Connected Nation Texas Touts Gov. Abbott’s Work to Boost the State’s Broadband Access
Austin, TX (November 2, 2020) – The Governor’s Broadband Development Council just released their first report, which highlights the state of broadband (high-speed internet) connectivity in unserved areas across Texas. As communities and state leaders digest the details of this report, Connected Nation Texas (CN Texas) wants to applaud Governor Greg Abbott’s support of the Council and efforts to close the Digital Divide for all Texas families, businesses, and communities.
“In early 2020, even before the pandemic hit, Governor Abbott established a council of experts and key stakeholders to research the progress of broadband development in unserved areas, identify barriers to residential and commercial broadband deployment in unserved areas, study technology-neutral solutions to overcome identified barriers, and analyze the benefits of statewide broadband,” said Jennifer Harris, State Program Director, CN Texas. “In the months that have followed we have all experienced the importance of being better connected—whether we needed high-speed internet access for our work, our children’s school lessons, or to access our doctors while limiting our potential exposure to Covid-19. The myriad of reasons for better access has never been more apparent than now – and this report provides a path for connecting all Texans.”
In the report, the Governor’s Broadband Development Council sought to define the problem and explore challenges and solutions to connecting more people across the state—providing recommendations to the state. The Council cited that more than 300,000 households in Texas are unserved and, as of July 2020, an estimated 926,859 Texans do not have broadband access at home.
The broadband access data used in the report was supplied by Connected Nation Texas and funded through the Texas Rural Funders. Harris, who serves as CN Texas’ State Program Director, was appointed to serve on the Governor’s Broadband Development Council and Chaired the subcommittee on the “progress of broadband development in unserved areas.”
“It’s an honor to have been appointed by Governor Abbott to the Governor’s Broadband Development Council,” said Harris. “I’ve enjoyed collaborating with my fellow Council members to work toward connecting all Texans to broadband and am happy to share our first report and recommendations with the Governor, Lt. Governor, and legislature.”
The full report from the Council is available at 2020 Texas Report. You can see a press release from Governor Abbott’s office about the Council’s recommendations by heading to Office of the Texas Governor – Greg Abbott Official Website.
In addition to her work on the Council, Harris is overseeing statewide broadband mapping and community technology planning efforts. These efforts are made possible by support from the Texas Rural Funders to ultimately provide 27 communities with Technology Action Plans and improve the data for statewide maps that detail current broadband coverage which leads to better investments and informed planning.
Community-specific Technology Action Plans are developed using CN’s Connected Community Engagement Program in partnership with local stakeholders and internet service providers. Right now, there are currently 11 Connected Engagements underway across the state of Texas.
To learn more about the makeup of the Broadband Development Council, head here: https://gov.texas.gov/business/page/governors-broadband-development-council
Jessica Denson, Communications Director
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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: Texas Rural Funders (TRF) is a coalition of philanthropic organizations working to bring attention and resources to rural communities across Texas. The mission of 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 TRF 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 and follow TRF on Twitter.