Connected Texas Unveils Detailed Assessment of State’s Broadband Capacity

Report is first step in developing regional plans for expansion of broadband availability and utilization

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“This critical assessment of our broadband landscape can be used by businesses, communities, educational and healthcare systems to grow the Texas job market,” Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples said.

Austin, TX (Vocus/PRWEB) March 22, 2011

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Connected Texas has released a new, detailed report titled, The Broadband Landscape in the State of Texas: Assessment at a State, Regional & Local Level, and Recommendations for Broadband Expansion, that offers a first look at key broadband market data that will be used to form a strategic plan for broadband expansion in Texas. This is the next step in the federally funded effort to expand broadband access and utilization in Texas. The assessment is a working report and will be updated as this process continues and as additional feedback and data is collected.

“This critical assessment of our broadband landscape can be used by businesses, communities, educational and healthcare systems to grow the Texas job market,” Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples said. “We appreciate Connected Texas’ effort in developing this assessment and look forward to working with the Texas Broadband Task Force to promote market-based concepts to expand broadband availability and utilization, resulting in jobs and economic opportunity for all Texans.”

Connected Texas conducted this assessment of the broadband market in Texas utilizing federal funds awarded by the National Telecommunications and Information Agency. This working paper aims to provide an assessment of the current state of broadband in Texas. Broadband stakeholders in the state can use the report to help develop strategies to expand and enhance broadband use for all Texans.

The assessment gives a snapshot of current broadband availability and usage in Texas, defines where and why availability gaps exist, offers recommendations to close the gaps, and presents a technology assessment of the current broadband service infrastructure in Texas.

“The Connected Texas planning report has been crafted to serve as an invaluable tool for all entities in Texas working to expand broadband,” said Brian Mefford, CEO of Connected Texas’ parent organization, Connected Nation. “This assessment, which will be updated as the project progresses, advances the understanding of broadband availability and use, as well as the planning projects to expand broadband use. Importantly, it demonstrates how local officials can utilize Connected Texas resources to increase broadband availability in the future.”

Highlights from the report:

  •     Texas’ broadband marketplace is defined by its sheer size. Large in population and geographic size, Texas is also notable for the diversity of its landmass, which has a definite impact on broadband deployment to date.
  •     Based on Connected Texas’ current mapping data, fixed broadband at minimum download speeds of 768 Kbps or above was available to approximately 7.14 million households, or approximately 96% of all Texan households. This implies that approximately 249,110 Texans remain unserved by terrestrial, fixed broadband.
  •     It is further estimated that 7.05 million, or roughly 95% of, households across Texas have access to broadband services available at download speeds of 3 Mbps or above – a service level identified by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration as necessary for effectively operating many Internet applications. This implies that approximately 100,000, or about 1% of, households across Texas are considered underserved.
  •     At a county level, significant variance in broadband availability across rural and non-rural counties is measured at different speed tiers or from platform to platform.
  •     According to a residential survey of 1,221 Texas households, approximately two-fifths (38%) of Texas residents do not have broadband service in the home, a figure that is below the national adoption gap measured by the FCC.
  •     Slightly more than one-third of Texas households have access to basic broadband services but, for various reasons, are choosing not to subscribe to the service in their home. Of the estimated 38% of Texans without a home broadband connection, 30% report a lack of interest in broadband, 27% report a lack of computer as the primary barrier to broadband, 21% say broadband is too expensive, and 12% report lack of broadband availability to their home.

Connected Texas is the state’s designated entity for the statewide broadband mapping and planning initiative under the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Agency (NTIA) State Broadband Data and Development (SBDD) program. Over the course of a five-year award period, the project aims to expand broadband access and use across the state by mapping broadband availability, identifying barriers to broadband adoption, and assisting regional leaders in accomplishing goals for increased broadband access and use. Connected Texas will continue to gather and compile semi-annual updates on the broadband maps and planning recommendations over the next four years.

All Texas residents are encouraged to visit the Connected Texas website, http://www.connectedtx.org, to join in this important initiative and offer feedback. The website gives residents a resource where they can find broadband providers at their address, check their current Internet speeds, notify officials of unserved areas, and share stories of how high-speed Internet has impacted their lives.

What others are saying about the broadband report:

“The picture of broadband availability and adoption in our state just got a whole lot clearer with the unveiling by Connected Texas of The Broadband Landscape in the State of Texas report. For those engaged in strategic planning, policy development and implementation, and budgeting at the local, regional, and state levels, this report is a treasure trove of current reliable, valid data that, for the first time, gives an accurate picture of broadband deployment and use by households as well as by community anchor institutions, such as public libraries. Now that we have benchmarks, we can set goals for progress in statewide broadband adoption and determine the resources it will take to meet those goals.”

-Peggy D. Rudd, Director and Librarian of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission

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“TechAmerica has been honored to serve as a member of the Texas Broadband Task Force and honored to offer the technology industry’s perspective to the Task Force’s work. Together, we are helping fulfill the state’s vision of delivering quality broadband Internet access to all corners of Texas and we applaud Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples for his leadership of this group.

“Today’s release of the Texas planning report is an important and critical first step in bringing the promise of high-speed Internet connectedness to every Texas community. This report identifies areas in which our state’s telecommunications infrastructure is lacking and ways in which we can bridge the gaps. Expanded broadband Internet access will afford Texas greater access to economic opportunity, information, medical services, entertainment, and communications that will improve their everyday lives.

“We will continue to work with the task force to see broadband availability expanded to all areas of the state and to increase consumer use of communications technologies that can improve the quality of life in Texas communities. Our state’s continued economic development depends upon it.”

-Jeffrey Clark, Regional Vice President, TechAmerica, The Association of Companies Driving Innovation Worldwide

Related Links:
Press Release: Commissioner Staples Releases Statewide Map to Identify Broadband Needs Across Texas
Press Release: Connected Texas Garners New Grant to Extend Broadband Expansion Efforts in Texas
Press Release: Texas Department of Agriculture: Texas Receives $3 Million for Broadband Mapping and Planning
About Connected Texas: Connected Texas is a subsidiary of Connected Nation and operates as a non-profit in the state of Texas. The Texas Department of Agriculture is leading the initiative to increase broadband Internet access throughout Texas. Connected Texas was commissioned by the state to work with all Texas broadband providers to create detailed maps of broadband coverage in order to accurately pinpoint remaining gaps in broadband availability in Texas. Connected Texas is also supporting the development a statewide plan for the deployment and adoption of broadband. For more information visit: http://www.connectedtx.org.

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