The Governor’s Broadband Development Council (GBDC) has issued its first report to the Texas Legislature. Submitted yesterday, the report includes recommendations for the 87th Legislative Session and provides an overview of the work of GBDC since its inception. GBDC has researched the progress of broadband development in unserved areas, identified barriers to residential and commercial broadband deployment in unserved areas, studied technology-neutral solutions to overcome barriers, and analyzed how statewide access to broadband would benefit economic development, higher education, public education, state and local law enforcement, state emergency preparedness, and health care services.
Resulting from this research, GBDC recommends that the Texas Legislature create a state broadband plan and establish a broadband office. The Council also recommends the continued study of the development of a state broadband funding program to incentivize deployment in unserved areas.
“The State of Texas is working to expand broadband access in our communities to support education, businesses, and Texas families,” said Governor Abbott. “The Governor’s Broadband Council plays a crucial role in meeting this goal by developing strategies to expand high-speed internet access to unserved areas of Texas. The research and recommendations developed by GBDC will help us expand broadband access across the state, and I am grateful for the council’s commitment to improving the lives of their fellow Texans.”
The Governor’s Broadband Development Council (GBDC) was established in 2019 by the 86th Legislative Session in order to study and identify ways to provide internet access to unserved areas of Texas. Duties of the council include: research the progress of broadband development in unserved areas; identify barriers to residential and commercial broadband deployment in unserved areas; study technology-neutral solutions to overcome barriers identified; and analyze how statewide access to broadband would benefit: (A) economic development; (B) the delivery of educational opportunities in higher education and public education; (C) state and local law enforcement; (D) state emergency preparedness; and (E) the delivery of health care services, including telemedicine and telehealth.
In January, Governor Abbott appointed Juli Blanda, Frank Moreno, Lindsey Lee, Marshall Harrison, Marty Lucke, Kirk Petty, Thomas Kim, M.D., William “Bill” Sproull, Saurin Patel, M.D., Greg Pittman, Jennifer K. Harris, Kenny Scudder, Mike Easley, Edward Smith, and Steven Johnson, Ph.D. to the Governor’s Broadband Development Council for terms set to expire on August 31, 2024.