Press Release: NEW BROADBAND STORIES HIGHLIGHT CHALLENGES, OPPORTUNITIES TO CONNECT RURAL TEXANS WITH BROADBAND ACCESS – 90% OF DISCONNECTED TEXANS ARE IN RURAL AREAS

For Immediate Release
Jan. 28, 2021                          

Contact: Jennifer Waisath Harris
512-773-7168 | jharris@jwhcommunications.com

NEW BROADBAND STORIES HIGHLIGHT CHALLENGES, OPPORTUNITIES TO CONNECT RURAL TEXANS WITH BROADBAND ACCESS
90% OF DISCONNECTED TEXANS ARE IN RURAL AREAS

AUSTIN, TX - Today, Texas Rural Funders released Broadband Stories from Rural Texas, a report that examines the impact of rural Texans’ lack of broadband access and how local communities are responding to the challenges they face.

“The COVID-19 pandemic exposes gaps across health care, technology, education, working from home, and all aspects of our everyday lives,” said Dr. Wynn Rosser, President, T.L.L, Foundation and a member of Texas Rural Funders.

“For rural communities trying to access high-speed Internet, these broadband gaps are not cracks but canyons. Texas Rural Funders is shining a light on the progress being made in local communities and the need for a statewide broadband plan to address access and equity,” Dr. Rosser added.

In this latest edition of the report, Texas Rural Funders finds that rural Texans are the state’s most disconnected residents:

  • Texas is one of only six states without a statewide broadband plan.
  • Texas is 35th in broadband adoption among U.S. states.
  • 90% of Texans who are disconnected are in rural areas.

The report includes a compilation of real-world examples from Bastrop, Jasper, Ward, and Walker counties of how lack of broadband access impacts rural communities all across Texas and the extraordinary efforts of those communities to respond to the challenge.

Broadband Stories from Rural Texas is available online at http://bit.ly/BroadbandStoriesTRF.

“We’re bringing the overlooked needs of rural Texans to the forefront of ongoing policy discussions,” said Dr. Rosser. “As only one of six states without a statewide broadband plan, it’s time for Texas to get everyone connected.”

Rosser noted that an independent analysis by the 12-county Deep East Texas Council of Governments (DETCOG) shows that rural East Texans pay 400% more per megabit for broadband service that is less reliable and lower-speed than residents of Dallas-Fort Worth. The same analysis shows that there are significant economic gains to be realized by expanding affordable access to broadband, projecting an economic impact across the East Texas counties of more than 10,000 new jobs and $1.4 billion in added GDP over a 10-year period.

“Texas families and businesses can not only survive but thrive if connectivity improves,” added Dr. Rosser.

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About Texas Rural Funders

Texas Rural Funders is a coalition of funding organizations that believe the future of Texas depends on strong, successful rural communities. We are dedicated to working with rural communities to develop and implement solutions to their unique challenges. Learn more at texasruralfunders.org.

About Digital Texas
Digital Texas is a statewide coalition of advocates, employers, and non-profit organizations working to improve digital connectivity access for all Texans. To accomplish this, Digital Texas seeks to engage with private industry, nonprofit leaders, the public, and legislators. For more information, visit www.digitaltexas.org.