WESLACO, Texas – It is no longer acceptable for students to have to sit outside a McDonald’s and link to the free WiFi in order to do their homework.

That is the view of Meagan Froh, outreach coordinator for the Texas Broadband Development Office. 

More importantly, it is also the view of State Comptroller Glenn Hegar. Froh said Hegar cares “passionately” about Texans being able to access to broadband. 

Meagan Froh

The Texas Broadband Development Office is administered by the Comptroller’s Office. On June 15 it issued the Texas Broadband Plan. The report said almost 2.8 million Texas households and seven million people lack broadband access. 

Via Zoom, Froh recently spoke about the report and what funding is available to communities to address the Digital Divide during an economic resiliency workshop hosted by the Lower Rio Grande Valley Development Council.

“What exactly is broadband? It is high speed internet,” Froh said. She explained that the Federal Communication Commission defines broadband its download speeds of at least 25 megabits per second (or Mbps) and upload speeds of at least 3 Mbps.

However, Froh said, that definition was set in 2015. She said the FCC is about to radically change that definition. 

“That is a very outdated definition. We are expecting them to update that very soon,” Froh.

Sure enough, soon after the webinar, FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel proposed raising minimum broadband speeds in the United States to 100 Mbps for downloads and 20 Mbps for uploads.

“Any funding that is going to go out through the Broadband Development Office, those projects need to be future proofing our speed. We we are looking at targets of 100 over 20,” Froh said. 

Froh said her office is looking to close the digital divide in Texas. 

“We know that nearly eight million Texans in three million households do not have broadband. When I say that we need to look back at that definition. That means they do not even have 25 over 3 service,” Froh said.

“Think back to that old AOL tone, we are talking about internet that creeps, that they cannot click through pages. They could not be streaming a meeting like we are doing today. Netflix is certainly off the table. So, when you think about that, there are a lot of people that don’t even have the bare minimum broadband speed. And they are paying through the roof for not even broadband.”


Editor’s Note: This is the first in a two part series based on Meagan Froh’s presentation to the Lower Rio Grande Valley Development Council. Part Two will be posted later this week. 

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