The Hill Country of Texas: How three counties are coming together to become ‘Connected Communities’

Blanco, Burnet and Llano Counties, Texas (September 13, 2021) –  The Texas Hill Country is comprised of picturesque communities tucked inside the rural countryside of Central and South Texas. It is a part of Texas that struggles with access to broadband internet — however, that is about to change. A technology action plan developed by Connected Nation Texas (CN Texas) has been presented to three counties: Blanco, Burnet, and Llano. Combined, the three counties have a population of almost 80,000 people, with 96% of residents saying they would like improved internet options in their community.

Between November 2020 and February 2021, 235 households in Blanco County, 1,069 households in Burnet County  and 207 households in Llano County took part in a survey to determine the availability of internet infrastructure; how its residents are adopting and using broadband services; and what steps would have the greatest impact toward improving broadband access, adoption, and use across every sector locally. This engagement is possible thanks to support and funding provided by the Texas Rural Funders. To date, the Texas Rural Funders have sponsored more than two dozen similar projects throughout the state.

Key findings from the survey in Blanco County:

  • 86% of households subscribe to broadband services
  • 24% of businesses indicate they provide public Wi-Fi
  • 100% of government and 80% of K-12 facilities offer public Wi-Fi

Key findings from the survey in Burnet County:

  • 79% of households subscribe to broadband services
  • 20% of businesses indicate they provide public Wi-Fi
  • 40% of government and 36% of K-12 facilities offer public Wi-Fi

Key findings from the survey in Llano County:

  • 83% of households subscribe to broadband services
  • 26% of businesses indicate they provide public Wi-Fi
  • 25% of government and K-12 facilities offer public Wi-Fi

“With so much funding available at both the state and federal levels, it is important to have good data and a community action plan in place,” said Shelly Hargrove, Director of Community and Economic Development for the Capital Area Council of Governments (CAPCOG). “Connected Nation has provided exactly what these communities need, and we are excited to help put the plan into place and get to work on improving broadband access for residents of the 10-county region.”

The recommended broadband goals for all three counties are to:

  • Ensure continued broadband improvement through centralized broadband leadership
  • Promote economic and community growth through broadband offerings
  • Increase broadband adoption and use among residents through digital inclusion and digital skills workshops

“I am excited to see what is ahead for these counties,” said Sierra Sees, Broadband Solutions Manager for CN Texas. “I believe they are all in a good position to improve broadband access, adoption and use throughout their communities. They are set up for long-term success and improved quality of life.” 

To date, the Connected Community Engagement Program has helped more than 650 communities with similar broadband challenges. CN Texas staff analyzed data and held meetings with community officials to determine specific community needs.

To view the full results of the Blanco County broadband surveys, check out: https://connectednation.hatfield.marketing/blanco-county-texas/

To view the full results of the Burnet County broadband surveys, check out: https://connectednation.hatfield.marketing/burnet-county-texas/

To view the full results of the Llano County broadband surveys, check out: https://connectednation.hatfield.marketing/llano-county-texas/  

To learn more about the Connected Community Engagement Program, visit: https://connectednation.hatfield.marketing/connect-my-community/

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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.

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