Texas residents, businesses held back by limited broadband access

Chances are if you live or do business in Chireno, Texas, any online activity you conduct is over a slow dialup or slow satellite connection.

Case in point is Chireno's city-operated natural gas provider. It takes several days for the utility to file mandatory state reports because City Hall's satellite connection is too slow versus the minutes it takes other utilities.

Although 45 percent of Texas does not have broadband access, the majority of those areas are in sparsely populated areas whereas Chireno is surrounded by larger cities such as Houston and San Augustine. And while Chireno is a small city with only five businesses, residents and city government leaders believe that if broadband was more readily available, it would be able to attract more businesses.

The slow Internet connection speeds aren't not only keeping new businesses from coming to Chireno, but even that of its own people. City Administrator Steven Spencer abandoned his own Web-based business idea due to the slow Internet speeds. "If you want to surf the Web here," Spencer says in a Houston Chronicle article, "you type in a Web address and then go make a cup of coffee. If the page isn't loaded when you get back, you go do something else and check back five minutes later."

For more:
- Houston Chronicle has this story

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