Perry urges support for Broadband Infrastructure Fund

If passed, Proposition 8 would create a fund to expand broadband across rural areas of Texas.
Published: Nov. 2, 2023 at 4:38 PM CDT|Updated: Nov. 2, 2023 at 7:06 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Lubbock-area leaders gathered on Thursday to discuss a proposition on the ballot in the state constitutional amendment election happening now.

Proposition 8, if passed, would create a Broadband Infrastructure Fund to finance broadband and telecommunication projects, which local and state leaders say would increase livelihood in rural communities.

“Broadband is not an option. It’s a necessity and it’s a requirement for communities to survive and grow and to be a part of our world in Texas,” Texas State Senator Charles Perry said.

Perry joined South Plains leaders Thursday to emphasize the need for broadband in West Texas and encourage voters to pass Proposition 8 next week.

“Ten years down the road we’re going to look back to this day, this prop on Tuesday being approved and we’re going to say that’s where the stake in the ground was made and that’s where we made our final charge, and I think people are going to see that quicker rather than later,” Senator Perry said.

Marty Lucke, the Floyd County judge who also serves as the chairman of the governor’s broadband development council, says in a county like his with a population of just more than 5,000 people, staying connected is critical.

“Broadband is how we connect to the world. It’s in all parts of our lives,” Floyd County Judge, Marty Lucke said.

Judge Lucke said, although the economic impact is huge, broadening access to internet connections in rural areas will directly impact residents’ lives.

“Your education, your health care, your mental health care, being able to contact counselors via Zoom meetings like this,” Judge Lucke said.

Lucke says rural communities face many challenges being farther from resources they need.

“Because of the distance, this fund could make the difference in them getting the access and not getting the access,” Lucke said.

Lucke said, the leading private sectors do not expand in these areas because of the expense. Supporters of Prop 8 say because the money in the fund could be used in conjunction with federal and state funds, it would entice the agencies to expand.

Wednesday is the last day to vote early and Tuesday is election day.