City Hires Consultant To Remedy Its “Second-Worst” Connectivity Status

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To speed up broadband in the nation’s second-least connected city, Brownsville, TX commissioners unanimously approved a $155,000 consulting contract with Lit Communities. The company is charged with developing a Broadband Feasibility and Digital Inclusion Plan and delivering a timeline for identifying and developing recommended strategies for implementation by the end of 2020, reported The Brownsville Herald.

Eleven companies responded to the city’s request for proposal, and Lit Communities was chosen from the four finalists. The consultant is also tasked with mapping the city’s existing telecom assets and to affordably price broadband services to ensure “digital inclusion,” reported the Herald.   

According to Ramiro Gonzalez, the city’s director of government and community affairs, multiple city entities contributed $21,000 each to cover the cost of the feasibility study.  “Every public entity in Brownsville is participating, and they are participating financially,” he said. “That goes to show you the interest of the community, and this is a community issue.” 

Gonzalez added that the new initiative is not a dig at existing internet service providers. “They might be a part of the solution, but we are going to go through the planning process to identify what the best solution for Brownsville is,” he said. “It’s not anything against Spectrum or AT&T or any of the current providers. It’s really just about we don’t want to be on the top of the [unconnected] list, so how do we get off of it?”

Regarding funding a broadband project, Gonzalez said, “there are resources available.” “We know that this is a big issue across the country, so there is funding available at all levels of government to tackle this issue,” he said.

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