Earlier this month, State Sen. Robert Nichols (R – Jacksonville) and State Rep. Trent Ashby (R-Lufkin) co-wrote a letter to Governor Abbott, requesting support for the development of a statewide broadband plan – particularly to expand access in rural areas. According to the letter, which is available on Sen. Nichols’ campaign website, “forty-four states and Puerto Rico have enacted such plans.” The authors of the letter express a desire to immediately begin the creation of a plan, rather than waiting until the legislative session at the start of the year.
The letter argues that the coronavirus pandemic and a growing disparity of connectivity options between rural and urban areas are a key reason for such a plan being necessary. The letter also suggests the use of the Coronavirus Relief Fund as being a potential source of funding for such a plan.
As of writing, 86 state legislators from both parties have joined Sen. Nichols and Rep. Ashby in signing the letter, though Gov. Abbott has yet to publicly respond.
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