Austin, TX (December 9, 2019) – Connected Nation Texas (CN Texas) recently launched its more than two-year program to connect and support the 1.45 million rural Texans who do not have access to high-speed (broadband) internet.
As part of that work, CN Texas is looking for nearly two-dozen communities that would like to develop a Technology Action Plan to improve broadband access for their businesses, residents, and local organizations and institutions. Two Texas communities have already launched work to develop a plan: Wharton County and Rains County.
“We are working with state and local leaders, providers, and other stakeholders to identify ways and facilitate partnerships that will ultimately connect and support rural Texans who still do not have access,” said Jennifer Harris, State Program Director, CN Texas. “Thanks to funding through the Texas Rural Funders Collaborative, we can now help rural communities that have been left out of the opportunities and resources internet access and its related technology can provide.”
According to data released in May by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 31.1 percent of rural Texans lack access to high-speed internet. That’s compared to just 2.6 percent in urban areas. CN Texas is a local division of the national nonprofit Connected Nation, which has worked in Texas since 2009. The latest statewide effort was launched earlier this year after the new funding was secured.
“This will be a three-pronged approach. We’re focused on getting good data in decision-makers’ hands, helping people learn about the benefits of broadband, and understanding the obstacles and opportunities for expanding access to rural Texans,” said Chris Pedersen, VP of Planning and Development, Connected Nation. “We want to empower Texas leaders — at the local and state level — with a neutral resource center and clearinghouse for broadband information. This can help inform everything from infrastructure planning to economic development.”
Connected Nation has helped more than 300 communities across the United States develop community-specific Technology Action Plans through its Connected program. This program empowers local, collaborative, data-driven technology planning to inform intelligent, digital development by working with a local broadband team.
“We work with local stakeholders to identify areas of importance that are specific to a community,” said Tom Stephenson, Community Technology Advisory, CN Texas. “We then leverage data collection and our experience in this space to help communities chart a course for accelerating local access, adoption, and use of high-speed internet and its related technologies. Our team is on the ground in every community we work with, and we have seen first-hand that not having access negatively impacts our kids, families, senior citizens, veterans, local businesses, farmers, schools, and so much more.”
To learn more about CN Texas or if you’re a community leader or stakeholder who wants to discuss developing a Technology Action Plan for your area, email CN Texas at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website at connectednation.org/Texas.
Learn more about the Connected Program at https://connectednation.org/connect-my-community/.
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 Collaborative: The mission of the Texas Rural Funders Collaborative (TRFC) 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 TRFC 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 TRFC webpage at: https://www.edtx.org/get-involved/texas-rural-funders-collaborative.
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