Texas farmers and ranchers have long made Texas a leader in agriculture. In recent years, Texas has also emerged as a leader in communications technology. As we move forward, we must make sure no Texan is left behind on the information superhighway.
Access to services like high-speed Internet is necessary to close the digital divide between urban and rural communities in our state. Internet access enhances economic development, expands educational opportunities and improves overall quality of life.
Critical rural and urban resources like hospitals, schools and emergency responders need Internet connectivity to maximize performance; and all Texans in rural and urban areas with little to no service need access to this technology.
I am excited Gov. Perry designated the Texas Department of Agriculture to take the lead in coordinating broadband expansion activities created by recent stimulus funds. In this role, TDA, in consultation with the Public Utility Commission and the Texas Public Safety Commission, will assist in reviewing and recommending federal stimulus grant applications for projects located in Texas.
Congress appropriated $7.2 billion for broadband infrastructure loans and grants through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and I am pleased TDA has a role in ensuring these resources are put to work for all Texans. To learn more about broadband issues and the federal plan to allocate stimulus funds, click on Broadband for All Texans at www.texasagriculture.go