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Jeff Davis County Texas


The Tri-County Broadband Alliance has completed its community technology assessment. The results of the assessment in Jeff Davis County 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 much of 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 Jeff Davis 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 a single location, however, fixed broadband service is often broadcast as a Wi-Fi network to connect nearby devices.

The following interactive map shows where broadband is available in the area.

To ensure the success of the community action plan and to equip Brewster, Jeff Davis, and Presidio counties with the necessary tools for broadband growth, the communities should centralize broadband expansion and improvement efforts in a single entity: a broadband council to be known as the Tri-County Broadband Alliance (TCBA). To date, TCBA has been actively involved in promoting community surveys and attending monthly meetings with CN Texas. With a refreshed mission, TCBA should be comprised of three broadband liaisons-one from each county- and a board of advisors. Community members who currently serve as broadband champions can continue advising on broadband matters as part of the refreshed TCBA to ensure the successful implementation of this action plan. Overall, this proposed goal takes the already existent TCBA and provides further direction to empower community broadband advocates to further the broadband agenda in Brewster, Jeff Davis, and Presidio counties. For the sake of this document, “Council” and “TCBA” are synonymous.

Individually, each liaison (one per county) should represent his/her distinct county’s broadband needs and wants. While alike in many ways, each county is unique and could benefit from a designated voice on this important topic. Collectively, the broadband council should work together to share resources and wholistically bridge the digital divide in the Tri-County region. The council should also include a board of advisors who represent distinct community sectors, such as government, healthcare, and education. As a whole, the council will serve as the go-to resource for broadband questions, grants, opportunities, and meetings. Each member of the council (liaison and advisor) should be passionate about broadband and its greater good for the community and informed of community demographics. While alike in many ways, each community is still unique, and the demographics reflect this. For example, Brewster County is the largest geographically in the state of Texas covering over 6,000 miles. Brewster County has a population of just over 9,000 people and a poverty rate of 14%. In contrast, Presidio County has a population of about 6,000 people and a poverty rate of nearly 40%. A broadband liaison should understand how these statistics inform, both community and regional, broadband agendas.


Form a broadband council with one liaison from each county dedicated to ensuring the expansion of broadband access, adoption, and use across the Tri-County region.


Action 1 - The Commissioners Courts in Brewster, Jeff Davis, and Presidio counties should appoint a broadband liaison to serve on a local broadband council. The liaison should be knowledgeable about broadband and passionate about extending service to the unserved and underserved populations of the community. It is an added bonus if the liaison is bilingual, given the large population of Spanish speakers in each community. According to the US Census, Spanish is spoken in 79% of homes in Presidio County. In Brewster, 31.8% of homes speak Spanish, and in Jeff Davis, 40.5% of homes speak Spanish. Based on these statistics, the broadband liaison needs to be committed to providing broadband resources in English and Spanish to ensure all residents can access information on broadband.

Ideally this broadband liaison will 1) promote broadband and technology access, adoption, and use; 2) serve as the go-to resource for broadband and technology needs; 3) seek ways to educate and empower the community regarding broadband and related technology; 4) take priority action on recommendations from the community action plan and implement other programs that are necessary and beneficial to the growth of the community; and 5) monitor federal grant applications and expenditures.

Commissioners Court includes:

Brewster County:

Judge Eleazar Cano

Commissioners Jim Westermann, Sara Allen Colando, Ruben Ortega, Mike “Coach” Pallanez

 Jeff Davis County:

Judge Curtis Evans

Commissioners Jody Adams, Todd Jagger, John Davis, Albert Miller

 Presidio County:

Judge Cinderela Guevara

Commissioners Brenda Bentley, Eloy Aranda, Jose Cabezuela, Frank “Buddy” Knight

Action 2 - In addition to the broadband liaisons, the broadband council should include a board of advisors. These advisors should represent the key community sectors, including healthcare, education, government, etc. These advisors should bring their industry-specific expertise to the council and inform a community-wide broadband agenda that serves the greatest need.

