The Need for the High-Speed Internet


“Reliable, high-speed internet is an essential part of providing world-class education, healthcare, and business opportunities to hardworking Texans across the state.”

With an increased reliance on high-speed internet, the Trump Administration began taken important steps to provide connectivity to those that need it, particularly in rural areas, which still continues today. One such program that started during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic was the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB), which eventually became the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP.)

It moved from being an "Emergency Broadband Benefit" to being the "Affordable Connectivity Program" due to the exploding uses of technology in virtually every aspect of American Life today - and the need for more permanent structures for the internet

This program now has over 16 million American households enrolled because of its affordability by providing a monthly voucher which can be used on the cost of an internet subscription. When combined with the low-income offerings made available by many of the nation’s leading providers that participate in the program, the voucher can make the cost of a subscription virtually zero-cost for qualifying low-income families.  

In the 87th Texas Legislative session, Governor Abbott  made broadband expansion an emergency item during the legislative session, including appropriating more than $500 million, to significantly expand broadband access throughout Texas. He stated,

“Reliable, high-speed internet is an essential part of providing world-class education, healthcare, and business opportunities to hardworking Texans across the state.”
 
And polling agrees.

One such poll reflects over two-thirds of Republicans support ACP, and almost three-fourths of Independents also support the effort. 

But politics aside, a Pew Research Center study showed 44% of Americans who make less than $30,000 a year do not have broadband at home. Closing the digital divide should be a common-goal for all.

Governor Abbott also added,

"Through programs like the Affordable Connectivity Program, more families and businesses will be able to afford high-speed internet as we continue shrinking the digital gap so that every Texan – and American – has the opportunity to succeed.”

The persistence of the digital divide will continue to mean untapped prosperity for all Texans, and it’s not hard to understand why. Having high-speed internet access and its resources for information is beneficial to businesses, education, healthcare, and so on.

One example is the Texas farmer who relies on online resources for market prices, weather forecasts, farming techniques, and agricultural research, or the small business owner that utilizes online platforms to advertise their product and grow their brand.  

With the ACP Affordable Connectivity Program set to expire in 2024, Congress should find funding solutions and appropriate oversight to keep this program intact.















 
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