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TDA takes first step toward delivering broadband service, high-speed connectivity to all Texas communities

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The Texas Department of Agriculture, in coordination with the Public Utility Commission, is seeking proposals from telecommunications companies to map the state of Texas for broadband availability, which will help provide service to those areas lacking high-speed Internet connectivity. The agency will also create a task force to provide guidance for a statewide broadband strategic plan.

"A community's access to information is key to prosperity, especially in rural areas," Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples said. "It is often taken for granted, but simple broadband connectivity gives Texans access to services like healthcare and education, and can provide agricultural producers high-speed access to real time market information, which can help them maximize profits. This is a great first step to make sure no Texan--rural or urban--is passed on the information highway."

In April, TDA began collecting information from qualified broadband contractors to determine how to map the state to identify broadband availability. The agency has used that input to determine the qualifications needed to implement the technology. The mapping initiative, and related broadband projects, will be funded and implemented through the Broadband Data Improvement Act of 2008, and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act: Broadband Technology Opportunities Program.

Interested parties may access the Request For Proposals (RFP) by going to the TDA website . The deadline for submitting responses to the RFP is June 19.

For more information on the RFP, please contact Rick Rhodes at 512-463-7577 or by e-mail at Rick.Rhodes@TexasAgriculture.gov.



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