Broadband Feasibility Study August 25, 2022

Executive Summary

Broadband networks, while once an emerging technology and luxury service, today can be looked at as the 4th utility alongside water, gas, and electricity. It is critical to the functionality of everyday needs, providing access to information, increasing home safety, and enhancing the overall quality of life. It is also still a technology, evolving in its form and function and inspiring innovation in its application as a foundational aspect of other technological advancements.

The Coronavirus Pandemic and Winter Storm Uri highlighted the necessity for online/remote interaction and generated a sense of urgency to enhance access to this critical infrastructure for millions of Americans, especially in communities experiencing high growth rates and transitioning from rural to urban areas like Fort Bend County. With this understanding and the goal to improve access to reliable, available and affordable high-speed broadband internet services, Fort Bend County officials decided to develop a Broadband Feasibility Study. This study aims to identify the broadband needs and gaps within the County and provide a high-level design and strategy, with associated cost estimates, to demonstrate a potential broadband infrastructure build plan which can be implemented through federal grant programs and partnerships.

Given the critical nature of this infrastructure and the reality that broadband networks have not been equally nor adequately deployed across communities, there has been a historic investment of funding from Federal, State, and Local levels in addressing the issues to close the digital divide and promote digital equity. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) has prioritized broadband infrastructure allocating $65 billion in federal funds to be administered across several federal agencies working on broadband deployment. Of the total allocation, $45 billion will be administered by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) through the “Internet for All” programs to provide affordable, reliable high-speed internet to every American across the country1.

Read the full Executive Summary and Report [PDF]

To learn more about the Broadband efforts within Fort Bend County, please click the links below.

About CobbFendley

Through more than 40 years of providing consulting services to the municipal and private sectors, CobbFendley is a civil engineering and surveying firm with expertise in providing planning and design services related to communications infrastructure. Across CobbFendley’s Texas locations, they currently employ over 130 fiber/broadband and utility professionals as well as more than 80 municipal and transportation/traffic infrastructure professionals who are familiar with municipalities similar to Fort Bend County. Located in the Houston Office, Jarod Branstetter, P.E., will serve as the main point of contact for this study. In that role, Mr. Branstetter will ensure that the appropriate resources are dedicated for this program from beginning to end.

1 Biden-Harris Administration Launches $45 Billion “Internet for All” Initiative to Bring Affordable, Reliable High-Speed Internet to Everyone in America. U.S. Department of Commerce. Published 2022. Accessed June 1, 2022.