Harrison County examines plan to deliver broadband internet

Published: Nov. 1, 2021 at 5:49 PM CDT|Updated: Nov. 1, 2021 at 11:11 PM CDT
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HARRISON COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - Across America, and here in East Texas, the need for reliable broadband internet service has become almost as important as other utilities.

In the planning stages now, Harrison County Judge Chad Sims is working on getting and cooperative group into the mix to provide much needed broadband to county residents.

“We here in the county are very under served, including myself, we don’t have good internet at my house, so as soon as I bring up broadband I hear from friends and neighbors all over the county,” he says.

The addition of broadband, means commerce.

“The ability to bring in businesses here. Some economic development,” Sims says.

And funding sources are already in place.

“There are numerous opportunities right now for grant funding. ARP funds, that’s the American Rescue Plan, total of $13 million. We plan to spend four and a half of that this year on building out a nice ring of internet in the rural part of the community,” the judge says.

“Broadband internet being able to be accessible in a county wide atmosphere would be very beneficial to main street. It would help us promote our goal and mission and reach customers,” says Marshall Main Street manager Veronique Ramirez.

With dollars accessible, the ball is already rolling.

“We intend to put in enough fiber cables that we can have multiple carriers,” Chad says.

Supporters of bringing broadband to Harrison County say it’s just as important to bring it to the rural areas as to the cities.

“Checking stocks, checking weather for crops, beneficial in many different ways. This sounds like a great opportunity,” Ramirez says.

The objective is 100 percent high-speed broadband coverage.

“We think this is a great opportunity to help draw and attract some large businesses to the county,” says Sims.

Sims says he’s hopeful within the next year to hire contractors and have some fiber in place.

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