Next January will inaugurate the 86th meeting of the Texas Legislature. Every two years, the elected state representatives and senators of the people of Texas meet together to write and pass legislation. In connection with our local officials and community leaders, preparation for this upcoming legislative session is already underway. As it approaches, I look forward to sharing with you the issues we are preparing to tackle to address the needs and concerns of our district. One issue that is high on our priority list is improving access to broadband internet throughout rural areas in Texas.
Broadband access means more than simply the speed of your internet at home. In fact, even if you have high-speed Internet access at your home or place of work, this issue matters to the cities, towns, and counties of our district. Broadband internet can play an important role in emergency communications, economic growth, healthcare and education.
In many parts of our district, there is limited access to fast and reliable internet. Our world and our economy are becoming more and more reliant on technology and instant communication. Therefore, it is vital that we address our lack of access in order to remain competitive for job growth, business development and economic investment.
Furthermore, much of our society relies on high-speed broadband to deliver and utilize helpful services and information. While Texas’ urban areas are growing, much of the state’s population still lives in rural areas, where they face limited to no internet access. High-speed internet is an essential tool for education, telemedicine, and other economic opportunities.
Our office is collecting input now from the people in our district to craft solutions to the rural broadband problem. In addition to meeting with representatives from other parts of the state, we are gaining insights and experiences from local stakeholders like the Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative and Guadalupe Valley Electric Cooperative. We have been facilitating and participating in policy roundtables to receive input from community leaders and everyday Texans who face challenges from limited broadband access.
If you would like to add your voice to this exchange, please contact our office at 512-463-0682. In the months ahead, we will be crafting solutions to help close the communication gap in rural areas and counties with significant rural populations. Working together, this can provide a strong foundation to facilitate improvements to our communications infrastructure, new opportunities for local businesses and service providers, and better conditions for economic growth.
John P. Cyrier State Representative HD17