Texas College Receives Grant to Enhance Community Broadband

Monday, April 10, 2023
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Texas College has been named a recipient of the Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program (CMC), a subsidiary program of the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). The initiative is a $268 million grant program reserved for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), and Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) for the purchase of broadband internet access service and eligible equipment or to hire and train information technology (IT) personnel.

Over the period of this grant, Texas College will upgrade its current internet speed/bandwidth from 1 Gbps to a minimum of 10 Gbps or higher for the main Texas College buildings and annex buildings as well. It will allow the institution to partner with the current five residential Fixed Wireless providers who cover 92.8% of Smith County (DC Texas, Skynet Country, AT&T, Texas CellNet and Nextwave) in support of efforts to offer online broadband education, awareness, training, and access to educate households in the local Tyler area, as well as throughout Smith County.

This partnership will be a "win-win," as it benefits the trainees by increasing awareness, skills, access, and equipment. Congruently, such an alliance will also benefit the companies by increasing demand for their services. Equally, the initiative will benefit the community by supporting continued operations of the for-profit community organizations that must function in order for the Tyler, Texas, community to serve as a compatible and conducive habitat for the healthy functioning of our students. However, not-for-profit organizations that support our students and our community will also be included in the effort to make Tyler a broadband connected community.

Texas College’s IT faculty and staff will train student workers and students in IT classes to provide insight and training on how broadband services can improve the management of small-business organizations within the community. Managers and/or employees, as well as volunteers in community-based organizations, will also be trained to use or better use broadband services. The training will be free, but each trainee will sign a pledge to train at least five other individuals. Ultimately, exponential increases will occur in the technological IQ of our faculty, staff, students, and our Tyler community.