Governor Abbott Signs House Bill 1505 into Law

June 22, 2021

Connect the Future congratulates House Bill 1505 co-sponsors Chairman Chris Paddie, Senator Kelly Hancock, and all of the bill’s supporters for the getting this critical piece of legislation past the finish line, and applauds Governor Abbott for signing House Bill 1505 into law.

Sponsored by Chairman Chris Paddie and Senator Kelly Hancock, House Bill 1505 will help expand broadband access to the 1.2 million Texans – 65 percent of whom live in rural areas – who remain on the wrong side of the digital divide. The new law takes direct aim at current barriers to building out broadband infrastructure, such as the process of attaching broadband infrastructure to certain types of utility poles.

Utility poles form the backbone of Texas’ communications infrastructure, particularly in rural areas, and HB 1505 establishes a pole replacement fund and clarifies the respective responsibilities of both pole owners and broadband providers.

Earlier this year, Governor Abbott declared broadband expansion an emergency item for the 2021 legislative session and Connect the Future (CTF) applauds the state legislature’s quick action to ensure that more Texans have access to reliable, high-speed broadband. Governor Abbott’s signing of this bill will help ensure that more students have access to the remote education they need, farmers to the cutting-edge precision technology they need, and veterans to the quality health care with telemedicine they need – regardless of where they live across the Lone Star state.

HB 1505 is a critical piece of an all-of-the-above approach needed to close Texas’ digital divide. Connect the Future is committed to bridging the digital divide across the nation by reducing barriers to broadband buildout and so CTF applauds the Texas Legislature and Governor Abbott for taking this critical step needed toward bringing broadband to every corner of Texas.