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Ashby Appointed to Broadband Development Office Board of Advisors


Special to The Messenger

AUSTIN – Texas Speaker of the House Dade Phelan today appointed State Representative Trent Ashby, Alonzo Cantu and Mari Robinson to the Broadband Development Office Board of Advisors.

Concerning his appointment, Rep. Ashby stated, “I’d like to thank Speaker Phelan for entrusting me to serve on the Broadband Development Office Board of Advisors as the representative for rural communities in Texas. I’m honored to continue building upon the progress we made during the 87th session in expanding access to broadband throughout the State of Texas, and I look forward to working with my fellow board members in a collaborative effort toward bridging the digital divide for all Texans, regardless of their zip code or socioeconomic status.”

The Texas Broadband Development Office (BDO) was created by the 87th Legislature in 2021 and is situated within the Office of the Comptroller. The Board of Advisors provides guidance to the BDO regarding the expansion, adoption, affordability and use of broadband service and programs administered by the office.

“Making sure Texans across our state have access to broadband is more important than ever, which is why I’m so pleased to announce the appointments of these three individuals to help oversee expansion and affordability efforts to the service,” Speaker Phelan said. “After spearheading the legislation in 2021 that allocated over $500 million to fund broadband expansion efforts in Texas, I’m confident that Rep. Ashby’s expertise on the issue, along with the deep knowledge and experience both Alonzo Cantu and Mari Robinson bring to the table on this topic, is just the leadership we need on the Board of Advisors for the Texas Broadband Development Office.”

Trent Ashby is serving his fifth term as State Representative for House District 57. In 2021, Rep. Ashby authored House Bill 5, which enabled the creation of the Broadband Development Office and allocated over $500 million to fund broadband expansion in Texas. He is a member of the House Committees on Appropriations, Transportation and Constitutional Rights & Remedies, which he serves as Chair.

Alonzo Cantu is the President of Cantu Construction and Development. A self-made businessman in South Texas, he serves as Chairman of the Board of Lone Star National Bank, Chairman of the Finance Committee of Doctors Hospital at Renaissance Health System and as a member of the University of Houston System Board of Regents. Cantu is the owner of two minor league teams, the Rio Grande Valley Toros and the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, and founder of the Valley Alliance for Mentors, Opportunities, and Scholarships, a non-profit organization dedicated to raising scholarship funds for local underprivileged and talented individuals.

Mari Robinson is the Director of Telehealth for the University of Texas System, one of the state’s largest providers of telemedicine and virtual health services. Robinson also serves as Director of the newly-created Medical Technology Resource & Education Center, which provides training and support in the area of medical technology, as a committee member of the Health and Human Services Commission’s eHealth Advisory Committee and as a board member of the TexLa Telehealth Resource Center. She previously served as Executive Director for the Texas Medical Board.  
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