Young County and Graham are positioning themselves at the forefront of Texas communities embracing and seeking to improve local education, access and use of broadband Internet technologies.

On Aug. 19 Young was named the second Texas county (Bastrop was the first) to be certified as a “Connected Community” by Connected Texas, an organization working on behalf of the Texas Department of Agriculture’s Texas State Broadband Initiative.

The Young County Technology Action Plan was also unveiled as the centerpiece of the county’s new designation. In 2010, the Federal Communications Commission issued The National Broadband Plan with the mission of “creating a high performance America in which affordable broadband is available everywhere and everyone has the means and skills to use valuable broadband applications.”

According to the Young County Technology Action Plan, $293 million has been awarded to similar programs across the country. “Economic Development, energy efficiency, and advances in education and healthcare rely not only on broadband infrastructure, but also on the knowledge and tools to leverage that infrastructure,” the plan states.

By receiving the Connected Community benchmark, Young County now has a platform to demonstrate that it has examined its broadband landscape, identified problems and adopted a plan to improve local access and meaningful use of broadband connectivity.

“Just because we received this certification does not mean we have everything we need,” Graham Chamber of Commerce and Conventions and Visitors Bureau CEO Jennifer Conway said.

Read the entire story in Wednesday's Graham Leader.