Enhanced Maps for Every Texas County Include More Resident Feedback, Provider Data
Austin, TX (August 4, 2020) – Connected Nation Texas (CN Texas) just released new broadband (high-speed internet) coverage maps that provide updated details on internet speeds and coverage for all 254 counties across the Lone Star State. The maps now include additional input from residents, businesses, and communities, as well as new, more granular data from internet service providers (ISPs).
“Connected Nation Texas released broadband coverage maps in January. At the time, it was the first statewide, comprehensive map update for Texas in five years,” said Jennifer Harris, State Program Director, CN Texas. “Those initial maps were designed to be a starting point for public feedback and additional data collection. We have spent the last six months gathering public feedback and working with providers to get updated granular information reflecting their coverage.”
CN Texas is a local division of Connected Nation (CN), a national nonprofit working to expand access, adoption, and use of broadband and its related technology to all people. CN has worked with individual communities across Texas since 2009, but in 2019, thanks to funding from the Texas Rural Funders, a statewide effort was launched to connect all Texans.
“The coronavirus crisis has made the need for statewide adoption more critical than ever. As Texans prepare for life in a post-COVID world, universal access to broadband will be a lifeline to the new economy. With in-person services severely limited, Texans will continue to rely on broadband internet access to speak with healthcare providers; to attend classes; to work from home; to shop online; and to apply for government benefits,“ said Harris. “Having better maps is key to ensuring that we are truly identifying the areas that are unserved or underserved so we are more effectively working toward and finding solutions for closing the Digital Divide in Texas.”In addition to state-level maps, each county has four maps based on four different download and upload speeds for internet service. You can find your county map and review its updated information by heading to https://connectednation.hatfield.marketing/texas/2020-county-maps/.You can also find an interactive map at https://connectednation.hatfield.marketing/texas/interactivemap
“Since the release of the initial maps, we have worked with broadband providers to obtain more granular and detailed service area data. We have also completed analyses that show the density of providers and the density of unserved households as data layers on the interactive map. This gives state and community leaders across Texas a better idea of where internet service is lacking and where there are opportunities to expand that access,”said Ashley Hitt, GIS Services Director, Connected Nation (CN). “Wewill continue working with providers on updates to their coverage areas for the next map update in December 2020, in addition to collecting public feedback on the maps and conducting field validation to confirm and refine service areas.”
CN Texas is taking a four-pronged approach to improving access for all Texans: working directly with broadband providers to obtain accurate broadband service coverage areas; focusing on getting good data to decision-makers; helping people understand the benefits of broadband; and understanding how we can expand broadband access and use to rural Texans.
“Expanding broadband access for rural Texans was a priority for us before the pandemic. It was important then; it is critical now. Chromebooks and hotspots are not a rural solution. Rural students will be left behind, parents are unable to work from home, and economic development is stifled without broadband,” said Wynn Rosser, president and CEO of the T.L.L. Temple Foundation, a member of the Texas Rural Funders.
By working in partnership with local stakeholders, internet service providers, and community and state leaders, the hope is to identify ways to connect every community in the state.
“This map would not be possible had it not been for the participation of the broadband providers and the cooperation of the telecommunications trade associations across the state. We want to take this opportunity to thank those broadband providers that worked so closely with us over the past several months,” said Chip Spann, CN Director of Engineering and Technical Services.
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Jessica Denson, Director, Communications
About Connected Nation Texas: CN Texas is a local division of the national nonprofit Connected Nation. Our mission is to improve lives by providing innovative solutions that expand access to and increase the adoption and use of broadband (high-speed internet) and its related technologies for all people. Everyone belongs in a Connected Nation.
Connected Nation works with consumers, local community leaders, states, technology providers, and foundations to develop and implement technology expansion programs with core competencies centered on a mission to improve digital inclusion for people and places previously underserved or overlooked. For more information, please visit: connectednation.hatfield.marketingand follow Connected Nation on Facebookand Twitter.
About the Texas Rural Funders:The mission of the Texas Rural Funders (TRF) is to partner with rural Texans to achieve their vision of prosperity and wellbeing. The group’s strategies recognize and are informed by rural expertise and assets. The TRF leverages local, philanthropic, state and federal resources to collaborate on projects, support local capacity and leadership, share research, convene stakeholders and engage in advocacy. More information can be found on the TRF webpage at: https://www.edtx.org/get-involved/texas-rural-funders
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