Donley and Wheeler counties – two counties working toward the same broadband goals

Donley County and Wheeler County, Texas (October 22, 2021) – A technology action plan developed by Connected Nation Texas (CN Texas) has been presented to both Donley and Wheeler counties following a broadband survey. From August 2020 to May 2021, 137 households in Donley County and 218 households in Wheeler 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.

Highlights from the survey include:

Donley County

  • Among residents without a home internet connection, 40% said they did not have broadband because it was not available to them, while 46.7% indicate that it was too expensive.
  • The FCC currently defines broadband as an internet connection with a download speed of at least 25 Mbps and upload speed of at least 3 Mbps. On average, respondents in Donley County indicate that their connection’s download speed is 11.83 Mbps.
  • 84.5% of Donley County respondents indicate that they are interested in additional internet choices for their home.

Wheeler County

  • Among residents without a home internet connection, 56.3% said they did not have broadband because it was not available to them, while 31.3% indicate that it was too expensive.
  • The FCC currently defines broadband as an internet connection with a download speed of at least 25 Mbps and upload speed of at least 3 Mbps. On average, respondents in Wheeler County indicate that their connection’s download speed is 11.45 Mbps.
  • 91.1% of Wheeler County respondents indicate that they are interested in additional internet choices for their home.

“Broadband is an integral part of every community institution, including schools, businesses, and public safety entities,” said Crystal Hermesmeyer, Shamrock Economic Development Director. “Through our partnership with Connected Nation Texas we have a community action plan tailored to the needs and wants of our county. This locally-sourced data and technology action plan will be key as we develop resources and programs to serve our community in the long term.”

This project was made possible through funding provided by the Texas Rural Funders, a philanthropic organization based in Texas dedicated to working with rural communities to develop and implement solutions designed to meet the unique challenges they face.

The recommended broadband goals for both counties are to:

  • Identify a single point of contact to organize and lead broadband initiatives in Donley and Wheeler counties. 
  • Catalog ongoing and planned broadband improvement projects and federal funding initiatives.
  • Increase online engagement in Donley and Wheeler counties through free digital literacy workshops.

“It has been wonderful to work with the Donley and Wheeler County Broadband Team,” said Sierra Sees, Broadband Solutions Manager for CN Texas. “Everyone involved in this project has worked together with the same goal in mind, achieiving greater access to broadband for the people who need it most.” 

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 Donley County broadband surveys, check out: www.connectednation.hatfield.marketing/donley-county-texas

To view the full results of the Wheeler County broadband surveys, check out: www.connectednation.hatfield.marketing/wheeler-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.

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://texasruralfunders.org/

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