If passed by Congress, El Paso to receive $2.8 million in funding for public broadband internet

El Paso News

Lamar Elementary School principal Erin Honeycutt sets up a “Zoom” class for first through fifth graders to learn art from Holly Triplett in Meridian, Miss., Tuesday, March 24, 2020. The COVID-19 and coronavirus has forced area schools to close and use technology for online teaching and learning. At this time Lamar is closed until April 13th and will then re-evaluate as to continue their closure. (Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star via AP)

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — The Borderland is set to receive $2.8 million in funding for El Paso public broadband, if passed by Congress.

On Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-Texas) announced the inclusion of the funding that will go toward the Cotton Valley Connect Project by Digital El Paso in the FY 2022 Agricultural, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Subcommittee Appropriations bill.

The funding will go toward ensuring reliable access to public broadband services in El Paso County via wireless mesh service that will serve more than 3,000 students throughout Fabens and Tornillo Independent School Districts.

Digital El Paso’s The Cotton Valley Connect Project is buttressed on the successful pilot proof-of-concept that was launched by Canutillo ISD in 2020 pursuant to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the importance of broadband access for students, particularly students from low-income families and in rural communities,” said Escobar. “I strongly believe that broadband access is the new electricity, and I am committed to ensuring high-speed internet is available for all El Paso children.”

The Fiscal Year 2022 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Subcommittee Appropriations bill is making its way through Congress and will advance to the House floor for a full vote later in July.

The legislation must be voted-in by both chambers of Congress and then signed into law by President Joe Biden in order for the funds to be distributed.

More information about the Community Project Funding requests to the Appropriations Committee and Escobar submitted requests can be found here.

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