Connected Nations: Closing the Digital Divide

As broadband infrastructure continues to make its way out to rural communities. Connected Nation is calling attention to not just the physical cost of equipment, but also the cost for families trying to connect.

“We often see that in our rural areas that when that infrastructure does exist that the cost is much higher than in urban areas for that connection so we really have to think about broadband holistically for urban, suburban, rural areas, but especially in rural areas we tend to see all the challenges compound on each other to make it even tougher.”

Jennifer Harris, Connected Nation Texas state Program Director, says she is working to help communities improve their data and plan for the future.

“We’ve also been working with over 30 communities primarily rural, working toward building local technology action plans so they are ready with data about both the supply side and the demand side about the community so that when we see all the federal dollars headed our way these communities are actually going to be ready to go after grants and partner with providers and be prepared to take advantage of these dollars.”

Ed Hopkins, Jasper County, Economic Development Executive Director, says people in his area pay 4 times more to connect than people in the Dallas metropolitan area. He is hoping better data can bring down the cost.

“With the data we’ve been able to put together through connected nation we now know some granular data that we are able to target and pinpoint and use. We are trying to be data driven on our decision making. We knew the mapping wasn’t good and connected nation saw that when they came in so now the mapping is head and shoulders above what it was when we started.”

Their local city council is currently working towards establishing a municipal broadband service, which he says will bring better services to families and students who lack access.

“We’ve seen that really rise during COVID that had to do their studies at home and another problem is if you have multiple students in the home can they all do their lesson at the same time because of the lack of broadband. So I think the definition of broadband is probably going to change 25/3 I don’t think is going to be adequate at all, it’s not adequate now.”

USDA has also increased their speed requirements up from 25/3 megabits per second up to 100… to allow more communities to qualify for their reconnect program.

To see more of the broadband conversation, Visit


Connected Nation: reaching that last mile

Connected Nation is looking to help improve rural schools’ connectivity