Hall County Broadband Committee releases findings, goals for improving internet access, speeds across the county
Slow speeds, unreliable connection, and high prices identified
as primary barriers to better connectivity in county
Hall County, Texas (October 25, 2021) – The Hall County Broadband Committee just announced its findings and recommendations for improving broadband (high-speed internet) access and speeds across the county.
“Ensuring that every resident, business, and community organization has access to reliable internet is critical. It impacts everything from education to economics,” said County Judge Ray Powell. “That’s why we worked with Connected Nation Texas to identify the challenges and the opportunities for improving our internet access and speeds in Hall County. We now have a much clearer picture of the current broadband landscape across our area.”
The Hall County Broadband Committee, made up of local leaders and stakeholders, worked with Connected Nation Texas (CN Texas) to develop a Technology Action Plan for the entire area—at no cost to Hall County. The project is among more than two dozen across Texas taking place thanks to funding and support provided by the Texas Rural Funders. It included a countywide survey of residents, businesses, community organizations, and others.
The key findings of that countywide survey include:
- The average internet speed reported by residential survey respondents was 13.70 Mbps
- 51% of employed survey respondents indicated they telework in some capacity
- 61% of households and businesses reported that they were dissatisfied with their current internet service.
- The top reasons for dissatisfaction were slow speeds, unreliable connections, and high prices
- For residents who do not have a home internet connection, 42.9% said it was because "internet service is too expense", 21.4% said it was because "internet is not available at my house" and 28.6% said "we have access to the internet elsewhere"
- Residents indicated that, on average, their internet connection costs about $86.86 per month
“Identifying the barriers and the entry points for where better connectivity is needed is one part of the plan. In addition, we also worked with area internet service providers and other stakeholders to gather additional data points. Then, using our Connected Community Engagement Program, which has helped nearly 650 communities nationwide, we developed a plan that’s tailored for Hall County,” said Sierra Sees, Broadband Solutions Manager, CN Texas. “That plan provides a summary of current access—including the demand for services—and a series of actionable steps that can improve internet access across the county.”
Those actionable steps, listed as goals in the below, include:
- Goal 1: Promote broadband as an economic and community development gateway.
- Goal 2: Promote low-cost broadband offerings for vulnerable populations Increase access.
- Goal 3: Leverage community assets and partnerships to increase broadband speeds in Hall County.
“As educators, we know broadband is important for our students not just in the classroom, but also in their homes where learning and development continues to take place. The importance of local data that supports the digital needs and wants of community residents and institutions cannot be overstated,” said Kitsy Pepper, Memphis ISD Technology Specialist & Educational Grant Writer. “We know what the barriers are to access and where there are opportunities for improvement. Together, we can create long lasting and positive change that will help everyone across our county.”
You can find the full survey results and community action plan here: https://connectednation.org/hall-county-texas/
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About Connected Nation Texas: CN Texas is a local division of the national nonprofit Connected Nation. Our mission is to improve lives by providing innovative solutions that expand access to and increase the adoption and use of broadband (high-speed internet) and its related technologies for all people. Everyone belongs in a Connected Nation.
Connected Nation works with consumers, local community leaders, states, technology providers, and foundations to develop and implement technology expansion programs with core competencies centered on a mission to improve digital inclusion for people and places previously underserved or overlooked. For more information, please visit: connectednation.org and follow Connected Nation on Facebook and Twitter.
About the Texas Rural Funders: The mission of the Texas Rural Funders (TRF) is to partner with rural Texans to achieve their vision of prosperity and wellbeing. The group’s strategies recognize and are informed by rural expertise and assets. The TRFC leverages local, philanthropic, state and federal resources to collaborate on projects, support local capacity and leadership, share research, convene stakeholders and engage in advocacy. More information can be found on the TRF webpage at: https://texasruralfunders.org.