Tyler County develops plan to improve broadband connectivity
Tyler County, Texas (October 13, 2021) – After months of collecting broadband data in Tyler County, leaders agree that residents need better access to the internet. Connected Nation Texas (CN Texas) conducted a survey between February 2021 and May 2021 to determine the community’s access, adoption, and use of the internet. In total, the study collected responses from 401 households along with businesses, schools, and other institutions.
Currently, the FCC defines broadband as 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload. By that definition, only 36% of Tyler County households are considered to have adequate high-speed internet access and most of the broadband service in Tyler County is concentrated in the central portion of the county.
“Working through this process with Connected Nation Texas has been eye-opening,” said Lisa Meysembourg, Superintendent of the Woodville Independent School District. “As a school district, we have been attempting to address the technology and connectivity needs of our students and their families in isolation, which is not effective or productive. To truly make a difference, this requires an integrated, coordinated effort by all stakeholders in the county and the communities they serve, not just the schools.”
CN Texas partnered on this project with the T.L.L. Temple Foundation and the Texas Rural Funders. The study has proven to be a valuable resource to help drive the effort to provide reliable, high-speed internet services in the area.
Highlights from the study include:
- Tyler County residents report that the lack of available service and cost are the primary barriers to subscribing to home internet service.
- More than one-half (51%) of households that subscribe to mobile service rely on that mobile connection as their primary source of home internet connectivity or use their mobile service to connect other household devices to the internet.
- 55% of employed respondents in Tyler County telework at least part of the time, though teleworkers in Tyler County work from home less often than teleworkers in other communities.
Lisa Meysembourg continued by praising the work Connected Nation Texas is doing in Tyler County, “I am thankful to have their guidance and support because while broadband services and internet connectivity are so very critical in today's world, it has been extremely difficult to find and dedicate the time to this issue that it requires and deserves.”
The Technology Action Plan that Connected Nation Texas developed with Tyler County recommends:
- Prioritizing broadband as an essential resource to drive economic opportunity in Tyler County
- Reducing the cost and minimizing barriers to broadband deployment
- Expanding free or low-cost Wi-Fi throughout the community for all residents
- Ensuring all K-12 students have access to high-speed internet inside the classroom and at home
“I am looking forward to Tyler County implementing the action plan and committing resources to bring broadband to all residents, businesses, K-12 students, and other sectors,” said CN Texas Broadband Solutions Manager, Pam Waggoner. “With incoming grants and subsidies to internet providers, the county, and other entities, Tyler County has a chance to improve the quality of life through high-speed internet access.”
To view the full results of the Tyler 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/