To streamline broadband expansion across the state and allow every Texan to provide feedback about connectivity needs, the Broadband Development Office (BDO) established a robust external engagement process that fosters collaboration with local, regional and tribal entities. The process goes beyond federal coordination requirements by including outreach to resource-strained communities, in addition to workforce development organizations, institutions of higher education and other state agencies. The information below illustrates how the BDO is engaging with communities and describes how individuals and organizations can participate.
If you would like to learn more about the BDO or provide input related to your community’s unique needs, please take advantage of these engagement opportunities. Your insight is essential to close the digital divide in Texas.
The BDO developed the Texas Digital Opportunity Public Survey to identify the barriers affecting Texas households, such as the lack of infrastructure, digital literacy, affordable service and access to devices.
We also sought input from organizations about existing digital opportunity programs throughout the state to develop a comprehensive understanding of how organizations are supporting broadband accessibility, affordability and adoption.
Internet service providers were able to provide feedback through an industry survey.
The data collected from these surveys are being used to develop an inclusive plan that addresses the digital opportunity needs of all Texans.
This summer, the BDO hosted public meetings across Texas to hear directly from local communities about their broadband internet needs and priorities. Among the participants were residents, elected state and county officials, local government representatives, internet service providers and nonprofit groups. We will use feedback received at these meetings to develop a robust Digital Opportunity Plan to support the administration of federal funding dedicated to advancing broadband access and usage across the state. This plan will serve as a roadmap for achieving affordable and reliable broadband internet, high-quality device access, digital skills training and cybersecurity awareness to expand digital opportunities for all Texans.
The statewide working group advises the task forces and regional working groups and assists with gathering data for the State Digital Opportunity Plan. The BDO also used feedback from this group to inform the BEAD 5-Year Action Plan submitted to the NTIA on Aug. 28.
Regional working groups function as “boots on the ground” to coordinate events, meetings, listening sessions and roundtables with local communities in conjunction with the BDO.
Pema Garcia, Texas A&M Univ|Colonias Program|Dept Engmt for Sustainability
Gilda Gil, Hudspeth Community Resource Coordination Group (Region 10)
Angie Haro, ESC Region 19
Horacio Hernandez, San Elizario ISD
KC Huhn, Borderplex Connect
Luis Hernandez, UTEP
Andrea Hutchins, El Paso Chamber President
Todd Jagger, Jeff Davis County & Rio Grande Council of Governments
Judge Mackenzie, Hudspeth County
Cristian Martinez, El Paso County
Rusty Moore, Big Bend Telecom
Joel Muniz, Dell Telephone Cooperative
Laura Ponce, El Paso Community Action Program Project BRAVO
Roberto Ransom, El Paso County
Bill Schlesinger, Project Vida
Andrea Tirres, Sacred Heart
Don Wetterauer, Alpine Public Library
West Texas Region
Co-chair: John Austin Stokes, Concho Valley Council of Governments
Co-chair: Rick Bacon, Tom Green County Commissioner
Mitchell Block, Net Ops Comms
Miranda Boler, Permian Basin Regional Planning Commission
Teresa Burnet, Monihans Chamber of Commerce
Brandon Corbin, Menard County
Jonathan Cutrer, Concho Valley Electric Cooperative
Debbie Dodds, Greenwood ISD
Paul Donovan, PMD RE Consulting Services, LLC
Clifton Jones, Angelo State University
Kathy Keane, Rural consultant
Randon Lance, ESC Region 15
Casey Ritchie, ESC Region 18
Laura Sanders, Big Bend Telephone Company
Patrick Sherrill, Poka Lambro Telephone Cooperative, Inc.
Matt Snowden, Poka Lambro Telephone Cooperative, Inc.
Kellie Wilks, Ector County ISD
Task forces bring experts together to address barriers to broadband access, affordability and adoption. They will develop strategies in line with the Texas' digital adoption and advancement priorities.
Heidi Shook, Victoria Electric Coop/Infinium Broadband
Eddie Shamp, Greybar
Cindy Sovine, Highline
Michael Tuck, Texas Area Telecom
Leslie Ward, AT&T
Chair: Robert Dole, Texas Health and Human Services
Tom Banning, Texas Academy of Family Physicians
Nora Belcher, Texas e-Health Alliance
Kelly Cheek, Texas Rural Health Association
Shawn Deabay, Texas Veterans Commission
David Gruber, Texas Department of State Health Services
Sean Hanna, Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute
Greg Hansch, National Alliance on Mental Illiness Texas
John Henderson, Texas Organization of Rural and Community Hospitals
Lee Johnson, Texas Association of Community Clinics
Dr. Carly McCord, Texas A&M College of Medicine
Jennifer O'Reilly, Texas Association of Rural Health Clinics
Michelle Romero, Texas Medical Association
Mari Robinson, UTMB
Shelby Tracy, Texas Association of Community Health Centers
Civic and Social
Co-chair: Susan Redford, Texas Association of Counties
Co-chair: Ginny Lewis Ford, Texas Association of Regional Councils
Dr. Monica Cruz, Texas Demographic Center
Chris Bugbee, OneStar Foundation
Fedora Galasso, Texas Network of Youth Services
Kelty Garbee, Texas Rural Funders
Kami Griffins, Community Tech Network
Gary Henderson, United Way Denton County
John Hoffman, Texas Department of Information Resources
Sarah Jacobson, Texas State Library and Archives Commission
Serita Lacasse, Senior Access (Capital Region)
Michael Martin, Texas Municipal League
Edward Melton, Harris County Public Library
Tim Morstad, Texas AARP
Wynn Rosser, TLL Temple
Jennifer Sanders, Dalllas Innovation Alliance
Eddy Smith , Abilene Library Consortium
Wendy Woodland, Texas Library Association
Chair: Kelli Merriweather, Commission on State Emergency Communications
Ryan Brown, Feeding Texas
Tina Clark, TDCJ
Michael DeYoung, Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs
Mike Hutchings, Combined Arms
Chief Nim Kidd, Texas Department of Emergency Management
Anna Mallett, Texas ABLE
Angela Standridge, Texas Technology Access Program (at UT)
Greg Shigemasa, Texans Veterans Commission
April Zamora, Texas Department of Criminal Justice
Local Government Roundtables
These roundtables are for local elected officials and their staff, nonprofits and other community-based organizations who want to ensure their constituents have access to reliable, affordable internet. These meetings are held virtually on the first Thursday of every month at 10 a.m. Join the Local Government Roundtable.
These roundtables are for broadband providers, engineering firms, consultants and other entities who seek opportunities to expand broadband across the state. We meet virtually on the last Tuesday of the month at 3 p.m. Join the Industry Roundtable.
Board of Advisors Meeting
The Board meets biannually. The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 29, at 2 p.m. CST.