Comptroller Glenn Hegar announced the Comptroller’s Office is making changes to the Texas Broadband Development program, which are directly related to the signing of recently-passed legislation including Senate Bill 1238 and House Bill 9.

SB 1238 88(R) will expand the areas eligible to receive broadband infrastructure grants and will provide flexibility to ensure taxpayer dollars will benefit more Texans. The Texas Broadband Development Map will display broadband serviceable locations as served, unserved or underserved based on updated statutory definitions. It also will allow the Comptroller’s office to consider the issue of latency.

Also included in the legislation is a fiber preference that will prioritize fiber technology while still allowing the deployment of other technologies in appropriate circumstances.

“We needed a legal framework that gives Texas and my office the flexibility to evolve along with that technology. I think we have that now, and I am grateful to lawmakers and the Governor for getting this passed and signed” said Hegar.

Through the BDO, the state of Texas has been allocated $363.8 million of its $500.5 million allocation from the federal Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund to carry out critical infrastructure projects related to expanding access to high-speed internet. The BDO will distribute funds allocated to Texas through a multi-round competitive grant process, with the first round of funds totaling $120 million. The new legislation will not impact this round of funding.

In November, voters will be asked to approve a state constitutional amendment to create the Broadband Infrastructure Fund, which would be administered by Hegar’s office. HB 9 88(R) would allocate $1.5 billion to that fund. In addition, Texas is anticipating billions more coming from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to further invest in the connectivity needs of the state.

In April, the BDO began seeking public input on internet accessibility, affordability and usage through the Digital Opportunity Public Survey. The BDO will use the survey responses to develop a Texas Digital Opportunity Plan, which is required to draw down federal funding.

Go to the Comptroller’s website to learn more about the BDO.