Biden hopes to improve internet in rural communities with infrastructure plans

President Biden proposes a 2.3 trillion dollar infrastructure plan

Biden to improve internet in rural areas

WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - Earlier this month President Biden proposed one of the biggest plans his administration is set to tackle so far, a $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan.

The president has set aside $100 billion out of that $2.3 trillion to improve high speed internet service and broadband.

School superintendents in Vernon and Archer City say that need became painfully obvious when students were sent home to do remote learning last September.

“Number one, we’re rural and some places simply don’t have access to internet. Two, we have students whose family members simply can’t afford internet,” said Jeff Byrd, Superintendent of the Vernon Independent School District.

Vernon ISD says 30 percent of their students’ only chance to access the web is at school.

However, those students had to learn from home with hotspots and chrome books but some never left school grounds.

“They could park outside and stay in a vehicle and log on to that specific school‘s web address,” said Byrd.

The district provides its students with strong internet access through AT&T, which is paid for by federal grants. Vernon staff have also taken extra steps to make sure they never lose the connection.

“Santa Rosa is a partner of ours in education and we were able to contract with them a small amount a month. In the event where we lost our AT&T internet access, they would provide internet access for the district,” said Byrd.

For other districts like Archer City, which is located near larger cities like Wichita Falls, it has its own advantages when it comes to internet services.

“I think we have two different options with Spectrum then with Brazos Internet through our phone system, so we increase the amount of bandwidth every year based on our need,” said CD Knobloch, Superintendent of the Archer City Independent School District .

Internet is something both districts feel should be available to everyone.

“It’s become an intricate part of everything we do, you depend on it everyday,” said Knobloch.

The White House says more than 30 million Americans still don’t have access to high speed internet. The Biden Administration hopes this eight-year plan will lower the cost of internet services and make it available to anyone, no matter where you live.

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