AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) – The Texas Office of the Comptroller has established the Broadband Development Office to help Internet service providers make the Internet accessible in areas with poor connection.
” Till today [Texas] was one of six states that had not created a broadband development office, ”said Glenn Hegar, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.
Broadband access is a necessity in today’s world having experienced virtually everything during the pandemic.
However, some Panhandle counties have less than 50 percent access to their areas.
These maps provided by Connected Nation Texas show areas like Hansford, Hemphill and Childress County having less than 20% internet access and even less than 1%.
“As soon as we see speeds of 100 by 10 or faster when it comes to home broadband connectivity, we see that these speeds and the availability they drop in many rural counties in the Panhandle,” said Jennifer Harris, State Director for Connected State Texas.
The Broadband Development Office will support Internet service providers to make the Internet accessible in these areas, thereby improving the quality of life for rural Texas residents.
“Serving these outside areas, we’re typically a lot of small businesses,” said Andrew Monroe, vice president of operations at Plains Internet. “Being able to have government funding to help us speed up the plans to get out there and speed up the service that we provide is really a good thing that is going to be beneficial for a lot of people. “
The office will provide Internet service providers with grants, low-interest loans and other incentives to expand Internet coverage to benefit people in educational and medical services and in economic growth.
“Having high quality broadband, not just here, but in these small communities around us encourages workplaces and communities and enables them to get better talent,” said Monroe.
In turn, broadband access will bring more entrepreneurs interested in starting businesses in the Panhandle.
“We spoke to a small town where the city manager was extremely excited that we were going to deploy fiber because some companies wanted to come to town, but when they found out they didn’t have internet fiber, they chose another location, ”said Matthew Carpenter, president of AW Broadband. “Now they are able to tell this company that we have fiber optic internet, we can meet those needs. “
The office is still in discussion as to when these funds can be allocated.
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