Broadband Internet

Improving New Mexico’s internet connectivity.

Viante’s Broadband Approach

 

For years now, New Mexico has not performed well in terms of its internet connectivity. New Mexico ranks behind its neighboring states at 42nd in the nation for broadband coverage, with as much as 22 percent of the population unserved. Over the past decade, state lawmakers have taken steps toward improving New Mexico’s low standing in broadband, but the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the state’s internet access and speed deficiencies as children learn online and remote work grows.  It has become clear that there are large gaps and strain in our existing network. New Mexico has the research and plan needed to improve our broadband situation. Now, we need a coordinated effort to adapt to and improve New Mexican’s everyday lives. Viante New Mexico is taking a new approach to looking at broadband to encourage bipartisanship, broad impact, and collaboration.

Following the review of the last 10 years of New Mexico broadband studies, reports and introduced legislation, Viante developed a set of nonpartisan, common ground criteria to ensure both positive impacts and results.

 

This map represents the broadband internet coverage area for New Mexico. The yellow shows the areas unserved by broadband across the entire state. Source: State of New Mexico Broadband Strategic Plan and Rural Broadband Assessment

Funding

The proposal must outline a state supported broadband entity that elevates the importance of the office, increases the staffing, and has a plan for ongoing funding.

Facilitating

The proposal should include stipulations that the state broadband entity serve as the primary resource to communities, companies, and anchor institutions on regulation and permitting.

Coordinating

The proposal will direct the state broadband entity to coordinate with communities, companies and anchor institutions to secure state and federal funding for comprehensive broadband improvement and implementation.

Targeting

The proposal must have direct measures of progress and a timeline for implementation.

Forecasting

The proposal directs the responsible broadband entity to proactively anticipate future internet connectivity needs and developments to help New Mexico be a leader in broadband connectivity.

Viante Partnerships

Viante has partnered with a wide range of businesses, industry groups, and professionals representing over thousands of New Mexicans in our effort to encourage our state legislators to work together to address New Mexico’s broadband challenges and opportunities.  This multidisciplinary group recognizes that the improvement of, and access to adequate broadband is important to each of their interest groups because broadband has found its way into each of our daily lives.

What People Are Saying

“Access to high-speed internet connection is increasingly necessary to communicate, conduct business, and provide education and healthcare services, yet New Mexico lags behind the rest of the nation in broadband connectivity… The state’s efforts at coordinating among a wide array of stakeholders have lacked a strong structure, continuity, and accountability.”

New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee “Program Evaluation: Funding, Oversight, and Coordination of Broadband Programs“, November 1, 2019

“The challenges over this last year in accessing virtual learning, online economic opportunities, and telehealth services have only reinforced the importance of bringing high-speed broadband service to all of our communities,” Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-NM, said in a prepared statement. “… We must do everything we can to make sure broadband service is available to every single New Mexican.”

Albuquerque Journal  “FCC approves $165M for NM broadband”, December 18, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the lack of broadband access in low-income and rural areas of the U.S. and created a new imperative for leaders to meet the needs of the estimated 3 million students nationwide who are without internet at home. An AP analysis last year of census data showed an estimated 17% of U.S. students do not have access to computers at home and 18% do not have home access to broadband internet.

The Associated PressLack of oversight hobbles New Mexico’s broadband efforts“, August 20, 2020

Frequently Asked Questions

What's the Issue?

New Mexico ranks behind its neighboring states at 42nd in the nation for broaband coverage with as much as 22% of the population unserved.

Who is Involved?

New Mexico’s stakeholders need to better coordinate broadband improvement and expansion efforts to maximize impact. Stakeholders include but are not limited to: state and local governments, higher education, K-12 education, telecommunication companies, public utility companies, and the private sector. 

How Much?

A June 2020 State Department of Information and Technology study reported that it may cost $2-5 billion to sufficiently connect New Mexico. The report goes on to explain that much of that cost can be funded by state and federal grants it a centralized entity coordinates requests. To fund the Office of Broadband, the report recommends there be an annual appropriation of $1 million to pay for a staff of at least six people.

Why Now?

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the state’s internet access and speed deficiencies as children learn online and remote work grows. It has become clear that there are large gaps and strain in our existing network. New Mexico has the research and plan needed to improve our broadband situation. Now, we need a coordinated effort to adapt to and improve the everyday lives of New Mexicans.

What's the Objective?

To provide structure, continuity and accountability, a state supported Office of Broadband must be created, funded, and staffed. This office will be a resource for stakeholders looking to increase or expand broadband and responsible for securing state and federal funds to pay for both broadband improvement and expansion. This office will also be tasked with actively measuring the state’s broadband efforts and forecasting the proactive actions that the state can take to be a broadband leader.

2021 Broadband Legislation

See what type of legislation has been proposed in the 2021 Legislative Session. This page automatically updates with proposed bills about broadband internet. 

Support Viante Today

 Support nonpartisan, solution-finding, and education through a donation!

Help us move New Mexico forward

Are you finding this information helpful? Would you like to ensure that this unbiased, nonpartisan information get to more New Mexicans?

Please consider donating today to Viante. Together, we will find a way forward for New Mexico.