Rural Texas and Agriculture

Rural Texas and Agriculture

Texas Democrats know that internet access is essential to support economic development in rural Texas including healthcare, education, and agriculture.

As many as 1 in 3 adult Texans don’t have access to broadband internet service, and most of them live in rural areas.

Texas Democrats also know that public-private partnership between federal, state, and cooperatively owned utilities can bridge the digital
divide between rural Texans and their urban counterparts. Consider that in 1935 only 11 percent of U.S. farms had access to electricity. To electrify the countryside, President Franklin D. Roosevelt established the Rural Electrification Administration, which led to the formation of electric co-ops. By 1946, more than 50 percent of American farms had electricity.

Texas electric cooperatives can bring internet access to rural Texans in the twenty-first century just like they bought electricity in the last century.

To support the expansion of internet service in rural Texas, Texas Democrats support policies that:

  • Incentivize Texas electric cooperatives to deploy broadband technologies which can make the
    electric grid smarter while also providing rural Texans with high-speed internet access;
  • Remove barriers for electric cooperatives to utilize existing easements for the deployment and
    provision of broadband service;
  • Give grants in aid and zero interest loans to electric cooperatives that deploy broadband
  • Remove archaic telephone rules and regulations that protect the incumbent
    telecommunications providers who have refused to upgrade broadband technologies, while also
    implementing a new communications policy that supports broadband networks owned and
    operated by electric cooperatives.