DETCOG challenges accuracy of Texas’ broadband internet maps

The State shows local internet coverage and speed to be much higher than DETCOG believes it is.
DETCOG Broadband
DETCOG Broadband(KTRE)
Published: Mar. 30, 2023 at 6:47 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 30, 2023 at 7:00 PM CDT
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ANGELINA COUNTY, Texas (KTRE) - The Deep East Texas Council of Governments says the State of Texas is reporting higher broadband speed numbers and better internet coverage for the region than most residents actually experience.

DETCOG broadband manager consultant Mickey Slimp said they are challenging the state by reporting over 45 census blocks that had under 25 megabytes per second. The speed of uploads and downloads which the state considers broadband throughout the DETCOG 11 county region.

DETCOG hopes this action helps the area to be considered in the first round of federal funding of $120 million. Earlier in the month, they collected 3,000 survey responses.

“We collected both the technical data from the reviews and then we took people’s testimonies,” said Slimp. “The state map showed Shelby County 100% served. And so we have all of the census blocks there that are unserved.”

Slimp said a census block has to have 80 percent of broadband coverage to be considered a served area. According to the Texas Broadband Development Map, Deep East Texas appears to have nearly 100 percent broadband coverage, but challengers say that is inaccurate.

Slimp said several providers are also challenging the state.

“They’re showing not serving an area at all, or they’re showing someone else is showing to serve the area.”

When testing for speeds, however, the service isn’t there.

“In this process, we’re going to have to keep our eye on what happens with the maps so they don’t overclaim what they’re doing already,” said Slimp.

DETCOG is asking those who haven’t filled out their survey to do so as they plan to collect more data from unserved areas. Click here to fill out the survey.