By Will Johnson
EAST T EXAS – In his biennial address to outline priorities for the Texas Legislative Session, Governor Greg Abbott announced increasing access to broadband services would be an Emergency Item.
Broadband – which the Governor noted is no longer a luxury, but an essential tool – was one of five Emergency Items brought forward for the Legislature’s consideration within the first sixty days of the 87th Legislative Session.
On Monday morning, March 29, in an effort to emphasize the importance of the initiative, Governor Abbott held a press conference at Hamshire-Fannett Elementary School in Beaumont on expanding broadband access across Texas.
The Governor was joined by Speaker of the Texas House Dade Phelan, State Rep. Trent Ashby, and Hamshire-Fannett ISD Superintendent Dwaine Augustine to discuss the importance of reliable broadband for education, business, and health care.
Rep. Ashby is the author of broadband legislation (House Bill 1446) in the House that would create a state broadband office and a comprehensive broadband plan for Texas. He represents the 57th Legislative District which is comprised of Angelina, Houston, Leon, Madison, San Augustine, and Trinity Counties.
During the press conference, Gov. Abbott reiterated, “Broadband access is no longer a luxury, it is an essential tool for all Texans. “Schools need broadband to connect with students, businesses need it to remain competitive, and our doctors and nurses and their patients need it for telemedicine purposes. The importance of closing the digital divide has never been more clear. I look forward to working with Speaker Phelan, Representative Ashby, and the rest of the Legislature to expand broadband access to all Texans.”
Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at email@example.com.