With billions of dollars on the line, East Texans say a crucial state map incorrectly shows they already have broadband

East Texans worry they could miss out on federal dollars because a state map that will help determine where the money goes shows they already have access to broadband. Residents say their broadband is chronically unreliable.

By Pooja Salhotra, Texas TribuneApril 3, 2023 9:45 am, , ,

From the Texas Tribune:

It’s a reality that Ragland, who serves as instructional technology specialist for Hudson Independent School District, has learned to live with in Nogalus Prairie, an unincorporated community deep in the Piney Woods where broadband access is shaky.

Joan Ragland says she sometimes drives 25 miles from her home to get a reliable internet signal for important video calls.
Mark Felix for The Texas Tribune

Mark Felix for The Texas Tribune

Nancy Shanafelt shows the speed of her internet on March 20 in Groveton.

Two East Texas lawmakers have filed bills that also would expand who is eligible to receive grant funding from the state’s broadband development office. If passed, much of East Texas could qualify for funding.

Mark Felix for The Texas Tribune

Power lines in Nogalus Prairie. The unincorporated community has fewer than 100 residents and locals say it's impossible to get reliable internet service.

State map doesn’t match reality, East Texas residents say

Mark Felix for The Texas Tribune

Joan Ragland records votes on a computer during the county fair's pie and cheesecake competitions on March 20 in Lufkin.

Mark Felix for The Texas Tribune

Nancy Shanafelt, the tax assessor-collector for Trinity County, in Groveton. Shanafelt has diabetes and wears a monitor that checks her blood glucose level.

Texas is challenging a federal broadband map

Mark Felix for The Texas Tribune

An aerial view of Groveton on March 20.