Broadband survey results and action plan bring learning and expanded opportunities to Jefferson County

Jefferson County, Texas (June 6, 2022) – Jefferson County, in partnership with Connected Nation Texas (CN Texas) and the South East Texas Regional Planning Commission (SETRPC), have released the results of a comprehensive broadband survey and Technology Action Plan designed to increase high-speed internet access across the community. The Jefferson County broadband engagement was sponsored by the SETRPC.

Pamela Waggoner, Broadband Solutions Manager for Connected Nation Texas, presented the Technology Action Plan to Jefferson County Commissioners Court

From February to April 2022, residents, business owners, government leaders, first responders, ranchers, educators, and health care officials provided their feedback in an online survey as part of the Connected Community Engagement Program, which empowers local leaders and communities through collaborative, data-driven technology planning. In total, 1,274 surveys were collected. The results of the engagement have highlighted Jefferson County’s local connectivity needs and informed a comprehensive community action plan. To date, the Connected program has helped more than 650 communities across the country build comprehensive Technology Action Plans.

The broadband survey provides a clear picture of the internet landscape across the county. Among other key data points, the survey found the following:

  • 96% of households have access to broadband speeds of 100 Mbps download/10 Mbps upload, which is considered necessary to run modern-day applications. 
  • 61.3% of households subscribe to fixed internet service. The main barriers to subscribing are lack of broadband service availability and the cost of internet service. 
  • 8 out of 10 households said they would like to have improved or additional options for home internet services. 
  • 67% of employed residents in the county telework in some capacity. More than 1 out of 5 telework every day. 

“I am grateful for the knowledge and assistance being provided to the Jefferson County Commissioners Court and to assist us in providing greater access by our citizens to internet service,” said Jeff R. Branick, Jefferson County Judge. “We are encouraged and look forward to implementing the plan to accomplish this goal.”

Based on the survey findings, the Technology Action Plan makes the following recommendations:

Goal 1: Create a permanent Jefferson County broadband team that includes leaders from each community sector.

Goal 2: Establish relationships with current and new broadband providers to make sure funds are being spent efficiently and where they are most needed — in unserved and underserved areas of the county. 

Goal 3: Increase broadband adoption among Jefferson County residents by providing and promoting low- and reduced-cost internet plans and subsidy programs. Promote programs that help residents overcome affordability barriers to broadband adoption, such as the Public Utility Commission of Texas’ Lifeline Program and the Federal Communications Commission’s Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP).

This project was sponsored by the South East Texas Regional Planning Commission with funding provided by the Economic Development Administration (EDA) CARES Act Recovery Assistance.

To view the full results of the Jefferson County broadband survey, visit:

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

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About Connected Nation Texas: CN Texas is the statewide subsidiary of the national nonprofit Connected Nation. Its 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.marketing and follow Connected Nation on Facebook and Twitter.

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