Biden's infrastructure bill will bring Internet to rural communities

Posted at 7:24 PM, Nov 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-24 20:26:50-05

PETRONILA, Texas — Many of us get annoyed when we try sending an email or text and the Internet strength just isn’t good enough for it to send.

Or if it does, it could take a while.

Ryan Gonzalez is a student at Coastal Bend College who lives in Petronila, and faces that same issue with Internet strength.

“I’m still having trouble turning in assignments and loading the actual website for it,” he said.

He said it’s typical to have "three bars" or service, but in an instant, those three bars could go down to two or even one. He said it’s been an ongoing issue since he moved to Petronila a year ago, even after having Internet providers check on his service. It was also an issue when he lived in Mathis.

“It’s not too different, but there’s maybe, like, a few more Internet providers that come out here versus over there because — I don’t know — it’s just so far out," he said. "And then their strength out there wasn’t very good either."

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, about a quarter of Texans don’t have Internet.

President Joe Biden’s infrastructure bill that he recently signed into law is putting $65 billion towards high-speed Internet in rural communities.

It’s also an issue that U.S. Rep. Congressman Michael Cloud (R-Dist. 27), is also supporting, but said he disagrees with Biden’s approach.

He said because the nation is in debt and there is currently high inflation, the law would be too costly.

The law will allocate grants to states, and Cloud said he would support the application process for those grants.

He also said bringing Internet to rural communities can help some people who have businesses.

“A lot of business is done online now and to able to do it with speed — efficiency, is really important,” Cloud said.

In Driscoll, MZ Auto Repair owner Marcos Zavala said he doesn’t have Internet because he can’t afford it. He said having Internet could help him market his business and bring people from Corpus Christi to his business.

“I can’t afford all that right now," he said. "I'm on a fixed income right now. I'm 62 years old. I'm reporting my Social Security now, so I have to live on what I can.”