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Donley and Wheeler Counties Partner to Improve High-Speed Internet Access Across the Region
Posted By: Donna Smith - 10/21/2020 8:00:00 AM

Donley and Wheeler Counties, TX (August 18, 2020) –The Donley & Wheeler Counties’ Joint Broadband Committee, in partnership with Connected Nation Texas (CN Texas), today launched new work to improve broadband (high-speed internet) access for families, businesses, and communities in the panhandle. 

“We must take action now to improve access to high-speed internet for everyone in our counties,” said Landon Lambert, Donley County Attorney. “All of us have experienced why this is so important—from kids having to do classroom work at home to the need for telehealth services for our most vulnerable populations—we cannot wait for someone else to come up with a plan for our communities. We need to take definitive action now and tackle the need head on.”

The broadband committee is comprised of local community leaders from various sectors. The Committee has partnered with CN Texas to leverage the nonprofit’s Connected Community Engagement Program

“This program will be used to help develop a Technology Action Plan that’s specific to the unique needs of our area,” said Kristen Moudy, Director Wheeler Chamber of Commerce and EDC. “We’re asking local residents, business owners, community organizations, and others to take part in surveys during this planning process so we can more effectively and correctly identify where there are challenges and opportunities for expanding broadband access to more people and businesses.” 

Residents, businesses, community organizations, and others can take the ten- minute surveys at the following links:  

“It’s so important that as many people as possible fill out the surveys and tell us how good their access is or how bad it is,” said Sandra Childress, City Secretary, Howardwick, Donley County. “That way we can get a better picture of what things are like for our two counties. We can all understand how frustrating it can be to not have the access to educational and economic resources that will help our local families, businesses, and communities.” 

The Connected program has developed more than 350 Technology Action Plans for communities across the country. CN Texas, thanks to funding from the Texas Rural Collaborative, is bringing the program to 23 communities across the state. The Donley and Wheeler Counties’ collaborative is the 10thone to be named since the relaunch of the state program in late 2019. 

“The panhandle of Texas has some of the highest cost internet in the country—surpassed only by parts of Alaska,” said Jennifer Harris, State Program Director, CN Texas. “By better understanding the broadband landscape of Donley and Wheeler counties we can help identify ways to mitigate those costs for the most vulnerable populations while at the same time exploring new opportunities for infrastructure expansion, internet service provider partnerships, and federal funding that can support local communities.”

In addition, earlier this month CN Texas released updated broadband coverage maps for every Texas County including those in the panhandle. You can find your county map and review its updated information by heading to https://connectednation.org/texas/mapping-analysis/and provide feedback at https://connectednation.org/texas/feedback. You can also find an interactive map at https://connectednation.org/texas/interactivemap

To learn more email Jennifer Harris at jharris@connectednation.orgor visit the CN Texas website at https://connectednation.org/texas/

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Contact: Jessica Denson, Director, Communications

Email: jdenson@connectednation.org Phone: 502-341-2024
Website: connectednation.org/texas  

About Connected Nation Texas: CN Texas is a local division of the national nonprofit Connected Nation. Our mission is to improve lives by providing innovative solutions that expand access to and increase the adoption and use of broadband (high-speed internet) and its related technologies for all people. Everyone belongs in a Connected Nation. 

Connected Nation works with consumers, local community leaders, states, technology providers, and foundations to develop and implement technology expansion programs with core competencies centered on a mission to improve digital inclusion for people and places previously underserved or overlooked. For more information, please visit: connectednation.org and follow Connected Nation on Facebook and Twitter.

About the Texas Rural Funders:The mission of the Texas Rural Funders (TRF) is to partner with rural Texans to achieve their vision of prosperity and well being. The group’s strategies recognize and are informed by rural expertise and assets. The TRFC leverages local, philanthropic, state and federal resources to collaborate on projects, support local capacity and leadership, share research, convene stakeholders and engage in advocacy. More information can be found on the TRF webpage at: https://www.edtx.org/get-involved/texas-rural-funders-collaborative