Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announces plans for $675 million investment to expand access to broadband
SANTA FE — Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham was joined by Senior Advisor to the President and White House Infrastructure Coordinator Mitch Landrieu and other officials at a press conference today announcing plans to expand broadband access in New Mexico after a $675 million award from the Biden Administration and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
“It is time to bring the next level of reliable, high-speed broadband internet to New Mexico,” said Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. “We have already been investing heavily in broadband across the state, and this new funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will allow us to accomplish our biggest goals and projects – like giving all New Mexicans a chance to access broadband in the next three years. Thank you to President Biden and New Mexico’s Congressional delegation for supporting these projects by securing funding for our state.”
In New Mexico today, 79 active broadband projects worth $1.2 billion are ready to make 70,000 connections. An additional $200 million in funding will focus on digital equity programs.
The funding was made available through the federal Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) program under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. By the end of 2023, the state will submit a plan to the federal government detailing how the funding will be used around the state to enhance connectivity in unserved and underserved communities, educational institutions, healthcare facilities, and tribal lands.
“Access to high-speed internet is no longer a luxury – it’s a necessity to fully participate in today’s society, and President Biden’s Investing in America agenda is ensuring all Americans have access to affordable, reliable high-speed Internet service no matter where they live,” said Senior Advisor to the President and White House Infrastructure Coordinator Mitch Landrieu. “This award is part of the single largest investment in high-speed internet in history, and it’s bridging the digital divide by building fiber-optic cable made in America – all while creating good-paying jobs for years to come. Building out high-speed internet infrastructure in New Mexico will level the playing field, spur economic growth and opportunity, and help us meet the President’s goal of Internet for All.”
“Whether you live in a city, in rural areas, or on Tribal lands, Internet access isn’t a luxury – it is a necessity,” said Deputy Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information April McClain-Delaney. “Thanks to the Internet for All initiative, part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, we’re bringing affordable, reliable high-speed Internet service to every home and business in New Mexico.
“With the $675 million allocation at our disposal, we have the opportunity to modernize our infrastructure, expand the reach of broadband connectivity by laying new fiber, enable remote learning for our children, facilitate improved health outcomes through telehealth, and create a level playing field for businesses across the board,” said Kelly Schlegel, the Director of the Office of Broadband Access and Expansion. “This significant funding will pave the way for essential updates and advancements that will positively impact our communities, ensuring equal opportunities and a brighter future for all.”
Senator Ben Ray Luján and Representative Teresa Leger Fernández also gave remarks during the press conference.
In 2022, Gov. Lujan Grisham announced Connect New Mexico, a pilot program designed to cover up to 75 percent of total project costs for network expansion in unserved and underserved areas of the state. Earlier this year, the governor made $54 million in grants and $35 million in matching funds available for broadband projects.
Estimates show 23% of New Mexico households cannot access reliable internet.