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Texas County Communities Hero Newv2

Morris County Texas


The Morris County, Texas Broadband Team has completed the community technology assessment. The results of the 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 much of the assessment was conducted before or at the beginning of the global COVID-19 pandemic. This worldwide event likely impacted many of the metrics included in this assessment.

Connected Infrastructure in Morris 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. With a location, however, fixed broadband service is often broadcast as a Wi-Fi network to connect nearby devices.

The map below shows where broadband is available in the community.

Recommended Actions


To ensure the success of the community action plan and to equip Morris County with the necessary tools for broadband growth, the community will centralize broadband expansion and improvement efforts in one office through a broadband ambassador. Ideally this broadband ambassador will 1) promote broadband and technology access, adoption, and use; 2) serve as the go-to resource for broadband and technology for the community; 3) seek ways to educate and empower the community regarding broadband and related technology; 4) take priority action on recommendations from the community technology plan and implement other programs that are necessary and beneficial to the growth of the community; 5) monitor federal grant applications and expenditures. While the broadband ambassador serves at the pleasure of the Commissioners Court, his/her office should be located within the local Chamber of Commerce or Morris County Collaborative, given the connection these organizations have to businesses and other community institutions. The ambassador should function as the ultimate broadband leader in Morris County. The ambassador’s goal should be to increase digital engagement in the community through greater broadband access, adoption, and use.


The Morris County Commissioners Court should centralize broadband leadership through the appointment of a single broadband ambassador who will oversee and facilitate technology initiatives on behalf of the county.


Action 1

The Morris County Commissioners Court should appoint one person to serve as a broadband ambassador. This person can be designated or contracted by the county to serve in this capacity but should ultimately receive appointment from the Commissioners Court. It is important that this ambassador be empowered to act with autonomy on behalf of the county when addressing broadband needs. Furthermore, it is important that the local unit of government take ownership in the appointment of the ambassador as this person will be the leading voice for broadband advancement. When selecting someone to serve as the ambassador, the Court should choose someone who is knowledgeable on broadband, understands the demographics and needs of Morris County, and is prepared to work collaboratively with community organizations.

Action 2

The community should identify an agreed-upon list of duties the broadband ambassador will be responsible for in his/her official capacity. Furthermore, the broadband ambassador should identify county stakeholders and representatives from regional organizations and broadband providers who can augment his/her work as the central authority on broadband. These partnerships should be used to further the community’s broadband agenda and ensure this action plan is adopted in a timely fashion.

Responsibilities of the broadband ambassador could include:

  • Serve as the go-to resource for broadband information within the immediate community
  • Educate county on broadband programs, opportunities and benefits
  • Monitor grant expenditures within county; report concerns to Commissioners Court
  • Stay up to date on current broadband grant programs at state and local level and apply to programs as necessary (see the Internet Society and Connected Nation references below)
  • Work with community organizations and internet service providers on broadband initiatives

Community stakeholders to consider:

  • Chambers of Commerce: Daingerfield, Lone Star, Omaha
  • County IT Director
  • School IT Director
  • Morris County Collaborative President
  • Workforce Solutions Northeast Texas
  • Ark-Tex Council of Governments
  • Internet Service Providers

Action 3

The broadband ambassador should foster working relationships with internet service providers in the county. This includes those providers who were awarded Rural Digital Opportunity Funds (RDOF).  The ambassador should conduct follow-up meetings with providers who attended the Morris County Provider Meeting in May. Should Morris County be interested in further conversation with Guggenheim Partners, the ambassador should schedule a follow-up to the May meeting. Additionally, the ambassador should connect with the RDOF winners for Morris County and maintain awareness of ongoing project progress.

Provider Meeting Attendees:

  • Charlie Cano – Etex Communications
  • Steven Steele – Peoples Telephone Cooperative
  • Mason Dufield - Peoples Telephone Cooperative
  • Sohrab Shahandeh – Suddenlink/Altice Communications
  • Ed Serna – Charter Communications


  • Nextlink: 7 locations, $21,700
  • CCO Holdings (Charter): 1.089 locations, $1,420,000
  • Windstream: 66 locations: $106,690

Guggenheim Partners Contact:

  • Taylor Harrington, Director at Guggenheim Partners

Responsible Parties

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


The Commissioners Court should designate the broadband ambassador within 12 weeks of this plan.


