Spectrum working to connect rural Texans to high-speed internet

The slow process of trying to expand broadband internet services into rural parts of Texas is picking up speed with a recent investment from Spectrum.

It's estimated there are seven million people in Texas without access to high-speed internet.

"For communities in East Texas, this is a big deal. It is literally one of the most underserved regions in the whole country," said Mike Matson, Spectrum's VP of Field Operations.

To help reduce the number on those offline, Spectrum is connecting an estimated 133,000 people in east Texas as part of a federal program that started in 2020.


"It's massive what we're doing here in Texas. Right now, is I believe to be unprecedented," said Matson.

Enough fiber will be strung, according to Matson, to circle the state of Texas twice and to circle the globe. The project is costing a little more than a half billion dollars.

"In Texas alone, just the rural, digital opportunity is a $586 million investment. $186 million of it approximately is being provided by the FCC and a grant. The remainder of the build, you know, which will wind up north of $400 million, is being covered by Spectrum," said Matson.


FOX 7 Austin was provided with video of Spectrum crews installing cable lines. Crews have also been cutting into woods, across ranches and even through marshes.

"We're spending time with some line crews out there who were climbing through an easement area. It's a little bit tough to get to. And they were sharing with us that they had to get leg covers specific to, you know, to protect them from, from snake bites," said Matson.

The east Texas project by Spectrum is to be completed by 2028.

"We're way ahead of schedule right now," said Matson.

The newly formed Texas Broadband Development Office is also trying to help bridge the digital divide. The agency, which is part of the State Comptroller's Office, has announced the release of $12 million in grants to connect about 1,800 locations in Texas.