Governor Abbott Receives Broadband Trailblazer Award In Laredo
Governor Greg Abbott today received the Broadband Trailblazer Award at a press conference in Laredo with AT&T and MileOne, a division of the Laredo Economic Development Corporation (EDC). The Broadband Trailblazer Award was given by Texas Broadband Now in recognition of the Governor's commitment to ensuring every Texan has access to high-speed, reliable internet. Texas Broadband Now is a diverse coalition that promotes the expansion of broadband infrastructure to underserved and unserved communities across Texas.
The Governor was joined by Laredo EDC President and CEO Gene Lindgren, Guadalupe Valley Electric Cooperative (GVEC) General Manager and CEO Darren Schauer, AT&T Texas President Leslie Ward, and local business owners from a cross section of industries in Laredo. Following a discussion with the business leaders, the Governor provided an update during the press conference on the extensive work being done across Texas to expand broadband access and the economic benefits of increased connectivity for businesses and Texans.
"Broadband access is essential in today's modern world," said Governor Abbott. "Too many Texans have gone without broadband access, so to fix that I made it an emergency item last session. No matter what corner of Texas you live in, you will have access to fast and reliable internet so students can learn, businesses can thrive, and you can visit a doctor from the comfort of your home. The future of business is online, and in Texas we are bringing the future to everyone."
"Governor Abbott has been critical to our work of ensuring every Texas has broadband access," said AT&T Texas President Ward. "By making broadband access an emergency item in 2021, the bills that were passed created the first broadband office and the first state broadband plan—two important steps to close the digital divide. We are thankful for Governor Abbott's vision and leadership on this issue."
"GVEC is an electric coop, but we're also building more fiber access in rural areas," said GVEC General Manager and CEO Schauer. "Through Texas Broadband Now, we're helping promote broadband access and funding throughout Texas, with strong partnerships with industry, state, and local leaders."
"Through the work of MileOne, several new businesses have opened," said Laredo EDC President and CEO Lindgren. "The business owners here today have persevered in their endeavors and their businesses are now flourishing in Laredo."
Governor Abbott has consistently made expanding broadband access throughout Texas a priority. In 2019, the Governor signed legislation creating the Governor's Broadband Development Council, tasked with identifying ways to increase internet access to underserved areas of the state. Governor Abbott also made expanding broadband access an emergency item for the 87th Legislative Session. He signed several broadband-related bills into law last year, including House Bill 5, which expands access to broadband internet across Texas by requiring the Broadband Development Council to develop a statewide broadband plan for guiding short- and long-term goals for robust broadband infrastructure throughout Texas.
The Laredo EDC is a private non-profit corporation that promotes and fosters economic and industrial development of the Laredo region. MileOne is Laredo EDC's new division created to diversify Laredo's economy by helping local entrepreneurs launch and expand their businesses. Since 2017, MileOne has helped more than 6,500 entrepreneurs and created over 100 new businesses.