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Schools prepare videos, school packets for kids without internet

The following story was published on KXAN on July 31, 2020

BASTROP COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Connected Nation will release its latest Texas broadband availability maps Friday. The nonprofit updates the maps every six months to analyze the access to high-speed internet across the counties.

In Bastrop County, the broadband map shows there is 100% high-speed internet access under the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) benchmark standards. The FCC defines high-speed internet as 25 megabits per second, but that’s far from fast. For comparison, smartphones nowadays are easily twice as fast as that. In more urban areas, 100 megabits per second is considered average.

In Travis County, almost every resident has access to broadband speeds over 100 megabits per second. However, in Bastrop County, the availability of those speeds sits at 70%, and in other Central Texas counties, it’s even worse.

Despite the maps, which are built using data supplied by internet providers and the FCC, showcasing 100% access to high-speed internet in Bastrop County, some county residents do not have internet access at home. Many have argued they are unable to sign up for internet through local providers.

“On places where we’ve had residents reach out to us that they’ve had a really hard time getting connected and say they’ve called every provider and they’re still not able to get a connection, we’re going to go check and actually see if there is actual infrastructure,” Jennifer Harris, the nonprofit’s state program director said.

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