This story is part of a KXAN series of reports called “Stop Mass Shootings,” providing context and exploring solutions surrounding gun violence in the wake of the deadly Uvalde school shooting. We want our reports to be a resource for Texans, as well as for lawmakers who are convening a month after the events in Uvalde to discuss how the state should move forward. Explore all “Stop Mass Shootings” stories by clicking here.
HAYS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — The Texas House report on the Uvalde school shooting pointed out issues with broadband access in the district. The report said there were delays when teachers received the lockdown alert on their phones.
Broadband access in rural communities, like Uvalde, has been an ongoing issue. It’s one that Hays County said it’s trying to address through a survey it released to residents.
Pam Waggoner works with Connected Nation Texas, the nonprofit helping with the research.
“Rural communities absolutely need broadband because of what has happened in Uvalde,” Waggoner said.
She said based on her findings, which have not been released yet, the county has certain areas for improvement.
“Hays County has some very rural areas in it that have very little connection,” Waggoner said.
For Hays County Commissioner Walt Smith, this survey was about mapping out where there’s strong service, and where there’s little to none.
“Even the areas that do have quote broadband service … a lot of it isn’t up to the standards of what you would consider reliable broadband,” Smith said.
Waggoner hopes this survey can be the first step to improving that access. She said as the tragedy in Uvalde shows, strong broadband is a necessity.
“It ended up being a life and death situation … and it’s just tragic that some of that might’ve been avoided with good broadband,” Waggoner said.
Findings from the survey, along with an action plan, will be presented to Hays County Commissioners Court on Aug. 16. From there, commissioners will decide how to improve broadband access through those recommendations.