The Governor was joined at the press conference by Hunt Memorial Hospital District (HMHD) CEO Lee Boles, Charter Communications Vice President Todd Baxter, Hunt Regional Medical Center hospital staff and medical students, and other local officials. During the press conference, the Governor outlined the state’s ongoing efforts to expand broadband access across Texas and highlighted the essential need for all Texans and hospital staff to have fast, reliable internet, notably for telemedicine.
“Broadband infrastructure is essential in ensuring all Texans – urban and rural – have access to fast, reliable internet so they can visit a doctor from the comfort of their own home,” said Governor Abbott. “During the 87th Legislative Session, we passed legislation dramatically expanding broadband access throughout our state, including to patients in rural areas who need to be seen by providers like Hunt Regional Healthcare. Broadband is critical in meeting the needs of all Texans who are sick or need mental health services through telemedicine. The future of Texas is online, and I look forward to working alongside Connect the Future Texas as we bring that future to everyone.”
“Hunt County is growing at a fast pace, and managing the number of patients is a big challenge for Hunt Regional Healthcare,” said HMHD CEO Lee Boles. “Our patients love having access to telehealth visits, and it helps our medical center keep well and sick patients separated. Improving broadband connectivity will expand audio and visual telemedicine visit access to rural patients in Hunt County.”
“Thank you, Governor Abbott, for declaring broadband expansion as an emergency item last session,” said Charter Communications Vice President Todd Baxter. “Under the leadership of the Governor and members of the legislature, critical broadband legislation was passed, including a first-in-the-nation broadband pole replacement program, that will bring good, reliable, and affordable internet access to underserved areas across Texas.”
Governor Abbott made broadband access an emergency item during the 87th Legislative Session. He signed several broadband-related bills into law, including House Bill 5 which expands access to broadband internet across Texas by requiring the Broadband Development Office to develop a statewide broadband plan for guiding short- and long-term goals for robust broadband infrastructure throughout Texas. During the 86th Legislative Session, Governor Abbott signed HB 1960 into law, establishing the Governor’s Broadband Development Council that works to remove barriers to high-speed internet across Texas.