TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - The Texas Legislature has the daunting task of planning for business in Texas in 2-year cycles. This would be hard enough to do in a household, let alone the number ninth largest economy in the world. But it is our structure, and lawmakers have done a pretty good job of managing this task.
A key part of the Texas budget is infrastructure, which historically has included things like roads, airports, railroads and waterways and other items. But in recent years, broadband internet access has been added to the list of infrastructure. For many, internet access has been part of their entertainment and connectivity package but in the age of COVID-19, and even before that, we have realized the importance of solid connectivity needs, especially in the rural areas of Texas.
This past year, many students experienced distance learning while at home. Many students don’t have adequate internet access for video-based communication from teachers. This oftentimes was a product of a lack of services in their neighborhood, not a choice of their family. Additionally, the frequency of virtual visits for medical care emerged. And they are here to stay, if you have high speed internet connectivity.
In some of our rural communities where there is only a handful of medical doctors, virtual visits provide an efficient alternative and speeds up medical care.
There are numerous other reasons why broadband access needs to improve across Texas, and we’ll discuss those fronts as time goes on. This is also a costly need but it truly is an infrastructure item. Our legislature needs to expand resources to improve connectivity, and that will make for a Better East Texas.