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Connected Nation Texas Broadband Maps: Why, How, and What Can We Learn

Austin, TX. (February 19, 2020) - Statewide broadband maps were released for Texas in January of this year for the first time since 2014. Maps were also released for all 254 counties. There are four different static versions of these maps – at four different speed tiers of 10 Mbps download/1 Mbps upload, 25 Mbps download/3 Mbps upload (the minimum thresholds to be considered broadband as recognized by the FCC), 50 Mbps download/5 Mbps upload, and 100 Mbps download/10 Mbps upload.

Why is this important?

In order to plan, communities need good data. Broadband data that is currently publicly available is at best overstated and at worst outdated and inadequate.

Screen Shot 2020 02 18 At 1235 13 Pm 194x300 Broadband Service with Speeds of at Least 50 Mbps Download/5 Mbps Upload

Connected Nation Texas (CN Texas) has recognized this, and through the support of the Texas Rural Funders Collaborative has engaged in a multiyear broadband mapping project producing more current (and accurate) statewide and county-level broadband mapping data every six months.

How are we doing this?

CN Texas is in constant communication with internet service providers (ISPs) and receives granular datasets from many providers on a regular basis. Supplemental mapping research is conducted by our engineering and technical services team and our GIS team that includes assessing publicly available FCC data, reviewing public comments, and field validation.

What can we learn?

Based on CN Texas’ initial maps, 94.22 percent of all Texas households have access to broadband at the FCC minimum standard of 25/3. This percentage falls to 84.74 percent of households when looking specifically at rural counties in Texas. Though these numbers may seem pretty satisfactory on the surface, this means that over 600,000 Texas homes do not have access to broadband at the minimum level. These 600,000 homes account for millions of Texans who cannot run businesses from home, telecommute, complete homework assignments, check their children’s grades, or participate in telemedicine.

What’s next?

As our Texas broadband maps are iterative in process (updated every six months), we will continue to learn more about the state of broadband accessibility in Texas and provide communities with the most current and most accurate data possible to identify challenges, set goals, plan, and advocate for themselves.

Harris Jennifer 9 9 19 273x300About the Author: Jennifer is responsible for managing the development and implementation of broadband strategies throughout the state of Texas. She creates and maintains partnerships by engaging with communities, local municipalities, and state and federal government. This includes working to close the Digital Divide in rural parts of the Lone Star State.