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2009-06-18 digital edition

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2009-06-18 / General Stories

Agency Accepting Bids to Map State for Broadband Services

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 highspeed 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."

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.

The deadline for submitting responses to the RFP is June 19. For more information on the RFP, contact Rick Rhodes at (512) 463-7577.

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