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

Current Broadband Funding

BroadbandUSA: Federal Funding Guide

Texas Broadband Providers by County

Members of the Morris County Collaborative Board


Morris County has a population of 12,373 people, and according to survey results, the community has one public computing center with five computers. This is an average of 2,474 people per device. K-12 survey results indicate the average device-per-student ratio is 0.74, indicating the supply does not meet the demand. These K-12 numbers are largely indicative of the community’s device availability prior to TEA’s Operation Connectivity Program. It is paramount that Daingerfield-Lone Star ISD and Pewitt CISD remain up-to-date and engaged with this important program so that all students have access to digital devices.

In a community where the poverty rate is higher than the state average and the median household income is lower than the state average, there is a unique need for free and reduced-price digital services. In Morris County, this need also includes digital literacy and digital skills training to equip residents with personal and professional digital skills. Looking long-term, digital engagement is paramount to the economic success of Morris County, its businesses and residents, and their overall wellbeing. With increased digital engagement comes greater job opportunities, economic benefits, quality of life, and community development.


Increase access, availability, and use of public broadband services through expanded free Wi-Fi, additional public computing centers and devices, and digital literacy and skills training courses.


Action 1

Within one month of this action plan, Morris County should document free, public Wi-Fi availability in the community, focusing on institutions that are frequented most often by students, low-income residents, the elderly, and teleworkers. Results of the inventory should be analyzed to determine community areas and institutions most in need of public Wi-Fi expansion or creation. The aforementioned broadband ambassador should meet with community providers and stakeholders to determine if they can assist in Wi-Fi expansion efforts. Discussions can explore the possibility of advantageous partnerships for businesses, broadband providers, and community institutions to expand Wi-Fi throughout the community. Locations to consider as Wi-Fi hubs include:

  • Parks: Daingerfield State Park, Lone Star City Park, Irvin Park, White Oak Creek Wildlife Management Area, Naples City Park
  • Government Buildings: Morris County Courthouse, Lone Star City Hall, Omaha City Hall, Naples City Hall
  • Schools: Daingerfield-Lone Star ISD, Pewitt CISD

Action 2

To ensure all residents have access to the internet, Morris County 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. Locations to consider include Daingerfield Public Library, Workforce Solutions Northeast Texas (Daingerfield), chamber of commerce, schools, and government buildings. The county can use grant funds to acquire new devices or partner with community organizations and internet service providers to outfit buildings with computing devices.

Action 3

Community institutions should publicize Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) information to residents. EBB is an FCC program that provides a temporary discount on monthly broadband bills for qualifying low-income households. This program could provide a financial break for those who would otherwise be unable to afford broadband at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Organizations who should market the program include:

  • Chambers of Commerce: (Daingerfield, Lone Star, Omaha)
  • Morris County Collaborative
  • Daingerfield Public Library
  • Workforce Solutions Northeast Texas

Action 4

Access to the internet is but one piece of the puzzle. Ultimately, Morris County needs to educate residents, business owners, elected officials, and community stakeholders on the importance of digital engagement and equip them with the necessary tools to navigate online platforms and devices. Not only should residents feel comfortable engaging online, but they should seek out the benefits offered by online platforms and tools. As such, the aforementioned broadband ambassador 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 AARP and 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. Workshops should utilize local stakeholders such as police officers who can speak on cybersecurity and small business owners who can share personal experiences about social media use.

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 (Daingerfield, Lone Star, Omaha)
  • Morris County Collaborative
  • Daingerfield Public Library
  • Schools: (Daingerfield-Lone Star IS, Pewitt CISD)
  • Institutions and businesses who would directly benefit from greater digital adoption
    • Banks
    • Telehealth providers (i.e., Titus Regional Medical Center)
    • Online schools (i.e., Northeast Texas Community College)

Responsible Parties

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


Public Wi-Fi is the most immediate way to connect a large group of people within a rural community. As such, Morris County should take action on expanding Wi-Fi access within one month of receiving this plan. Further digital skills and literacy training programs should be implemented by the end of Q1 2022.


