More than a quarter-million Texans have no access to broadband service, according to figures and a new map put out today by Texas Agricultural Commissioner Todd Staples.
Two questions: First, how do these people live without viral videos like "BP Execs Spill Coffee"? Second, the Agricultrual Commissioner is in charge of broadband?
Answers: 1) It's theoretically possible. 2) Yes.
The map shows such oddities as the border's Kinney County, where apparently no one gets broadband. On the other hand, only 3,300 or so people live there.
We've tried to contact the Ag office for further info, but haven't heard back, so we can only make a guess: It looks like Menard is the biggest city going broadband-less.
And going without broadband is a bad thing, Staples said in a release.
"High-speed Internet is directly related to business development and is a critical lifeline to vital services like telemedicine and education," Commissioner Staples said. "Every Texan should have the opportunity to drive in the fast lane on the information superhighway; however, some Texans are stuck on a dirt road. This new statewide broadband map will help us bridge the digital divide for rural communities and households that remain unserved by broadband service."
The map, the commissioner's office noted,
The map includes data from 123 state providers and indicates 3.5 percent of Texas households, or approximately 257,000 residences, do not have access to home broadband service. Most of the unserved areas are in rural regions of the state, and a lack of broadband access is hindering their opportunities for business development and access to telemedicine, higher education and e-government.
Not to mention it takes forever to see the latest OK Go video.
It's not as good as"This Too Shall Pass,"
Update: Hank Gilbert, the Democrat running against Staples, is unimpressed, according to a release from his campaign:
Hank Gilbert, the Texas Democratic Party's nominee for Texas Agriculture Commissioner, Wednesday assailed incumbent Commissioner Todd Staples for what he called "stupid, look-at-me political tricks" designed to make Texans believe the incumbent is actually doing something to help increase broadband connectivity in Texas.
Gilbert's comments came hours after Staples made a significant production of unveiling a map of Texas illustrating areas that have and do not have broadband access.
"That map will do nothing for people without broadband access," said Gilbert (D-Whitehouse). "I'm sure people on landline modems will be grateful to Todd -- after the 45 minutes it takes them to actually view the map to determine, sure enough, that their area isn't served by broadband," Gilbert continued
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.