Newton County gathers information on broadband access, adoption, and use by its residents
Newton County, Texas (October 13, 2021) – Newton County, the most eastern county in the state of Texas, recently conducted a survey to gather information surrounding broadband access, adoption, and use of the internet by its residents. Their broadband committee partnered with Connected Nation Texas (CN Texas) to survey the residents and other sectors to understand the broadband picture in Newton County. The survey, which collected responses from 514 households, was conducted between January 2021 and April 2021. Results from the survey allowed CN Texas to present a Technology Action Plan and provide recommendations for broadband improvements.
CN Texas partnered on this project with the T.L.L. Temple Foundation and the Texas Rural Funders. Both organizations focus on helping drive opportunities and success in rural communities throughout Texas.
Highlights from the survey include:
- 37.53% of Newton County households have access to broadband at speeds of 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload.
- 25.35% of households in Newton County have access to internet service at speeds needed to run many modern applications (100 Mbps download and 10 Mbps upload).
- Newton County residents pay more for internet service than other communities surveyed through this program; Newton County households reported paying an average of $81.30 per month, compared to the average of $70.77 a month
- Newton County reports security risks were the leading reason for not adopting broadband by government agencies.
“The survey conducted by Connected Nation Texas was crucial in determining a plan to expand broadband throughout Newton County,” said Michelle Barrow, Superintendent of Newton Independent School District. “Our residents, schools, and businesses have long lacked the access they needed to stay connected.”
The Technology Action Plan developed for the county recommends:
- Enacting strategies to advance deployment of fixed broadband infrastructure.
- Promoting free Wi-Fi available via local businesses, government offices and anchor institutions.
- Promoting low-cost broadband offerings in the community.
- Providing resources for government personnel and public safety entities on how to safely use the internet.
“Newton County’s trajectory for high-speed internet is looking very positive,” said Pamela Waggoner, Broadband Solutions Manager for Connected Nation Texas. “They have received $9 million dollars to construct a rural broadband network in the northern part of the county. The recommendations CN Texas has provided can help with the roadmap going forward.”
“Newton County is grateful for the work that has gone into this project,” said Newton County Judge Kenneth Weeks. “We are excited to hit the ground running with an actionable plan in place to bring better broadband access to our residents.”
To view the full results of the Newton County broadband survey, check out:
To date, the Connected Community Engagement Program has helped more than 650 communities with similar broadband challenges. CN Texas staff analyzed data and held meetings with community officials to determine specific community needs.
To learn more about the Connected Community Engagement Program, visit: https://connectednation.org/connect-my-community/
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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.
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 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/