Cantu and Contreras urge RGV residents to provide feedback on Texas Digital Opportunity Plan draftdfwnewsa | January 5, 2024 | 0 | Technology , Technology News
MCALLEN, Texas – Broadband infrastructure supporters Alonzo Cantu and Sergio Contreras are urging Rio Grande Valley residents to provide feedback on the draft of the Texas Digital Opportunity Plan (TDOP).
They have provided the Rio Grande Guardian International News Service with a link to a form where the plan can be read and comments made. Click here to read and comment on the plan.
But, there is not much time left for comment. The Texas Broadband Development Office (BDO) is accepting public comments only through Jan. 5.
Cantu, president and CEO of Cantu Construction and Development, and Contreras, CEO of Atlas, Hall & Rodriguez, LLP., are members of the BDO’s Board of Advisors.
The BDO was established by House Bill 5 in the 87th Legislative Session. It awards grants, low-interest loans and other financial incentives to internet service providers who expand access to broadband service in underserved areas. The BDO also provides a variety of tools and resources supporting the expansion of broadband access across Texas.
Cantu and Contreras provided the Guardian with this statement from the BDO:
“The BDO developed the TDOP to complement broadband infrastructure programs already underway in the state, including the Bringing Online Opportunities to Texas (BOOT) program and the federal Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program.
“With a greater focus on the affordability, adoption and safe and effective use of the internet, the TDOP aligns with requirements set forth by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration in the State Digital Equity Planning Grant program’s Notice of Funding Opportunity. The TDOP also incorporates feedback from comprehensive engagement with residents, community-based organizations, local governments, state partners and other key stakeholders.
“The TDOP public comment process is open to all Texans, and the BDO encourages residents, local governments, community-based organizations and others to provide feedback. The BDO is especially interested in hearing from individuals for whom broadband access, affordability and adoption have been challenging, including adults aged 60 and older, veterans, English language learners, individuals living with disabilities, individuals who primarily live in rural areas, racial and ethnic minorities, and those living at or below the federal poverty level, as well as the organizations that serve these groups.
“If you have any questions about the draft TDOP public comment process, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.”
The Board of Advisors was created in 2021 to provide guidance to the BDO regarding the expansion, adoption, affordability and use of broadband service and the programs administered by the office.
The Board of Advisors is composed of ten members, is chaired by the Texas Comptroller, and includes a representative of the BDO as a non-voting member. The other appointees come from the Offices of the Texas Governor, Texas Lieutenant Governor and the Speaker of the House.
The BDO Board of Advisors meets biannually. The last meeting was held on Sept. 21, 2023.
The BDO’s mission is to:
- Create and maintain an accurate map depicting broadband availability at each broadband serviceable location in Texas.
- Establish a long-term, statewide plan that addresses strategies and goals for expanding access to and further adoption of broadband service.
- Design, build and run an efficient, compliant and competitive grant program to award grants or other financial instruments for the deployment of broadband technologies and opportunities across the state.
- Set and adjust standards for service in terms of speed, latency, reliability and resilience, while prioritizing fiber projects where possible to promote a future-ready broadband network.
- Identify and engage in outreach to communities in need through collaboration and input from state and local governments, communities and industry.
- Increase access to affordable broadband service offerings and address barriers to broadband access.
- Achieve universal access and quality of service to provide all Texans the opportunity to participate in the digital economy.