News Article | January 27, 2022
Broadband Development Office Planning Statewide Listening Tour
The Texas Broadband Development Office (BDO) is recommending counties begin to assess the broadband needs of their community.
One of the BDO’s mandates is to create a broadband availability map indicating eligible vs. ineligible areas for financial assistance. The office is developing a process to dispute map inaccuracies and in June will reach out to communities for input on the proposed map. The map is expected to be completed in January 2023.
The BDO is also tasked with developing the state’s first comprehensive broadband plan to help close the digital divide in Texas. The BDO will soon conduct a listening tour around the state and encourages all stakeholders to participate in the process. They want your feedback on how access and use of broadband affects your life. Locations and dates are still being determined. Sign up here to receive updates on the listening tour as well as any other updates from the BDO.
BDO Director Greg Conte offered recommendations for counties to consider as they evaluate their options for broadband development. “To best respond to their community needs, county officials must have a complete picture of their broadband landscape,” Conte said. “One way for due diligence could include a 3rd party engineering report.” When asked about the availability of funding, Conte recommended counties plan accordingly and be patient as funding will take time.
Helpful resources to start the broadband process:
- Becoming Broadband Ready Toolkit.
- Planning a Community Broadband Roadmap: A Toolkit for Local and Tribal Governments
- North Carolina's Community Broadband Planning Playbook.
Contact the BDO for assistance.
Additionally, the U.S. Treasury Department released its final rules for American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, which include broadband expansion and upgrades as an acceptable use. The final rules have expanded the number of projects related to broadband services that are eligible under ARPA. More information can be found here.
For more information about this article, contact Rick Thompson.