Members could include:

  • Healthcare: Local clinic directors, family practitioners, hospital staff
  • Government: County Judge, County Commissioners, Mayor, City Council, Rio Grande Council of Governments
  • Education: Superintendents, School IT Directors (Valentine ISD, Fort Davis ISD, Marathon ISD, Alpine ISD, Terlingua CSD, Marfa ISD, Presidio ISD, San Vicente ISD)
  • Public Safety: Sheriff, Fire Chief (and volunteer), EMS, Police Chief
  • Agriculture: County Ag Agent, Leading Ag Producers, Soil Conservation District
  • Communications: Telecommunication, Government Affairs, Comms. Director of ISPs
  • Business: Chamber of Commerce and EDC President, Tourism entities
  • Community At-Large: Passionate community members who are interested in broadband initiatives

Action 3 - The liaisons from Brewster, Jeff Davis, and Presidio counties should meet at least once a month to discuss ongoing broadband projects in each community. It is paramount that the counties recognize the value of partnership in the broadband sphere. Broadband expansion and improvement projects can be expensive, time-consuming, and competitive, making a Tri-County partnership valuable for all parties. Not only will the partnership be marketable to broadband providers, but it will bolster general broadband opportunities.

Action 3A – The Broadband Council should remain informed and up to date on any publications, events, and policy briefs published by the (1) Governor’s Broadband Development Council and (2) Broadband Development Office (BDO). The Council should coordinate ongoing community outreach efforts and initiatives in accordance with the long-term objectives of the aforementioned entities. Local broadband teams should mirror the successes and objectives laid out by the State.

 Responsible Parties

Local units of government; Broadband providers; Community and regional organizations.


The Commissioners Court should designate the broadband ambassador within 12 weeks of the publication of this plan. The first broadband council meeting should convene within four weeks of appointment of its members.


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

Current Broadband Funding

BroadbandUSA: Federal Funding Guide

Texas Broadband Providers by County

 Municipal Boards: Best Practices for Adoption Technology

Smart Cities Readiness Guide

US Census: Brewster County

US Census: Jeff Davis County

US Census: Presidio County

According to the broadband survey conducted in Brewster, Jeff Davis, and Presidio Counties, in partnership with Connected Nation Texas, the average download speed reported by residential survey respondents was 24.82 Mbps, 12.41 Mbps, and 12.08 Mbps respectively. This is significantly lower than the FCC’s definition of broadband at 25/3 Mbps. These average download speeds would support one to two devices at any given time, a standard that is not sustainable in an increasingly digital society. Many households in the Tri-County area rely on their internet connections for work and school; more than 60% of survey respondents in each county indicated that they telework, while more than one-half of respondents in each county said they go online to interact with institutions of higher education such as colleges, universities, or trade schools. Families with school-age children also have to accommodate their childrens’ educational needs; K-12 schools in Brewster and Presidio counties report that at least 85% of their curricula are delivered via classes that are web-facilitated, blended online/in-person classes, or classes that are taught completely online. Neither teleworkers nor students can be successful or competitive in their job fields or studies without reliable and fast internet connections. Beyond telework, it is important to recognize how slow internet speeds negatively impact and deter digital engagement and overall quality of life. In partnership with community organizations, internet service providers, elected officials, and local utility providers, the Tri-County region can capitalize on funding, infrastructure, and resources intended to improve broadband access, adoption, and use for community residents in unserved and underserved locations.


Increase broadband access and speeds in the Tri-County region through infrastructure development and improvement projects.


Action 1 – The broadband council should stay abreast of all current and planned infrastructure improvement projects in the Tri-County area. To understand the current infrastructure landscape, the council should meet with providers who currently serve or have plans to build in the region to understand the progress and viability of projects. This includes internet service providers (ISPs) who receive funding through the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) grants, the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF), and any other funding sources identified in the resources listed herein. Please note: as of now, RDOF awards are pending review at the federal level. The FCC must determine the viability of RDOF projects during a long form review process before issuing funding. For more information about the RDOF program, please see the accompanying links in the resource section. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s NTIA is reviewing applications for associated grant funding. The program received more than 230 applications which will make for a highly competitive awards process.  As of the writing of this report, broadband provider BBT applied for and is awaiting word on the status of their NTIA grant application.


