Update on Rural Broadband by TLL Temple Foundation
Posted 07/28/2020
The East Texas region is profoundly impacted by the lack of broadband availability. T.L.L. Temple Foundation considers the absence of broadband to be a major factor affecting the quality of life of East Texas residents. Because broadband is an essential utility, the foundation will continue to prioritize this important initiative. Read below about our efforts. 
CONNECTED TEXAS
As part of the Texas Rural Funders Collaborative, the Temple Foundation, along with support from other rural-focused funders, believe that finding a solution to the rural broadband dilemma is critical to improving the quality of life for residents. The need to access quality healthcare, human services, education, and attract and retain employers is dependent on 21st century technology. The need to create an infrastructure platform at great scale is urgent and beyond the financial capacity of one funder: broadband networks are expensive to install. Connected Nation (CN) proposes supporting Texas with policy and research analyses that will help build state and local capacity for broadband planning to expedite various Texas initiatives. CN will engage stakeholders and community leaders with regular updates and insights to ensure that local and state initiatives incorporate the impending changes and optimize federal resources to advance the communications infrastructure necessary to support Texas’s initiatives across various sectors. CN proposes engaging ten rural communities per year in an in-depth assessment and planning process to ensure those communities meet or have a specific plan to select broadband access, adoption, and use criteria across various sectors. 
Bringing Telemedicine to Rural Communities
The Texas Organization of Rural Clinics and Hospitals (TORCH) envisions the development of a rural, scalable, and clinically integrated telehealth network with an open/non-proprietary infrastructure and device-agnostic platform whereby any rural community can connect to any willing physician or service partner anywhere. By participating in this telemedicine network, providers in small, isolated rural communities that cannot recruit specialists and provider networks for personalized care while improving hospital financials, reducing unnecessary transfers, readmissions and length of stay. In general, this will scale, augment and complement the existing physician workforce while enhancing the ability of rural hospitals to recruit, provide cross-coverage and reduce physician burnout. With a network in place, TORCH will begin the important work of integrating hospital patient indexes and records in a way that can be securely accessed by the providers who need it, regardless of geography.  TORCH seeks to not only equip rural hospital providers with the technology they need, but also build an open architecture framework that allows flexibility, and even works toward a clinically integrated network (CIN) whereby electronic health records (EHRs) can be integrated and whereby quality measures, provider credentialing and best practices can be shared.
Deep East Texas Council of Governments (DETCOG)
Deep East Texas is one of the most underserved regions in the nation when it comes to broadband. Households without access to fixed line internet have to supplement with unreliable, slow, and costly alternatives such as satellite internet service. Almost half of the region experiences download speeds of 10 Mbps or less. In addition, Deep East Texans pay considerably more for broadband than their urban counterparts. On average, DETCOG residents pay 400% more for service. Existing internet providers are not willing to invest in broadband for Deep East Texas because they can achieve a better return on investment in other more densely populated regions. This project consists of the Network Design phase of a regional broadband network in all 12 Deep East Texas counties: Angelina, Houston, Jasper, Nacogdoches, Newton, Polk, Sabine, San Augustine, San Jacinto, Shelby, Trinity and Tyler. A construction map will identify the geographical areas where construction will take place, whether the route will follow existing easements or require additional easements, and whether or not the route will cross any Tribal Lands or Federally Managed Lands or cause environmental harm.
STRAIGHT TALK TEXAS
Listen in as Texas 2036 President Margaret Spellings talks with Wynn Rosser. As the T.L.L. Temple Foundation focuses on building a thriving Deep East Texas, the conversation focuses on how COVID-19 has further revealed the digital divide that is prevalent throughout rural Texas.
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Newcomer Guide
Chamber Directory & Map
These premier Chamber publications are widely distributed throughout Nacogdoches County and beyond!
© Copyright 2005-2020 Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce. All rights reserved.
2516 North St., Nacogdoches, Texas 75965 • (936) 560-5533
Unless otherwise noted, no part of this website may be reproduced without written permission.