The Walker County Broadband Committee just launched a new effort to identify solutions for expanding and improving access to broadband (high-speed internet) across the county.
The Walker County Broadband Committee just launched a new effort to identify solutions for expanding and improving access to broadband (high-speed internet) across the county. The committee, made up of local leaders and stakeholders, is working with Connected Nation Texas (CN Texas) to develop a Technology Action Plan for the entire area - and they’re asking for your help.
“We are working to more accurately understand where there are opportunities to expand broadband access in Walker County and identify populations that are being left out of this important resource,” said Jimmy D. Henry, Precinct 4 Commissioner, Walker County. “As part of this work, we need input from those living and working in our community. This includes residents, small-business owners, government and health agencies, farmers and ranchers, and members and leaders of other key organizations.”
You can provide input at https://www.myconnectedcommunity.org/walker-county/. Head to the link and simply choose the survey that best represents your role in the community. The surveys take just 10 minutes to complete.
The surveys are provided by the Connected Community Engagement Program. The Connected staff has worked locally to develop Technology Action Plans for more than 300 communities across the country. Connected and CN Texas are both mission-centric programs of the national nonprofit Connected Nation, which works to find innovative solutions to expanding access, adoption, and use of broadband and its related technologies to all people no matter where they live.
“I’m excited about this opportunity to bring broadband access to our rural areas. This will be great for our citizens and prepare us for future economic growth,” said Henry. “I look forward to working with Connected Nation to accomplish this goal.”
Thanks to funding from the Texas Rural Funders Collaborative, CN Texas is working to identify nearly two dozen communities that want to develop similar plans. Rains, Wharton and Walker counties are the first three to have launched their local broadband initiatives.
“We have worked in Texas for a long time, but we’ve not had a statewide focus for a few years, so I’m excited to see the forward momentum this can achieve,” said Jennifer Harris, State Program Director. “Our staff works with local leaders, businesses, providers, and others to identify ways to connect everyone. Too much is at stake for our Texas communities to stand by and do nothing.”
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.
“We always work locally and with those who have a personal stake in their community and want to take part in improving quality of life for all people,” said Tom Stephenson, Community Technology Advisor, CN Texas. “I have seen firsthand how expanding access to a community can positively impact families, individuals, businesses, and organizations. It means having access to the resources and opportunities that affect everything from education to health care to the economy. No Texas community or family or farmer or small business should be left out of those opportunities.”