Ample evidence indicates that broadband access engenders better economic outcomes, yet
approximately 6% of Texans still do not have access to 25/3 Mbps internet (the speed classified as broadband). Further, 15% of Texans are currently not subscribed to broadband—a population that may be unable to pay, undesirous of broadband, or, importantly, those lacking digital literacy. Texas can bridge the digital divide by prudently and strategically allocating the more than $600 million in federal and state appropriations that have been made available for Texas’ broadband expansion efforts. While there has been merited debate as to whether this money—which comes directly from taxpayers—should be authorized, the funds are now here, and it is incumbent upon Texas lawmakers to use them judiciously. Here are some ways policy can reflect responsible, cost-effective investments in broadband.