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Cooke County, Texas, Is Looking for New Broadband Bids

Efforts to extend broadband to unserved parts of the county are underway with the Cooke County Commissioners Court working on new language for a request for bids to provide better Internet service to underserved areas.

Closeup of a pile of yellow broadband cables with blue caps.
(TNS) — The Cooke County Commissioners Court is kickstarting broadband expansion to underserved corners of the county.

The court's broadband advisory committee is working on new language for a request for bids to provide better Internet service to underserved corners of Cooke County. The group met with Precinct 1 Commissioner Gary Hollowell, Precinct 4 Commissioner Matt Sicking and County Auditor Shelly Atteberry last week and pitched a new approach. The new Request for Proposals (RFP) will offers vendors the chance to bid on (1) fiber networking; (2) wireless networking; or (3) a combination of both.

Hollowell said Monday that he expected to get the new RFP proposal back from the advisory committee in early February, then give the rest of the court and whomever else to look it over and make suggestions.

"We're gonna revise the RFP and put it back out .. if somebody sees something different, please let us know and give us some guidance," Hollowell said Monday.


Cooke County has about $2.7 million leftover from federal stimulus dollars distributed to the county over the last two years. Hollowell recently recommended that some of the money could be used for broadband, as well as to retire an outstanding note for fiber optic work.

Commissioners appointed the broadband committee in 2022 to study how best to extend affordable, high-speed Internet to underserved parts of the county, including Callisburg and the banks of the Red River. That group issued recommendations later that year to the court. They included proposed partnerships with Nortex and wireless provider Next Link to provide 100MB download service to about 92 percent of the county's homes and businesses. The new request for bids will replace that recommendation.

There has also been a rash of new broadband funding schemes trotted by state and federal officials over the last year. Texas state Comptroller Glenn Hegar oversees a $600 million pot intended to help local communities expand high-speed web access, in addition to even more broadband funding from a statewide measure approved by Texas voters a month ago. The Biden Administration has also committed several billion dollars in the last year to improving rural broadband coverage.


Vote by mail applications are now available from the Cooke County Clerk's Office for the March 5 primary. They will need to be received by the clerk by the close of business on Feb. 23.

Anyone wanting to vote in person should make sure they are registered to vote by Monday, Feb. 5.

Early voting runs Feb. 20-March 1 at the clerk's office, located in the Cooke County Courthouse Annex in downtown Gainesville.

All mail-in ballots must be postmarked before Election Day, March 5, at 7 p.m. — save for overseas and military voter ballots.

©2024 the Gainesville Daily Register, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.