Latest industry news in Texas and around the country.
Hurricanes, a pandemic and then a massive snowstorm have heightened the importance of access to broadband in Texas, and many legislators – and indeed the governor – have taken up the cause as an emergency item this session. Bills to expand access to broadband are moving through the legislative process, and this priority of Gov. Greg Abbott is receiving bipartisan, public and other widespread support, including from the Texas cable industry. 

The Texas Cable Association (TCA) and our five member cable companies are the state’s leading broadband providers and have invested billions of dollars in broadband infrastructure and access programs in the past decade. 

While cable fully backs the goal to connect more Texans to broadband, achieving it will require passage of House Bill 1505 by state Rep. Chris Paddie (R-Marshall) to remove antiquated regulations and other barriers that hamper broadband deployment.
As Texas lawmakers consider measures during this month of Earth Day to ensure sufficient energy is available to meet the needs of the state’s booming population, the cable industry for almost a decade has voluntarily committed to industry agreements designed to save energy. 

One of those agreements – that has just been renewed through 2025 – has saved consumers $7 billion in electricity costs, decreased set-top box annual energy consumption by 46% and averted 39 million metric tons of CO2 emissions from 2012 to 2019, according to an independent audit released last fall.

In addition, cable’s energy efficiency measures played an important role in the past year when consumers needed faster broadband and increased capacity to function during the pandemic.
As the world marks one year of the COVID-19 pandemic, the cable industry also takes a look back at its response and broadband network performance as more and more of our lives went online by necessity

The bottom line? Networks stood up to increased demand, cable companies connected even more families to broadband without government assistance, and the federal government passed assistance programs designed to increase broadband access. While these advances were in response to the pandemic, they’ll have long-lasting impacts.

In cities and towns across Texas, local cable operators and their employees make their communities a better place to live. Cable companies not only make financial and in-kind donations to numerous civic and charitable organizations, but employees volunteer thousands of hours of their time each year. Check out the latest cable industry community initiatives below.
Texas students served by Charter Spectrum place in national C-SPAN documentary contest

C-SPAN has announced the winners of its 17th annual StudentCam documentary competition, including nine Texas students, all who live in areas served by Charter Spectrum. C-SPAN will award a total of $100,000 in cash prizes to the winning students and teachers, selected from more than 1,200 entries. The theme for this year’s competition was, "Explore the issue you most want the president and new Congress to address in 2021."
Texas winners are:

Comcast commits to investing $1B over next 10 years to reach 50M low-income Americans with tools and resources to succeed in digital world

On the 10th anniversary of its Internet Essentials program, Comcast on March 24 announced it would invest $1 billion over the next 10 years to help further close the digital divide and give even more low-income Americans the tools and resources they need to succeed in an increasingly digital world. The announcement coincides with the release of a 10-year progress report showing that, since 2011, the company, working in collaboration with its network of thousands of nonprofit partners, has connected a cumulative total of more than 10 million people in America to broadband internet at home, the overwhelming majority of whom were not connected prior to signing up. Read more.

Hispanic Federation announces plans for $30,000 Charter Spectrum Digital Education Grant in partnership with SER Jobs for Progress

Spectrum on March 30 teamed up with leaders from Hispanic Federation, SER Jobs for Progress and State Rep. Ramon Romero Jr. of Fort Worth at a virtual celebration to announce efforts to further digital literacy and access in Fort Worth. During the event, Hispanic Federation leaders shared that the recently awarded $30,000 Spectrum Digital Education Grant will be used to support and enhance SER Jobs for Progress programs in Fort Worth. Read more.

Odessa elementary named as one of 10 finalists in Sparklight national STEM contest

An Odessa elementary school is in the running to win $3,000 from Sparklight to support a STEM project. Dowling Elementary entered the Sparklight Dream Bigger contest with the goal of starting a club for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). Read more.

Applications open for new Sparklight Charitable Giving Fund

Sparklight®, along with the other Cable One family of brands, is taking applications through April 30 from nonprofits across its 21-state footprint for $200,000 in grants through the cable company’s newly launched Charitable Giving Fund. Grants will be made in these priority areas: education and digital literacy, hunger relief and food insecurity, and community development. Read more.
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