Texas will receive more than $600 million in federal broadband subsidies, and if allocated in a prudent manner, these funds can be employed to increase access in the areas of greatest need, according to new research from the Texas Public Policy Foundation. By adopting policy solutions that maintain decentralization, transparency, accountability, and prudence in broadband funding, Texas can lead the nation by making strides to increase broadband access.
The research, “Strategies for Prudent Broadband Policy,” examines past broadband efforts in the State of Texas and across the nation, determining which approaches engender the best outcomes for enhancing broadband access. In addition, the research provides a roadmap of policy solutions—such as unique financing mechanisms, digital literacy programs, and how to best employ the suite of broadband technologies—geared toward learning from past mistakes and focusing on long-term, sustainable, and fiscally responsible outcomes.
“Having quick and reliable internet access has become more important for participating in modern society, and Texas is presented with a chance to realize broadband needs with clear goals and measurable outcomes,” said Zach Whiting, policy director for Better Tech for Tomorrow. “The Legislature should remain focused on the real needs facing Texans with no broadband access and see this as an opportunity to provide broadband expansion with longevity—rather than another sum of money that needs replenishment due to inefficient allocation.”
“The unfortunate reality is that there are numerous past instances where state and local governments have subsidized broadband expansion in an inefficient manner, missing key programs with a positive track record and underinvesting in crucial projects,” said Caroline Welton, policy scholar at TPPF. “In this research, we break down funding paths that will provide the greatest ROI for Texans, focusing on policy recommendations that will continue to propel Texas’ economic development and innovation.”
To read the full research, please click here.