07/20/2010 - At an unveiling last month, the Texas Department of Agriculture touted its map of broadband Internet availability as the first step in closing a "digital divide" that denies rural Texans critical services.
But a political divide has opened instead, as critics question the tool's accuracy and Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples' relationship with the organization that created it.
About 65 percent of the country has broadband at home, according to a Pew Center on the States report last month. That amount worries the report's authors, who say Americans need to improve the quality and speed of their broadband service to keep up with other nations. A March study by two Philadelphia organizations – Digital Impact Group and Econsult Corp. – estimated that the U.S. loses more than $55 billion a year in economic activity because of spotty access.
Read the article Staples Draws Fire Over Broadband Map Contract on the Dallas Morning News Web site.