Texas Tribune

Beto O’Rourke targets Governor Abbott for vetoing Texas bill to improve rural internet access

Lawmakers call on Gov. Greg Abbott to plan to expand broadband access as pandemic worsens disparities

As the COVID-19 pandemic has "exacerbated existing disparities" related to high-speed internet access in Texas, a bipartisan group of state lawmakers asked Gov. Greg Abbott to develop a plan to expand broadband access in the state. “Texas is well overdue for a state broadband plan, and we believe the state needs to begin the process of creating one immediately,” the 88 lawmakers wrote in a letter to Abbott’s office. They said the need can't wait until the 2021 session of the Texas Legislature.

A digital divide with dire consequences for Texas

When Anderson County (TX) told residents not to assemble in groups with more than 10 people, officials got some pushback from churches. County Judge Robert Johnston said that was partly because residents wanted to meet on Sundays like they always have, but it was partly because they don’t have a way to meet online. “A lot of this county has no internet service,” he said. Only 65.6% of Texas households have adopted broadband, according to numbers from the US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.