Texas House Approves Billions For Broadband Access
On Thursday, members of the Texas House approved House Bill 9 along with House Joint Resolution 125. House Bill 9, authored by Representative Trent Ashby of Lufkin would ask voters in Texas in November if the state can spend $5 billion dollars to expand internet availability across Texas.
The House passed the legislation 140-9 and the legislation now heads to the Senate. While $5 billion may sound like a lot, it's actually half of what Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar said the state would need to spend to connect all Texans to high speed internet according to the Texas Tribune.
While the $5 billion broadband fund will get Texas closer to connecting the entire state, it’s going to take more than Ashby’s proposal to get all Texans online. At a public hearing in March, Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar said the actual amount needed would be closer to $10 billion.
Then there’s the question of how long it will take to connect the entire state. Hegar said it could take anywhere from seven to 10 years. Hegar said the cost and time was due to labor constraints, supply chain issues and “the fact that the entire nation is trying to do this.
The legislation still has to be approved by the Texas Senate before going to Texas voters in November. Rural broadband has been a major push in Texas and federally as well.