Broadband connection rates jump for state’s urban areas


Urban Texas is getting more connected.

New research shows that almost 90 percent of Texans have fast, fixed broadband available to them, according to Connected Texas, a nonprofit hired by the state in 2009 to monitor and encourage the spread of broadband across the state.

The report shows that 89.94 percent of Texans have access to fixed broadband services with download speeds of 10 megabits per second and upload speeds of 1.5 megabits per second — the minimum speed for streaming videos. The data excludes mobile wireless and satellite services.

Only six months ago, 80.28 percent of Texans had those speeds available to them.

“A 9.66 percentage point increase… is an exciting development, even if that speed is primarily available in non-rural/urban areas of Texas,” said Don Shirley, executive director of Connected Texas.

Shirley attributed the increase to broadband providers upgrading their infrastructure and network capabilities.

“Broadband growth in rural Texas is still lagging,” Shirley said. “It is vital that we get rural Texans the same access to higher speeds so they can leverage all that broadband has to offer.”

About 96 percent of Texas’ 2.9 million rural households now have access to the slower broadband speeds of at least 768 kilobits per second for downloads and 200 kilobits per second for uploading information.

Some areas of Texas, including parts of Austin, enjoy much higher speeds.

About 30 percent of Texas households can access broadband services of at least 100 megabits per second.

Shirley said that is particularly true in the Austin area because many high-tech employees who work at home need the higher speeds.

So far no one is offering broadband speeds of 1 gigabit per second, but Google Fiber and AT&T expect to begin that service in Austin next summer.


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