NPR Story
8:54 am
Tue May 6, 2014

Broadband plans takes shape in East Texas towns

A series of meetings this month in East Texas will mark formal steps to draft a county-by-county broadband plan for the region.

The East Texas Regional Broadband Initiative is a 14-county project led by the East Texas Council of Governments or ETCOG alongside the consultancy of Connected Texas, which aims to advance technology in rural Texas.

Ron Turner, Connected Texas’ community technology adviser, says he plans to hold meetings in all 14 counties to develop tailored plans for broadband connectivity.

“What we’re going to do is to show a vision of a rural renaissance of what East Texas can look like with a broadband infrastructure, both in terms of quality of life and economic prosperity,” Dallas-based Turner said.

ETCOG’s research manager Nanette Stephens says there are parts of East Texas that don’t have internet access or are underserved with few options. Before investing in fiber optic cable and towers, according to Stephens, it’s important to understand the broadband situation of each county and get face-to-face input from residents and businesses.

“Providers can go out there and place something, but is that really what that is needed? We need the input from the community as a whole,” Stephens said.

Stephens says it could take up to a year to draft individual county plans and fold that into a regional broadband vision. She says grants and other funding to carry out each plan will be tackled in the next phase.

Broadband meeting schedule:

TYLER MEETING

May 6, 2014

9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.  

Tyler Workforce Center

4100 Troup Hwy.

Tyler, Texas

PALESTINE MEETING

May 7, 2014

9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

2000 S. Loop 256 (Palestine Mall), Suite 18

Palestine, Texas

LONGVIEW MEETING

May 8, 2014

9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Longview Workforce Center

2430 S. High St. Suite A-1

Longview, Texas

SULPHUR SPRINGS MEETING

May 12, 2014

9:30 - 11:30 a.m.

Sulphur Springs Public Library

611 Davis St. North

Sulphur Springs, Texas

PARIS MEETING

May 12, 2014

1:30 - 3:30 p.m.

Paris Junior College

McLemore Student Center

2400 Clarksville, Room 219

Paris, Texas

MT. PLEASANT MEETING

May 13, 2014

9 – 11 a.m.

Mt. Pleasant Public Library

601 N. Madison

Mt. Pleasant, Texas

TEXARKANA MEETING

May 13, 2014

1:30 - 3:30 p.m.

Ark-Tex Council of Governments

4808 Elizabeth

Texarkana, Texas

Broadband East Texas piece

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