USDA to Spend Over $20 Million to Expand Rural Broadband in New Mexico
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is continuing to spend federal funds to expand broadband internet service across the country. On Tuesday, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the USDA will spend $23 million to expand broadband internet service in rural New Mexico. Three utility companies will split the funding.
“The need for rural broadband has never been more apparent than it is now – as our nation manages the Coronavirus national emergency. Access to telehealth services, remote learning for school children, and remote business operations all require access to broadband,” said Secretary Perdue. “I am so proud of our rural communities who have been working day in and day out, just like they always do, producing the food and fiber America depends on. We need them more than ever during these trying times and expanding access to this critical infrastructure will help ensure rural America prospers for years to come.”
The largest of the three grants will go to E.N.M.R. Telephone Cooperative. They will receive a $19.2 million grant to help build a fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) network serving farms, businesses and critical community facilities in rural areas in New Mexico. Their service area includes 789 households and three community facilities spread over 13 counties and 4,292 square miles, in an area mainly east of Albuquerque, and north of Roswell.
The second grant was awarded to Penasco Valley Telephone Cooperative Inc. They will use a $3.1 million grant to deploy a fiber broadband network. Their service area includes 659 households, in an area covering 363 square miles in Lincoln, Otero, Chaves, and Eddy counties.
Finally, Pueblo of Acoma will receive a $942,955 grant to build out fixed wireless broadband in Cibola County. According to the USDA, Pueblo of Acoma's service area includes 771 households spread over 22 square miles in Cibola County.