Hall County Broadband Committee releases information from study with Connected Nation Texas

Local News

MEMPHIS, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Officials with the Hall County Broadband Committee released information from its study with Connected Nation Texas, recommending various findings to improve broadband access and speeds across the county.

This comes after the city of Amarillo’s city council approved a broadband initiative for Potter and Randall counties. According to previous reports by MyHighPlains.com, the city is using a portion of its American Rescue Plan allocation for an initiative which is expected to bring broadband access to parts of town which have trouble accessing high-speed internet.

According to a news release, the Hall County Broadband Committee is made up of local leaders and stakeholders. The committee worked with Connected Nation Texas to develop a technology action plan for the county.

“Ensuring that every resident, business, and community organization has access to reliable internet is critical. It impacts everything from education to economics,” Hall County Judge Ray Powell said in the release. “That’s why we worked with Connected Nation Texas to identify the challenges and the opportunities for improving our internet access and speeds in Hall County. We now have a much clearer picture of the current broadband landscape across our area.”

A countywide survey within that plan found the average internet speed reported by residential survey respondents was 13.70 Mbps and that 61% of households and businesses reported their dissatisfaction with their current internet service because of slow speeds, unreliable connections and high prices.

“Identifying the barriers and the entry points for where better connectivity is needed is one part of the plan. In addition, we also worked with area internet service providers and other stakeholders to gather additional data points. Then, using our Connected Community Engagement Program, which has helped nearly 650 communities nationwide, we developed a plan that’s tailored for Hall County,” Sierra Sees, the broadband solutions manager for Connected Nation Texas, said in the release. “That plan provides a summary of current access—including the demand for services—and a series of actionable steps that can improve internet access across the county.”

Officials with the committee outlined three goals to provide access to broadband internet throughout Hall County:

  • Promote broadband as an economic and community development gateway;
  • Promote low-cost broadband offerings for vulnerable populations and increase access;
  • Leverage community assets and partnerships to increase broadband speeds in Hall County.

“As educators, we know broadband is important for our students not just in the classroom, but also in their homes where learning and development continues to take place. The importance of local data that supports the digital needs and wants of community residents and institutions cannot be overstated,” Kitsy Pepper, the technology specialist and educational grant writer for the Memphis Independent School District, said in the release. “We know what the barriers are to access and where there are opportunities for improvement. Together, we can create long lasting and positive change that will help everyone across our county.”

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