NTIA Broadband Development Grant Application:

  • BBT, 577 county locations for $4,103,451.00
  • BBT, 1,767 Alpine locations for $2,535,840.00
  • BBT would offer a 50 Mbps x 50 Mbps for $60.00 per month

RDOF Phase I Winning Auction Bids:

  • LTD Broadband, 3 locations for $4,998.00
  • Resound Networks, 493 locations for $1,385,890.00

Jeff Davis:

NTIA Broadband Development Grant Application:

  • BBT, 370 county locations for $1,737,872.00
  • BBT would offer a 50 Mbps x 50 Mbps for $60.00 per month

RDOF Phase I Winning Auction Bids:

  • LTD Broadband, 1,015 locations for $4,366,21.00


NTIA Broadband Development Grant Application:

  • BBT, 134 county locations for $846,900.00
  • BBT, 617 Marfa locations for $1,251,365.00
  • BBT would offer a 50 Mbps x 50 Mbps for $60.00 per month

RDOF Phase I Winning Auction Bids:

  • LTD Broadband, 4 locations for $8,904.00
  • Resound Networks, 169 locations for $236,046.00

Broadband providers who attended the May provider meeting:

  • Big Bend Telephone Company
  • LTD Broadband
  • Resound Networks

Additional information on the NTIA Broadband Development Grant and RDOF Program are below. Information on these and other grant programs/funding sources have been linked in the following resources section.

  • National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) Broadband Development Grants – In 2021, the NTIA awarded $288 million in grant funding for broadband infrastructure to local government/ISP partnerships. The grant requires speeds of 25/3Mbps or greater with latency at or below 100 milliseconds. The NTIA offers additional broadband funding through other programs such as the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program.
  • Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) – In RDOF Phase I in 2020, the FCC awarded $9.23 billion in funding to 180 bidders to be completed over 10 years. In RDOF Phase II, an additional $11.17 billion could be available to bidders, again over 10 years.  The FCC utilizes a competitive reverse auction (Auction 904) to prioritize higher speeds and lower latencies when qualifying bids, resulting in most winning bidders committing to gigabit-speed service, and almost all locations are expected to receive at least 100/20 Mbps.

Action 2 - During meetings with providers, community leaders should discuss the role the county or a city could play (through financial backing or strategic partnership) in the ongoing project. Ultimately, Brewster, Jeff Davis, and Presidio counties should play a strategic role in ongoing or planned projects that will widely benefit the most residents. In pursuit of equitable broadband access for all, broadband providers should discuss how they plan to bring availability to all homes within a designated area; this would include both hard to reach and easily accessible homes.

All three counties were allocated Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds. Brewster received $1,787,575.00, Jeff Davis received $441,698.00, and Presidio received $1,302,173.00. Additionally, individual cities were awarded funding. Alpine (Brewster County) received $1,482,255.55; Marfa (Presidio County) received $402,652.17; and Valentine (Jeff Davis County) received $32,955.53. Should any of these communities choose to spend these federal funds on broadband, it is important to be prepared, informed, and readily equipped to begin working with reliable partners as soon as possible.

Action 3 - The broadband liaisons (and the council as a whole) should establish and maintain relationships with regional organizations and elected officials. Additionally, the council should engage in regional broadband planning efforts with the express intent of improving broadband access, adoption, and use among residents and surrounding communities. Not only will residents benefit from broadband improvement inside county lines, but they will reap the benefit of broadband advancements in surrounding communities economically, technologically, and socially.

