Sep 15, 2023 - News

Texans to vote on statewide broadband funding in November

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said the county is using bilingual advertising to inform residents about affordable broadband options. Photo: Jacque Manaugh/Axios

Texas could have nearly $5 billion directed toward expanding broadband availability statewide if voters approve a state constitutional amendment on the ballot in November.

State of play: Texas will receive more than $3.3 billion in federal money — more than any other state — to help expand broadband access, the Biden administration announced this year.

  • Texans will be able to vote on whether to create a Broadband Infrastructure Fund allocating $1.5 billion in state money to expand broadband availability.

Zoom out: As of 2022, almost 2.8 million Texas households and 7 million people in the state lack broadband access, according to the state comptroller.

  • "Twenty-three percent of Texans are unable to attend online classes ... fill out a job application online or access online marketplaces from their kitchen table," the comptroller's report states

Reality check: Residents will need consistent and long-term broadband access after state and federal funds run out.

What they're saying: "We're really interested in seeing what you can do to increase that equity and that affordability and that connectivity, and speed is one of the important things," Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins told Axios during Thursday's program about bridging the digital divide. "This is not like building the convention center where it should take 10 years."


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