Texas senators authorised the state’s largest investment in broadband expansion in history on Sunday. Authorised committing $1.5 billion to an infrastructure fund intended to increase. The availability of the internet in a state where 7 million people lack access to the service.
The bill passed both the House of Representatives and Senate on Sunday and is now on its way to Governor Greg Abbott.
Texas lawmakers approve a $3.3 billion broadband infrastructure bill
Rep. Trent Ashby, R-Lufkin, introduced House Bill 9 to establish the Texas Broadband Infrastructure Fund. The legislation is supplemented by House Joint Resolution 125. Which seeks a constitutional change requiring voter approval to establish the fund.
“This represents a historic investment in infrastructure for connectivity to meet the technological needs of the future,” Ashby told MPs on Sunday. And confirms our conviction that all Texans should have access to cost-effective, dependable high-speed internet.
The legislation’s ultimate form fell short of Ashby’s original proposal. The budget passed by the Legislature reduced the original bill’s $5 billion funding for the fund to $1.5 billion. Additionally, it is a lot less than the $10 billion that Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar claimed the state need to be completely linked when he gave a testimony at the Capitol earlier this year.
Access Expansion and Development Financing
The Broadband Infrastructure Fund will provide matching funds for government funding from the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment Programme, among other things, as well as assist pay for the development and financing of broadband and telecommunications services, as well as 911 services.
Texas has been working to increase broadband availability ever before the COVID-19 epidemic brought attention to the state’s inequities. The Broadband Development Office, which the Legislature created in the 2021 session. And presented its development plan earlier this year, was founded. The majority of the state’s metropolitan areas have access to services. While the majority of its rural areas only have sluggish or nonexistent connection, according to the map.