Opinion: Rural Texans Deserve Broadband

by Suzanne Bellsnyder, Editor

In today's fast-paced and interconnected world, it is more important than ever that we do everything in our power to close Texas’s digital divide and give every Texan the connectivity that they need. That’s why it’s deeply troubling that a key broadband program that about 1.5 million Texas households are enrolled in, the Affordable Connectivity Program(ACP), is estimated to run out of funding by the early part of next year. If Congress does not act to extend this program, it will threaten the connectivity of millions of Texans, as well as future efforts to expand broadband infrastructure to Texas’s rural, unserved regions.

The ACP has already made great progress at chipping away at Texas’s digital divide. With millions enrolled, the program has been able to provide students the connectivity they need for school, small businesses the high-speed internet they need to grow their brand, and countless other Texans access to the online services they need to thrive. That’s why Governor Abbott has praised the program for assisting ““more families and businesses [to] be able to afford high-speed internet.”

The ACP will also be pivotal in its assistance toward our state’s rural broadband deployment efforts, which Senators Cruz and Cornyn have been champions of. Due to the number of unserved regions that exist across Texas, our state received more Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program funding than any other state. To ensure we use this funding to its fullest potential the ACP will be much needed, as its existence lowers the subsidy required to incentivize providers to invest in rural broadband deployments.

Every Texan deserves broadband access regardless of their place of residency or socioeconomic status. I urge our leaders in Congress to make that goal a reality by extending this much-needed program.

Spearman EDC Survey