DETCOG to bring reliable internet to over 100,000 Deep East Texans

DETCOG to bring reliable internet to over 100,000 Deep East Texans
Published: Sep. 29, 2022 at 6:43 PM CDT

NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - The Deep East Texas Council of Governments, or DETCOG, is making a big push to get Deep East Texas better internet speeds

Over half of Deep East Texas has either no internet or unreliable internet according to DETCOG Executive Director Lonnie Hunt.

“We’re one of the most under served regions in the nation,” Hunt said.

Hunt says due to many areas in the region being rural, for profit internet companies won’t invest infrastructure to bring internet to Deep East Texas residents and referred to the region like a dalmatian’s spots.

“If you’re lucky enough to live on one of those spots,” Hunt said. “You’ve got internet. Unfortunately a lot of us, myself included, live in different parts of the region that are not on a spot, and we don’t have internet.”

DETCOG has been focused on the broadband project for four years, and has taken building infrastructure into its own hands. It was approved for a $56 million grant.

Hunt says it’s important to throw a wide net at coverage areas to bring internet companies to service the infrastructure.

“We can reach about 100,000 people in our region,” Hunt said. “Obviously that’s not all of the people in Deep East Texas, but that’s a significant portion of them”

But Hunt says even after the initial project is over, DETCOG plans to expand the infrastructure to more Deep East Texans with the eventual goal to bring broadband speeds to everyone in the region.

“At the time that we started it seemed like we were a voice in the wilderness crying out, ‘we have problems here, we need help.’ We’ve got to do something,” Hunt said.

The pandemic shed light on how far the region was behind, with schools not able to go online during the pandemic and had to turn to sending paper homework to students. And with remote work becoming more common, Hunt says it’s important to be able to allow remote workers in the region as more people rely on the internet for work and not just entertainment.

“No matter where you live in Deep East Texas, we think you should have more than one choice of internet,” Hunt said. “But absolutely you should have one affordable reliable choice. Our goal is to make that happen.”