The Brenham City Council is moving to address one of the public’s frequently mentioned concerns: the availability of high-speed internet.

City Manager James Fisher
(Mark Whitehead)

In one of its executive session items Thursday, the council approved a performance agreement with Nextlink Internet. The agreement with the Brenham Community Development Corporation (BCDC) outlines that Nextlink will be given six acres of land to use in the city’s Southwest Industrial Park.

Nextlink, in return, will build a $500,000 regional facility to bring high-speed internet access to rural areas. City Manager James Fisher said the facility should bring at least ten new jobs, with potentially more after that as it ramps up.

Fisher said this should allow citizens another option for internet connectivity. He said better internet is one of the topics the city has heard often, as many consumers do not have a lot of options.

The company, based out of Hudson Oaks in the Fort Worth area, uses wireless technology to provide internet for rural areas. Last year, it received a $281 million award from the Federal Communication Commission’s $1.98 billion rural broadband program in Texas.

Fisher said the company has been looking at various regional site to expand into, and Brenham was one of the sites it was looking to locate. He said the company could possibly branch out from there into other rural communities.  He added he has heard “positive things” about their status as a community partner in the places they’ve been or are attempting to go.

Fisher said as the land is provided to Nextlink, the city will receive ad valorem taxes from the land going back onto the tax rolls. He noted the agreement would transfer the land to Nextlink from the BCDC after three years, if the provisions of the agreement are met.

Infrastructure is in place for the facility, though a time frame for construction has not been finalized. A closing date will be set to complete the real estate transaction.

Fisher said the other executive session item the council dealt with Thursday, regarding the purchase of property in downtown, failed to come together. He said the council couldn’t work out the details with the property owner, so negotiations were terminated.

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