The state office of Broadband Access and Expansion has recently announced funding of over $100 million for 11 projects aimed at bringing fast internet to communities with limited access. This funding is a part of the Connect New Mexico Pilot Program, which is being financed by the federal American Rescue Plan Act. The program’s mission is to address the digital divide and improve internet availability in remote and underserved areas.
The most recent round of funding will particularly benefit tribal communities, including Santo Domingo and Jemez pueblos. On September 8, officials held a small ceremony in the Pueblo of Laguna to celebrate receiving a grant of over $9 million. This grant will be utilized to install nearly 200 miles of cable, reaching approximately 1500 homes.
Governor Wilfred Herrera expressed his optimism about the positive impact this funding would have on the community. He stated, “Our people will now have access to a sustainable and reliable network that can support telemedicine, remote work, and economic development.” The plan is for the pueblo to collaborate with an internet service provider under its control to construct the necessary infrastructure. The completion of the project is estimated to take three years.
These initiatives are a crucial step towards bridging the digital divide and ensuring that communities in remote and underserved areas have access to the benefits of reliable internet connection. By prioritizing these efforts, these projects aim to make significant progress in leveling the playing field for individuals and businesses in these communities.