MCALLEN, Texas – According to a report by Connected Nation, “Rural Broadband: A Texas Tour,” 1.8 million Texans, most of them in rural areas, don’t have high-speed internet access.

Dr. Steven Johnson, chancellor of WGU Texas, a state-endorsed, nonprofit, accredited university, participated in a Zoom interview with Rio Grande Guardian editor Steve Taylor to discuss the digital divide.

Johnson has been appointed a member of Governor Abbott’s Broadband Development Council.

“Under the Connect America Fund, The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) authorized $1.5 billion to expand broadband access to thousands of underserved areas in the U.S,” Johnson said, in a recent op-ed.

“This initiative is estimated to reach less than two percent of Texans who need broadband access more urgently. Additionally, the FCC authorized nearly $76.7 million over the next 10 years to broadband providers in the Lone Star State to provide support and services to 89 Texas counties, from the Gulf Coast to the Panhandle.”

Johnson said these steps in the right direction are welcome. 

“But in light of the COVID-19 crisis, the Rio Grande Valley can’t afford to wait two years much less ten for adequate broadband access. For all Texans to fully participate in society, broadband internet access is a necessity now.”

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