 Regional, area, and local organizations and elected officials to partner with:

  • Rio Grande Council of Governments, Workforce Solutions Borderplex
  • US Congressman Tony Gonzales, State Senator Roland Gutierrez, State Senator César Blanco, State Rep. Eddie Morales
  • Chambers of commerce and convention and visitors bureaus: Brewster County Chamber, Marfa Chamber, Alpine Chamber, Fort Davis Chamber, Presidio CVB, Marfa CVB, Alpine Downtown Association
  • City and county officials
  • Presidio Municipal Development District

 Action 4 - Following meetings with providers, the council should identify state and federal grant programs that are of benefit and interest to furthering the Tri-County’s broadband agenda. Broadband grants focus not only on infrastructure expansion and improvement but on device acquisition, digital literacy, improving connectivity in community organizations, and other related areas. In a time when broadband is at the forefront of state and federal legislative conversation, it is important for the broadband council to make the most of available funds.

 Responsible Parties

Local units of government; Broadband providers; Community and regional organizations


The broadband council should begin meeting with internet service providers within three months of receiving this plan. While Brewster, Jeff Davis, and Presidio counties do not have to allocate funding or spend federal dollars within that same three months, the council should outline the scope of broadband infrastructure projects (ongoing and planned) within that timeline.


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

Current Broadband Funding

BroadbandUSA: Federal Funding Guide

Texas Broadband Providers by County

Auction 904: Rural Digital Opportunity Fund

Connect America Fund Phase II FAQs

Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds

Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds, County Allocation

NTIA’s Broadband Infrastructure Program Receives Over 230 Applications, More Than $2.5 Billion in Funding Requests

Broadband connects people to the world and opens the door to opportunity. Where there is broadband, there is development, achievement, and innovation. In rural Texas, broadband looks like economic development, greater scholastic achievement, workforce expansion, connection to telehealth services, infrastructure improvement, and general technological advancements. Ultimately though, the benefits of broadband will remain untapped if residents cannot afford to adopt or lack the digital skills needed to engage online. Vulnerable populations may require additional assistance connecting to, affording, and understanding broadband, but it is important that resources are available as everyone benefits from high-speed internet.


Address broadband affordability and accessibility barriers among vulnerable populations in the Tri-County area.


Action 1 – In the broadband survey, 34% of households in Brewster County who do not have internet stated cost was a barrier. In Jeff Davis County, 26% of households cited cost and in Presidio the number jumps to 38.5% of homes citing affordability as a reason for not adopting high-speed internet. Furthermore, according to the US Census, the median household income in Brewster County is $47,080. In Jeff Davis, it is $53,088 and in Presidio it is $25,098. These numbers are significantly lower than the average median household income in the State of Texas ($62,843) and present a distinct need for affordable broadband options in the Tri-County region. As such, it is important for qualifying residents to know there are options that exist to make broadband more affordable. Using online resources, Tri-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. Such resources include EducationSuperHighway and EveryoneOn.

Using the above resources, the following ZIP codes returned eligibility for multiple broadband assistance programs:

  • Brewster: 79830, 79832, 79834, 79842, 79852
  • Jeff Davis: 79734
  • Presidio: 79845, 79843, 79854, 79846

Action 2 – Community leaders and institutions should publicly promote programs and opportunities designed to reduce the cost of broadband service through notices in utility bills, advertising and public service announcements in the media, at frequently visited community and social service buildings and businesses, circulated in monthly school newsletters, and discussed at Commissioners Court, city council, and school board meetings.

Community leaders and institutions to consider:

  • Sul Ross State University and school districts
  • Local and county government political subdivisions:
  • Brewster County to include Alpine, Lajitas, Marathon, Study Butte, Terlingua
  • Jeff Davis County to include Fort Davis, Valentine
  • Presidio County to include Presidio, Marfa, Redford, Shafter, Candelaria, Ruidosa
  • Local media: The Big Bend Sentinel, Presidio International, Alpine Avalanche, Jeff Davis County Mountain Dispatch, KVLF-AM and KALP-FM Alpine Radio, Marfa Public Radio, The Big Bend Gazette, Terlingua Moon, Valentine Radio
  • Alpine, Marfa, Fort Davis, and Brewster Chambers of Commerce and local businesses
  • Other: Convention and Visitor Centers, Public Libraries

