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CORYELL COUNTY

Local county reaches out to bring affordable Internet to rural communities

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CORYELL COUNTY - While many of us want more wifi and hotspots, people living in rural areas of Central Texas would settle for a reliable Internet connection and now, a nonprofit is working to do just that.

Connected Texas aims to help bring affordable internet to rural areas and acts as a liaison with state and federal governments and rural counties.

The technological infrastructure in Coryell County is about 20 years behind, which makes it increasingly difficult for local businesses and residents to keep up in today's digital age.

Coryell County Judge John Firth says having Internet is necessary in today’s world.

"It’s really important not just to promote business operations within our county, but also to provide job opportunities for those in the county," says Judge Firth.

Coryell County resident and Connect Texas Community Champion Jack Barcroft says that even for those who have Internet, in places like Oglesby and Evant, the connection is spotty at best.

"Coryell County is underserved and overpriced at the moment in regards to dollars per broadband,” says Barcroft.

Coryell County has one of the highest unemployment rates in Central Texas and county leaders believe that having widespread internet access will help bring in jobs where people can work from home.

“It helps families earn livings to support themselves, it creates additional jobs as individuals are able to create businesses that expand,” says Firth. “So there’s a lot of reason this becomes very important.”

Connected Texas will collect data from businesses and residents in the area on how they could benefit from more reliable and affordable Internet. Then they'll use that information to develop strategies and bring in more Internet providers.

"The idea is in a free market, with more competition, you’re going to get a better quality product for a lower price,” says Barcroft.  

Which Connected Texas and county leaders say will then lead to a better and more efficient business and community environment.

The Connected Texas program kicks off Tuesday, and though it focuses on Coryell County, Connected Texas hopes to help other rural communities throughout the state.

Click here for more information on Connected Texas.
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