AUSTIN, Texas — There’s a growing push to increase internet capacity across the state. With more people working and learning from home connections are crashing and becoming overloaded on a regular basis.
It doesn’t matter who you are—or where you live-- issues with internet connection can pop up any time. It’s an issue JJ McGrath, state director of the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association, says people are struggling with across the Texas.
“You've got two parents, you’ve got 4 kids, 5 kids whatever-- everyone's trying to use internet and they're all high-demand applications,” McGrath, owner of TekWav, explains. He says internet is not infinite.
“You just turn on the water and the water's going to keep coming. It's actually not like that with internet. There is a capacity issue,” McGrath says.
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In some rural areas there’s an access issue, too. Over the summer McDade ISD in Bastrop County told CBS Austin some students who want to learn virtually cant—even with the district providing devices and hotspots because the connectivity just isn’t there.
“How do we get internet where it really needs to be? Get kids connected on a safe and secure environment,” McGrath says. He adds, the main challenge when it comes to internet infrastructure is funding. This week he’s meeting with lawmakers about solutions to expand strong, reliable internet access for Texans.
“Our legislators are wanting to come to the table. Across the board it does not matter who they are, what party affiliation they are they want to solve this problem and solve this problem permanently,” McGrath says.
According to 2019 census data about 68 percent of Texas households have fixed broadband connections in their homes. While many schools are providing hotspots to families who need them experts say some of those devices are intended for quick, short connections and not constant use day after day leading to reliability challenges.