Gov. Lujan Grisham joins Socorro school district to break ground on project to connect two of four remaining schools without high-speed internet
POLVADERA – Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham today broke ground alongside school and public officials on a broadband project that will connect Midway and San Antonio Elementary Schools to improved internet services. Completion of the project will provide high-speed and affordable internet to two of the four schools in New Mexico still without reliable broadband.
The governor lauded the district and state education and broadband leaders for their efforts, which to date have resulted in connectivity for over 350 public schools that previously lacked reliable internet.
“We are so close to seeing every public school in New Mexico connected to high-quality and high-speed internet,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham. “Access to internet has real impacts on the quality of education that modern students receive, and this is a major step forward in bridging the digital—and educational – divide.”
In coordination with state education and broadband project managers, the school district had been attempting to upgrade their internet systems to meet industry standards for nearly a decade. Over time, increased usage of online platforms and digitization of learning materials outpaced the capabilities of the existing wireless medium.
“It’s a team effort, and we appreciate the district personnel who keep persevering,” said Jeffrey Tull, Technology Director at Socorro Consolidated Schools. “We thank the governor and her Office of Broadband Access and Expansion, the Western New Mexico Communications team, and most importantly, the teachers who have continually struggled with the challenges of intermittent connectivity and found ways to overcome them.”
The project, being led by Western New Mexico Communications, will connect nearly 200 students at the two rural elementary schools. The project is being funded mainly by federal E-rate funding, designed to assist schools in obtaining affordable high-speed internet and telecommunications services. The state is also providing around $62,000.
“These projects allow us to chip away at the digital divide that has plagued New Mexico over the years. This is a quality-of-life issue and our mission from the governor is clear,” said Office of Broadband Director Kelly Schlegel. “We are wholly dedicated to ensuring that underserved and unserved communities have the resources necessary to realize reliable and affordable high-speed internet for all.