DeWitt and Lavaca counties’ Technology Action Plan prepares communities for broadband improvement

DeWitt and Lavaca Counties, Texas (November 1, 2021) – Connected Nation Texas (CN Texas) has partnered with DeWitt and Lavaca counties to address the broadband needs in the region. The counties, located two hours east of San Antonio, collected survey responses from 505 households in DeWitt County and 725 residential responses from Lavaca County. CN Texas and community leaders conducted the surveys between January and May 2021.

The purpose of the survey was 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 local sector. The Texas Rural Funders funded this effort.

Highlights from the DeWitt County study include:

  • 97.46% of households have access to broadband speeds of 25/3 Mbps
  • Survey respondents say internet speeds are too slow and prices are too high
  • 65% of employed survey respondents telework

Highlights from the Lavaca County study include:

  • 93.82% of households have access to broadband speeds of 25/3 Mbps
  • Survey respondents say internet speeds are too slow and prices are too high
  • 60% of employed survey respondents telework

“If this was the only thing I can get accomplished, I will consider my term a success,” said Lavaca County Judge Mark Myers. “It is a matter of economic development.”

The action plan addresses these issues and suggests practical solutions the community can implement.  Some of these solutions include:

1. Focus on increasing broadband speeds in both counties. This may mean hiring a broadband director, appointing an advocate, or working regionally with neighboring counties.

2. The counties should collaborate with local organizations to expand free Wi-Fi for their low-income residents. Every community should have sufficient, free access to computers, internet services, wireless networks, and other communication technologies to support the needs of residents.

3. Libraries play a key role in communities. Library services should be promoted to the patrons by increasing their presence online through social media, offering digital learning skills training in both English and Spanish, and increasing their visibility throughout the counties.

4. To help improve connectivity for students in the two counties, DeWitt County and Lavaca County should identify and increase access to wireless hotspots in the community.

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

To view the full results of the Lavaca County broadband surveys, check out:

https://connectednation.hatfield.marketing/lavaca-county-texas/

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 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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