This Rural Texan’s Passion For Internet Access Made Her A ‘Broadband Hero’

Teresa Burnett heads the Monahans Chamber of Commerce. She says reliable, fast internet access is crucial for her community’s businesses.

By Jill Ament & Shelly BrisbinNovember 13, 2020 1:26 pm,

For residents of the rural West Texas town of Monahans, high-speed internet hasn’t always been readily available. But for the past several years, some local leaders have been working to make it more available there.

This week, one of those people has been honored with a first-of-its-kind Texas Broadband Hero Award from the group Connected Nation Texas. The group aims to strengthen access to quality internet across the state.

Teresa Burnett is executive director of the Monahans Chamber of Commerce, and the first-ever recipient of the Texas Broadband Hero Award. Burnett told Texas Standard the population of Monahans rose from 6,800 to 11,000 during the West Texas energy boom. With the boom over, 9,000 people now call the town home. She said she’s passionate about improving internet connectivity, and it’s crucial for her community.

“It is not a luxury anymore,” Burnett said. “It’s a necessity, and it’s got to be done, and we’ve got to be connected to the rest of the world.”

What you’ll hear in this segment:

– What internet access was like when the energy boom began

– How lack of internet access has affected businesses

– What the community is doing to expand access

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