Trey Mendez
Former Mayor | Brownsville, TX

ARP: Brownsville TX, Closing the Digital Divide

Idea Category: Broadband | Funding Source: American Rescue Plan

Soon after he was elected, Mendez made closing the digital divide one of his top priorities. Before the American Rescue Plan passed, he had already collected information on where the city needed to invest in infrastructure, and had a plan for long-term solutions like a fiber-optic network rather than hotspots.

In 2021, Brownsville allocated nearly $20 million of ARP funds for its Middle Mile Broadband Initiative. The program will build out 95 miles of infrastructure to bring high-speed internet to homes throughout underserved areas of Brownsville. As the NewDEAL Forum noted in its report about broadband, these investments “add bandwidth and resiliency to existing networks, reduce costs to consumers, and help cities develop the infrastructure needed for last-mile projects.”

The initiative should be completed in 2023, and could turn a profit as soon as five years after completion. But profit is not the primary goal. “[T]his initiative will ensure that the City of Brownsville stays connected in today’s globalized economy,” Mendez told Texas Border Business in July 2021.


In July, Mayor Trey Mendez signed an agreement kicking-off a public-private partnership to extend high-quality, affordable broadband to homes and businesses. Mendez will commit $20 million in federal American Rescue Plan funding focused on middle mile fiber lines, and the private entity will cover last mile construction as well as maintenance costs. Named one of the least connected cities in the United States in 2018 and 2019, Mendez believes that the city’s new broadband initiative will help existing small businesses grow and bring new businesses to Brownsville. “During the pandemic we saw just how important internet was, and it made the situation even more critical,” Mendez said. “I’m happy to say we’re moving forward with a full broadband plan that’s going to connect all of our communities, provide accessibility and affordability for residents and businesses here in the city of Brownsville,” he said.

More Idea’s From Trey Mendez

Mayor Trey Mendez: Middle Mile Broadband Initiative Advances

Idea Category: Broadband | Funding Source: ARP