Programs to promote:

  • Lifeline
  • Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB)

Action 3 – Reduced-cost broadband at home is but part of the solution. Case in point, 27% of Presidio County residents who do not have an internet connection at home stated it is because they do not own a computer. To ensure all residents have access to the internet, Brewster, Jeff Davis, and Presidio Counties should increase the number of publicly available computers in frequently accessed locations. This can include increasing the number of devices in locations that currently serve the public or the addition of computers, laptops, and tablets in locations that currently have none. The County, schools, and library can use funds or grant money to acquire new devices or partner with community organizations and internet service providers to outfit buildings with computing devices.

Locations to consider:

  • Schools, libraries, community organizations
  • Chambers of Commerce
  • Government Buildings: City Hall, Courthouse


Action 4 – Ultimately, Tri-County leaders needs to educate residents, business owners, elected officials, students, and community stakeholders on the importance of digital engagement and equip them with the necessary tools to navigate online platforms and devices. In Brewster County, 24% of residents who do not have a home internet connection cited “we do not know enough about the internet to feel comfortable using it.” In a digital society, residents should not only feel comfortable engaging online, but they should seek out the benefits offered by online platforms and tools. As such, the broadband council should identify regional and community partners who possess resources and expertise in producing free digital literacy and digital skills workshops. Curriculum should be developed using publicly available programs, such as those provided by AARP, Digital Learn (resources linked below), and county-sourced information, and should be offered to the public. Classes should take place at local facilities, such as the library or school gym, and be promoted through local media. Workshops should address specific topics ranging from skills necessary for the workforce to how to use broadband safely in your everyday life.

All three communities have large Spanish-speaking populations so all curricula and workshop presentations should take this into account. Programs and resources should be published in English and Spanish to reach as many people as possible.

Workshop topics to consider:

  • Navigating social media
  • How to use Microsoft Office Suite
  • Online safety tips and tricks
  • How to teleconference

Community Partners can include:

  • Chambers of Commerce
    • Brewster County Chamber, Marfa Chamber, Alpine Chamber, Fort Davis Chamber
  • Libraries
    • Marfa Public Library, Presidio Public Library, Jeff Davis County Library, Big Bend Library, Alpine Public Library, Marathon Public Library
  • Schools:
    • Valentine ISD, Fort Davis ISD, Marathon ISD, Alpine ISD, Terlingua CSD, Marfa ISD, Presidio ISD, San Vicente ISD
  • Community Organizations
    • Blackwell School Alliance, Marfa Education Foundation, Marfa and Jeff Davis Food Pantries, Fort Davis Historical Society, Sunshine House
  • Institutions and businesses who would directly benefit from greater digital adoption
    • Banks
    • Telehealth providers: Presidio County Medical Clinic, Marfa County Medical Clinic, Big Bend Regional Medical Center
    • Higher Ed. Institutes: Sul Ross State University
    • Local Attractions: Big Bend National Park, Museum of the Big Bend, Big Bend Ranch State Park, Fort Leaton State Historic Site, Fort Davis National Historic Site, The Chinati Foundation, Judd Foundation, Ballroom Marfa, Davis Mountains State Park, McDonald Observatory

 Responsible Parties

Community institutions: businesses, schools, libraries, organizations; Local government leaders and elected officials; Broadband providers; Community residents


The broadband council should begin working with community organizations and leaders to market low-cost broadband programs immediately. Digital skills and digital literacy workshops should be available no later than the end of Q2 2022. Curriculum should be reviewed and updated every 3-4 months.


Emergency Broadband Benefit

Free Wi-Fi Hotspot Locator Apps

Texas Broadband Providers by County

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!

Operation Connectivity: Initial connectivity guidance for LEAs


K-12 Bridge to Broadband

Lifeline Support for Affordable Communications

Companies Near Me: USAC