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Texas congressman presents bill to help provide faster Internet in rural areas

Posted at 5:40 PM, Oct 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-21 18:40:32-04

MOODY, TX — Complaining about slow Internet seems like a daily occurrence. We either make the complaint ourselves or hear it from someone else. In the age of a pandemic and many working or learning from home, fast Internet is what we all need.

Unfortunately, those in rural communities are struggling even more so. Congressman Roger Williams with the 25th Congressional Texas District says it shouldn't be this way.

Congressman Williams has presented a bill called the Eliminate the Digital Divide Act, challenging states to help these rural cities with internet access.

“I’m proud to introduce the Eliminate the Digital Divide Act to level the playing field and expand Internet access for all Texans. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, more than two million Texas residents didn’t have access to reliable Internet, and a staggering 18 million Americans nationwide had no access at all," Congressman Williams said. "Now that we’re in the midst of a once-in-a-generation public health crisis, digital access to resources and virtual health care delivery has never been more paramount."

Even rural school districts have felt the pain in trying to provide for their students remotely learning.

"Our students who live further out do not have any kind of fiber or broadband," said Nancy Molina, the Technology Director at Moody ISD.

Then there's students who live even further and don't even have a cellular option to connect to. This has been a constant struggle for the district, but with communication and adaptation, they're making it work.

"We have combated that by offering hotspots. The Operation Connectivity was able to provide us with more hotspots," Superintendent Gary Martel said.

Students even have the option to pull up to any school campus and log onto their WiFi that way, although slow Internet goes beyond the school walls.

"The daily struggle is the fact that it's slow Internet. It's beyond slow," Moody resident, John Price said.

Price also owns his own screen-printing business, and because of his slow bandwidth, it was hurting his daily work.

"In this rural area, we have to have a higher-speed Internet that deals with a lot of the fiber optics, and they weren't bringing the fiber optics in, so we had to figure out a way to get a company that had it," Price said.

The Eliminate the Digital Dive Act will provide a $10 billion State Broadband Program where governors receive funds based on the number of individuals in their state with slow or no Internet, and then partner with broadband service providers to build out networks.