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The Future of Rural: Examining Texas Communities

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College Station, TX (November 13, 2018) – Across Texas, community leaders, families, business owners, and others are taking part in watch parties for the “Future of Rural Texas symposium,” which is being hosted by the Texas Tribune newspaper.

The event covers issues that impact rural Texas, from health care to education to broadband expansion. Many of the discussions mimic the problems seen in rural communities across the United States.

The symposium is held in partnership with several organizations, including the Texas Rural Funders Collaborative, which convened a Rural Advisory Group consisting of experts to identify actionable ways to create positive change in rural communities. The Rural Advisory Group includes, among others, the Boston Consulting Group, Texas A&M National Resources Institute, and Connected Nation.

The goal is to “ensure rural communities are strong, competitive and sustainable, so that future generation of Texans will have the option of choosing the benefits and lifestyle of rural living.” The expansion of broadband networks to rural communities was identified as a critical strategy in this effort.

To this end, Connected Nation was asked to provide a chapter for the report focused on rural broadband access. The nonprofit held a series of listening tours to identify the needs of rural Texas communities.

From that and local data collection, Connected Nation developed the report, titled, “Rural Broadband: A Texas Tour.” It provides an in-depth look at the broadband and technology challenges. This is a snapshot from that report:

  • One out of every four rural Texans (1.25 million people) lacks access to broadband infrastructure (compared to only 2% of urban residents).

  • More than 2.7 million Texas households do not have a fixed broadband connection at home.

  • Just over $5.1 billion in potential economic benefit is left unrealized among disconnected households.

  • One-third of households that do not subscribe to the internet say the cost of service is too expensive.

  • Nearly one-quarter of Texas households have only one choice for broadband service.

Related Links:

Watch Videos of the Panel Discussions: Topics Range from Healthcare to Investing in Infrastructure 

Learn More About the Texas Rural Funders Collaborative (the full report is listed under “resources”)

Read the “Rural Broadband: A Texas Tour” Report

Need Funding? Click here for the Texas Broadband Funding Guide