Bridging the Digital Divide: Conference Aims to Bring Broadband Internet to All Texans
In Texas, nearly one million households still are not using the Internet. More than 38 percent of Texans are still not connected to high-speed Internet at home, even though they could be. And with 11 percent of the Texas population completely unconnected, a lack of digital literacy is a real issue.
The Connected Texas Broadband Summit, being held today in Dallas, is for anyone who wants to address those issues.
“We want to help plan to create initiatives and momentum behind expanding broadband in areas where it remains gapped, and in areas where digital literacy and broadband adoption lag behind,” explained Jessica Ditto, Director of Communications for Connected Nations. Today is the first time Texas has ever seen a summit focused on broadband.
Today, Connected Texas, a subsidiary of Connected Nations, will be establishing a collaborative program to set up public computing centers statewide, which will provide free training on internet usage. Engaging digital illiteracy, Ditto says, is a critical goal for Connected Texas. “Everything that we do is happening on the internet, but there are still several areas in the state where broadband is not fully utilized, and we’re working to change that.”
One way Connected Texas is doing that is by mapping the state’s service areas. The majority of households in Texas that don’t have access today are in remote areas, but since Connected Texas published their first broadband map, they’ve been able to identify more densely populated areas that providers didn’t realize were underserved, leading to expansion in those regions. “That’s the first step: giving people the right information to address the underserved areas,” Ditto says.
As the summit begins, so do efforts to bring the world’s most interlinking tool to more and more citizens. “The goal is to bring together key stakeholders from across the state to begin discussion surrounding expanding broadband access and broadband adoption,” Ditto adds.