AT&T Is Testing High-Speed Internet In Waco

Our daily roundup of Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelDecember 20, 2017 12:50 pm

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

Former State Representative Ruth Jones McClendon died Tuesday at age 74. McClendon, a Democrat, represented the east side of San Antonio and Bexar County in the Texas Legislature for more than 20 years, before stepping down in early 2016.

Barbara Gervin-Hawkins now represents House District 120 and says McClendon was well respected by members of the legislature. She told Texas Public Radio, “My first year here in session there wasn’t a week that went by that one of her colleagues that served with her did not come to me with a story about they felt about her, about how they held her up high, as well how she worked on initiatives with them.”

House Speaker Joe Straus issued a statement praising McClendon as a “person of principle.”


A new report shows which zip codes have the highest and lowest percentage of approved FEMA housing assistance after Harvey. The Episcopal Health Foundation analyzed almost 900,000 FEMA applications across 41 Texas counties.

You can view maps based on that data here.

Robiel Abraha is a research associate with the organization and says two patterns emerged in the data. “One thing that we found is that zip codes that had higher median household incomes, those zip codes tended to have a larger percent of FEMA applications that were approved versus lower income zip codes, says Abraha. “And another thing that we found is that on average renters had a lower percent chance of having their FEMA applications approved for housing assistance versus homeowners.”

The five areas with the lowest rate of approvals for homeowners were in Corpus Christi and Livingston. Their approval rates for housing assistance were below 20 percent.

There’s an episode of NBC’s “Parks and Recreation” where one of the characters, Ben Wyatt, is trying to convince a skeptical tech company to set up wireless Internet service in Pawnee. He says, “I think Pawnee is a great candidate for your free wireless initiative. We lead the country in online pizza ordering. In fact, a lot of people go to the library just to order pizza online.”

At first that fictional company doesn’t exactly bite. But locking down a high-speed wireless trial was no problem for Waco.

Dallas-based AT&T is expanding its 5G network trials to Magnolia Market at the Silos in Waco, the retail complex from HGTV’s Chip and Joanna Gaines.

Maria Halkias covers retail for The Dallas Morning News. She explains AT&T is testing out its 5G technology before expanding it to all of its markets by the end of 2018 and it’s “supposed to have speeds that are fast enough and reliable enough to support things like really fast video-streaming, virtual, and augmented reality.”

Halkias asked AT&T how they settled on Magnolia Market. “They said that the people who go visit Chip and Joanna’s Magnolia Market at the Silos are using social media the whole time that they’re there. They’re sending pictures back home,” says Halkias.

Halkias says AT&T may also expand this 5G trial to other businesses, schools, and churches in Waco. It will also be running trials in Kalamazoo, Michigan and South Bend, Indiana. It already has one underway in Austin.