Safety Tips and Tricks” workshop, while Haskell Memorial Hospital staff could lead “Telehealth 101.”

Workshop topics to consider:

  • Intro to Microsoft Office Suite
    • About: Train employees on the basics of the Microsoft Office Suite given its ubiquitous use in companies/industries.
    • Who: Haskell Chamber of Commerce or Development Corp.
  • How to Telework
    • About: What is teleworking and why is it appealing for employees and employers?
    • Who: Haskell Chamber of Commerce or Development Corp.
  • Intro to Social Media and Websites
    • About: How can an online presence help business grow and improve productivity?
    • Who: Haskell Chamber of Commerce or Development Corp.
  • Telehealth 101
    • About: Discuss terminology commonly associated with telemedicine and the benefits of virtual healthcare.
    • Who: Haskell Memorial Hospital staff
  • Just What the Doctor Ordered
    • About: Discuss how residents can use free and reduced-cost digital services to improve physical and mental health.
    • Who: Haskell Memorial Hospital staff
  • Online Safety Tips and Tricks
    • About: Discuss how to keep you, your family, and your information safe online.
    • Who: Haskell Police or Sheriff’s Department
  • Effective Online Learning and Teaching Strategies
    • About: Discuss how teachers/students can maximize the benefits of online learning.
    • Who: Haskell CISD, Paint Creek ISD, Rule ISD
  • Continuing-Education Opportunities
    • About: What programs, courses, and classes are available for students who would like to continue learning beyond the classroom? What resources are available for those who would like to return to college, obtain a certification or GED, or complete continuing-education courses?
    • Who: Haskell CISD, Paint Creek ISD, Rule ISD

Action 2A – Take the learning lab mobile. While the library is a great location for many workshops, a change of scenery is always welcome. Having laptops available in the learning lab allows the community to hold workshops at notable locations throughout the county, including the Haskell High School gym, Haskell Memorial Hospital Education Building, Haskell County Courthouse, or others.

Action 2B – Look to other communities as examples. Writing for CNET, Marguerite Reardon says, “It will take more than infrastructure to get rural and tribal communities online.” Community organizations across the state and the country have worked tirelessly during the pandemic to bridge the Digital Divide, specifically as it relates to digital literacy. Examples include the Orleans Digital Literacy Initiative in Buffalo, N.Y.; Digital Literacy Coaches and Navigator Program in Wisconsin; Digital Literacy Certification and Computer Training in Plainfield, N.J.; and Senior Connect in Austin, Texas. Each of these programs is unique, but the underlying current is the drive to provide digital training and support to the community (for free). The hope is that users will be able to use the internet with ease and greater confidence after engaging with one of these local initiatives. To learn more, reference the links in the resource section.

Responsible Parties

Residents; local units of government; community organizations; businesses; internet service providers


Additional laptops and desktops should be purchased for a Haskell County learning lab by the start of the 2022-23 school year. It will be critical for parents, students, and other community residents to have a digital education hub in the county. As new computers become available, workshops should be offered. Curriculum should be reviewed and updated every three to four months.


Improving the Quality of Life in Rural America with Broadband Internet -

Implementing Productive Teleworking with Business-Quality Mobile Communications -

Texas Broadband Providers by County -

 Grow with Google -

 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! -® program -

National Digital Inclusion Alliance -

5 Reasons Why Libraries are Essential to Have -

How to Create a Public Computer Center -

Northland Public Library -

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

Senior Connect: Connecting Senior in Central Texas -

Plainfield Public Library to Offer Computer Literacy Training -

The 411 on Funding -

Orleans County Digital Literacy Initiative -

Eua Claire County: County Stars free digital literacy program -

It Takes a Village: Solving the Broadband Adoption Problem in Rural America -

Mobile Computer Labs, Classrooms Bring STEM to rural schools -

Toward an equitable digital future: libraries are bridging the divide and empowering communities -


