YOUR TEXAS AGRICULTURE MINUTE
Broadband: Rural Texas is last in line again
By Gene Hall
Quality broadband internet is more than surfing the web and sports scores. It’s economic opportunity, and rural Texas is once more last in line for this essential service. It was the same for electricity, telephones and cable television.
Eric Frederick is vice president of Connected Nation. Speaking at a Texas Tribune event in Austin last Saturday, Sept. 28, Frederick said there is a digital divide, costing Texans without quality broadband more than $5 billion annually.
Bridging that gap means more business, more customers and an economic boost for all.
But there is progress. The state of Texas passed legislation this year. Gov. Greg Abbott has established a broadband council. Broadband mapping is being planned.
The isolation of rural Texas is the greatest obstacle. If it were profitable for internet providers to economically reach into rural areas, they’d have done so already. Frederick says partnerships between farmers, rural households, communities and the state are needed.
The preceding commentary is brought to you by Texas Farm Bureau, the “Voice of Texas Agriculture.” Called “Your Texas Agriculture Minute,” TFB will issue thought-provoking editorials each week—via print and audio—to spark understanding of agriculture in the Lone Star State and its impact on each and every Texan.
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