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!

US Census: Morris County, Texas

Texas Education Agency’s Operation Connectivity Playbook

Rural Digital Opportunity Fund:


Through the Connected program, Morris County evaluated the community’s broadband environment, analyzing internet needs and wants of residents and evaluating rates of broadband access, adoption, and use among key community sectors. The broadband assessment is intended to inform a community action plan that will help improve resident’s quality of life, increase economic development, and lead to overall community development and prosperity. Broadband is an integral part of everyday life, and it is important for Morris County to ensure residents have the resources, skills, and opportunity to engage online in pursuit of social, economic, and professional growth.


Demonstrate the importance (personal, professional, and economic benefits) of broadband in a digitally-inclusive and evolved community.


Action 1

Morris County leaders should identify key advocates in each of the following areas who will work in tangent with the broadband ambassador to educate the general community about the short and long-term benefits of broadband adoption.

  • Economy: Economic Development, Morris County Collaborative, Commissioners Court
  • Telehealth: Titus Regional Medical Center, Family Care Center, Phynet Hughes Springs Clinic
  • Telework: Chambers of Commerce, Workforce Solutions NE TX, School Superintendents (Sandra Quarles, Melissa Reid)
  • Communication: Broadband Providers

Promote e-commerce as the gateway to the global economy: As businesses and community organizations expand their online presence, they expand their customer pool and ultimately increase profit. By utilizing websites and social media to market services and sell products, businesses can take part in a larger digital economy. As Morris County businesses succeed in the global market, the benefit will be sown directly in the community through increased employment, increased wages, and greater economic success.

Showcase physical health and time-saving benefits of telehealth services: The future of medicine is online. For communities who lack large hospitals, general practitioners, surgical attendees, and medical specialists, telehealth is a natural substitute. Online medical services allow communities to speak with top-of-the-line doctors, dentists, surgeons, dermatologists, veterinarians and other providers through a click of a button. These online services are not only important in times of emergency, but they allow residents flexibility when meeting with medical professionals. No longer do you have to take off work to drive to the clinic, but rather you can step outside your office building and speak to your physician through your phone and then return to your desk.

Highlight economic and practical advantages of telework: Americans have long valued flexible work schedules including work-from-home and part-time shifts. The COVID-19 pandemic further showcased just how important it is for homeowners and renters alike to be able to reliably connect to the internet to fulfill their professional obligations. By teleworking, an employee can reside in rural Morris County but be employed by a company in Dallas, Houston, Lubbock, or another state entirely. Ultimately, this can be used as a marketing tool by the community when attracting new residents: live here, enjoy a lower cost of living, but don’t give up your online job! Telework expands employee and employer options which in turn can lead to greater economic success. The key to telework is adequate digital skills to engage online and a reliable internet connection.

Expand the use of digital communication for personal and professional networking: Broadband is what allows a grandmother to FaceTime her grandchildren who live seven states away in the middle of a global pandemic. Broadband is what empowers communication today; it is what connects people and allows them to stay engaged, informed, and close despite time and space. As technology and society continues to evolve, broadband will continue to be the common thread in all things communication. Broadband will be how companies communicate (be it Zoom calls, Microsoft Teams Conferences) or how families stay connected. 

Action 2

The broadband ambassador should integrate discussion of quality of life into digital literacy and digital skills workshops. Information about upcoming workshops should be readily accessible and widely publicized. This includes advertising about upcoming workshops through social media, on government websites, in local newspapers, and other local outlets (i.e., advertisements in the water bill, flyers at the local park, and school announcements). General discussion about the benefits of broadband on the community’s overall well-being and development should be added to Commissioners Court meetings, City Council meetings, and other already established countywide meetings.

Responsible Parties

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


With greater broadband adoption and use comes greater quality of life. As such, Morris County should implement short- and long-term solutions designed to encourage digital engagement. Immediate actions, including disseminating information about the importance of broadband, should begin within one month of this action plan. Long-term solutions including infrastructure development and improvements should be contracted, scheduled, in-progress or completed no later than 2025.


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Texas Broadband Providers by County

The Benefit that Broadband Internet Offers for Ecommerce