Broadband adoption is critical for increasing the digital capacity of a community and empowering residents and community leaders. Adoption not only refers to subscriptions to service providers but also the daily use of the internet. Broadband adoption requires basic computer skills and access to a personal device that enables an individual to accomplish basic tasks. Since the inception of public internet, the leading barriers to broadband adoption in areas where access is not an issue have been affordability and lack of digital skills (see Goal 2). The affordability barrier can be further explained by the poverty rate in Haskell County. According to U.S. Census data, one in five residents are living in poverty. Compared to the state average, the disparity in these numbers presents a distinct need for affordable broadband options in Haskell County. It is imperative for project plans to reflect programs that can help overcome barriers to adoption — particularly for low-income households and other vulnerable populations.


Encourage Haskell County residents to utilize free and reduced-cost internet programs throughout the community to increase online engagement and quality of life.


Action 1 – Promote programs that help residents overcome the affordability barrier to broadband adoption. The county should work with community leaders and institutions to publicly promote programs and opportunities designed to reduce the cost of broadband service. This can be done by advertising in the local newspaper, providing updates in monthly school newsletters, posting flyers in public buildings throughout the county, or publicly discussing at commissioners’ court and city hall meetings.

Below are some programs and resources that are available to residents.

  • Resource to locate affordable internet service or computers: Haskell County residents can identify local and national providers who offer special low-cost services for vulnerable populations, older adults, and low-income families with children. One resource is EveryoneOn (, which helps residents locate low-cost internet services and affordable computers by ZIP code and by need based on their participation in assistance programs.
  • State and federal low-cost programs: There are two critical programs that offer discounts for broadband to eligible households:
    • Lifeline Program: This is a government assistance program run by the Public Utility Commission of Texas that provides a discount to qualifying low-income customers who subscribe to voice telephone service or broadband internet service. The monthly discount may be up to $12.75, depending on the services a resident subscribes to and the customer’s eligibility. Lifeline service is non-transferrable and is limited to one discount per household. More information can be found on the Public Utility Commission of Texas’ website.
    • The Affordable Connectivity Program: Once known as the Emergency Broadband Benefit, the Affordable Connectivity Program was made permanent with the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (commonly referred to as the infrastructure bill). The program provides a $30 per month discount on broadband with participating providers. For more information, visit the FCC’s webpage.

The following institutions and leaders should help promote these programs:

  • School districts: Haskell CISD, Paint Creek ISD, Rule ISD
  • Local and county government
  • Local media, such as the Haskell Star News
  • Other: Haskell County Public Library, West Central Texas COG, Haskell County Chamber of Commerce and Development Corp., food pantries, churches, etc.

Action 2 – Ensure that Haskell County residents have access to affordable internet-enabled devices that meet their needs. There are two ways to achieve this. 1.) Promote programs that provide access to low-cost devices such as PCs for People, Human I-T, and 2.) The county and/or the cities should create a program where departments and businesses could donate surplus computing devices for refurbishment, distribution, or sale in high-need communities.

Action 3 – Promote the new computer lab at the local library. For residents who do not have access to the internet at home, the next best option is access at a trusted location in the community, such as the library. It is important for residents to know what community resources exist, such as the computer lab, so they can capitalize on those services in times of need.   

Responsible Parties

Local units of government and elected officials; broadband providers; community and regional organizations and institutions: businesses, schools, libraries; community residents


Disseminating information about free and reduced-cost broadband services should begin immediately to ensure anyone who wants access can get access.



Affordable Connectivity Program -

 Texas Lifeline Program -

PCs for People -

Human I-T -

 US Census: Haskell County -


Action 1 – Pursue grants to advance local community development using broadband technologies (e.g., workforce development, telehealth, digital literacy, etc.).  In conjunction with the countywide Connected Engagement program, Haskell County has been allocated funding to pursue applicable grant opportunities. For specifics, please contact your Broadband Solutions Manager.