Less than 100 years ago, too many rural Texas communities were economically isolated from the rest of the world. There were few paved roads connecting them to other towns, cities and markets. They often had to make do without electricity that was a fact of life in other places.
State leaders took action to bring those communities into the 20th century. They built highland lakes and electrification projects, the transformative farm-to-market road system, and modern economies in places that had been denied them.
Today, rural Texas needs the state leaders to take similarly bold and visionary action. Once again, too many communities are economically isolated from rest of the world: they lack the broadband internet service that fires the 21st century economy.
Broadband service has become a gateway to opportunity. Like roads and electricity, it has become basic economic infrastructure.
About 2 million people across the state lack access to fixed broadband. Rural areas are especially hard-hit: 31 percent of rural Texans do not have any access to basic broadband service.