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Rep.Morales, Eddie

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Broadband Infrastructure Bill Co-Authored by State Representative Eddie Morales Passes the House 
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by: Rep. Morales, Eddie
04/09/2021

Austin, TX -- Today, House Bill 5, co-authored by State Representative Eddie Morales was passed on final reading on the Floor of the House of Representatives and will now be sent to the Senate for consideration.

The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the need for reliable access to internet and exposed the breadth of ways in which connectivity impacts daily life. Over the past year, more families than ever have experienced challenges as a result of lacking access to broadband. Roughly 900,000 Texans or 316,717 households are unserved by broadband. Now is the time for the state to step in and help close the gap for the many Texans that still lack access or face barriers to the subscription of broadband.

House Bill 5 aims to make measurable progress towards closing the digital divide and expanding access to broadband by creating the Broadband Development Office within the Office of the Comptroller, which will prepare the State Broadband Plan. Texas is currently one of only six states without a state plan. This puts Texas at a disadvantage when applying for federal dollars. 

This new office will also participate in proceedings at the Federal Communications Commission. Federal broadband maps have traditionally been inaccurate. Texas can complement the FCC's new mapping initiative by actively working to improve its accuracy. This office will produce the Broadband Development Map with granular, address-level data so the state can better identify which areas of Texas have the most need. Finally, this new office will administer the Broadband Development Program. This program will make certain that any private, federal, or state funding is ready to be delivered to applicants so service can be expanded as soon as possible.

Representative Morales said, "Whether connecting students to teachers or patients to doctors, Texans everywhere will be better served by expanding access to broadband. All 12 of the counties in House District 74 have rural areas and this bill is especially impactful for those constituents. I am proud to co-author this bill and be a part of something that will improve daily life in rural Texas."

Representative Eddie Morales, Jr. is currently serving his first term as the State Representative for House District 74, which includes the counties of Brewster, Culberson, Hudspeth, Jeff Davis, Kinney, Loving, Maverick, Pecos, Presidio, Reeves, Terrell, and Val Verde. 

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