State could receive maximum federal dollars for broadband expansion

Texas 2036 Policy Analyst Mitrah Avini offered testimony Tuesday in front of the Senate Committee on Business & Commerce in favor of Senate Bill 1238, which focuses on broadband expansion in the state.

Here’s her testimony:

Thank you Chair Schwertner, Vice Chair King, and members of the Business and Commerce Committee. 

My name is Mitrah Avini and I’m a policy analyst at Texas 2036, testifying for the bill. Texas 2036 is a proud member of the Digital Texas Coalition, a coalition of over 40 organizations focused on ensuring all Texans have access to affordable and reliable high-speed internet. 

Texas 2036 and the Digital Texas Coalition strongly supported the passage of HB 5 in the 87th legislative session, which led to the creation of Texas’ first Broadband Development Office. 

With nearly 3 million Texas households still without access to broadband internet, Texas is fortunately now poised to draw down what may be billions of dollars in federal funding through the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment program.

With this goal in mind, I’m here today to express support for SB 1238, which we feel will help bring the state of Texas into alignment with the requirements of the BEAD program and ensure every effort is made to draw down the maximum in federal dollars available to the state for broadband expansion. 

In Texas 2036 polling this February,

  • 88% of Texas voters said that it was important for the legislature to maximize its drawdown of federal broadband funds.
  • 64% described this as “extremely” or “very” important.

SB 1238, in conjunction with potential appropriations, are key strategies in both maximizing this drawdown and ensuring that tax dollars are spent in an efficient and coordinated manner.

Thank you for the hard work you’ve done on this bill and your efforts to help close the digital divide in our state. We look forward to continuing our work together to help connect all Texans to reliable and affordable internet. 

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