A new report by Austin-based think tank Glasshouse Policy recommends a set of solutions to bring broadband access to rural and otherwise underserved areas of Texas. The report’s authors say that as internet access becomes more and more integral to everyday life, rural communities could be left behind without access to high-speed internet service.
According to Glasshouse Policy, 14.6 million Texans do not have access to the internet at broadband speeds.
The group wants to streamline permitting procedures for rural broadband providers. Its recommendations also include more investment in new broadband infrastructure in rural areas. Glasshouse also wants to make the best use of existing telecom infrastructure to make for swifter connectivity.
The report builds off the efforts of a trio of Texas state lawmakers who are pushing broadband expansion measures in the current session. That includes two bills filed by State Sen. Charles Perry, an Abilene Republican, to "put Texas on the path to finally closing the digital divide in rural communities.”
Broadband expansion bills have also been filed in the House, by State Reps. Doc Anderson, who chairs the Texas Legislative Rural Caucus, and Four Price, an Amarillo Republican.