Wichita County tech plan to increase internet speeds

WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) – Internet is something easily taken for granted. You don’t think about it until there’s a problem, and for many people in this area, there is definitely a problem.

Wichita County Judge Woody Gossom said he understands in this day and age how important it is to have good internet service and that an upgrade was much needed for areas in Wichita County.

“I have got family here in Wichita Falls that they got four kids streaming something at the same time plus the living room and it is like, I could never do that at my house,” Nick Davis, producer at News Channel 6, said.

Davis is one of many who struggles with slow internet just because of he lives in Electra.

“It is a challenge over there sometimes just trying to get big files downloaded, stream shows or even working from home can be a challenge, just keeping connected,” Davis said.

In today’s world, internet speed means more than just being able to watch videos in HD. It can impact your livelihood, as Davis found out during the pandemic.

“So, at that time as a stay-at-home parent, I was trying to focus on what can I do online, remote, what can I do? Everywhere that I applied, I got the same answer, ‘your internet speed is just not good enough,’” Davis said.

That’s why Wichita County has partnered with Connected Nation Texas to develop a Technology Action Plan so people in more rural areas can have the same high-speed internet as their peers.

“What is being put out and saying is a minimal acceptable speed really isn’t in today’s technology,” Gossom said.

Davis said it is not his provider’s fault. They have done everything to increase speeds with the broadband strength they have available to them from the county.

“They are out at my house today, right now, doing some upgrades to try and improve our situation,” Davis said. “So it is not them, it is where we are at.”

Along with improving the internet speed in every household, Gossom said this will also help first responders.

“Part of this we hope to go along with the plan for upgrading law enforcement and fire department communications throughout the county,” Gossom said.

He also recognized how much competitive gaming like esports is growing and that the county should support those who pursue that path by providing better speeds to play with.

“Gaming, people of my generation say big deal, but no, gaming is an important enterprise and entertainment,” Gossom said. “It is a reality so we oldsters need to get used to that. I may take that up in my retirement.”

“I like to do gaming on my weekends,” Davis said. “I can’t do any online gaming right now, so I am really excited to get those boosted internet speeds. I have a little boy and he is going to be able to watch Netflix in a couple years so when we get to that point especially we are going to want that better internet speeds.”

This is an ongoing process with a long timetable ahead. Gossom said he is not sure when the plan will be put into action, but he hopes it will be up and running for the county by next summer.

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