Expanding internet access, closing ‘digital divide’ on the table for lawmakers this session

25 Mar 2021


Two Texas lawmakers are proposing legislation aimed at closing the “digital divide” in the state, as the coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the essential need for internet access.

State Sen. Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville, and State Rep. Trent Ashby, R-Lufkin, announced Friday that they’ve worked together and each will introduce bills aimed at making sure Texans both have access to internet service and the ability to subscribe to it. The legislative session begins next week, and according to their release, Gov. Greg Abbott has said he wants broadband development to be a priority on his agenda.

First, the bills want Texas to create a Broadband Development Office and a Broadband Development Program, which will later be able to create a plan for the entire state. Right now, Texas is one of six states in the U.S. that does not have a plan and “is regularly left at a disadvantage when seeking out precious federal dollars because no such plan has been enacted,” according to the release.

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