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Honorable Governor Lujan Grisham

490 Old Santa Fe Trail #400

Santa Fe, NM 87501

January 15th, 2021

 

Dear Governor Lujan Grisham:

 

The COVID-19 pandemic has created great challenges throughout our communities, our state, and our country. As your administration continues to lead the country in proactive measures to keep our residents safe, our businesses open as much as possible, and our health care providers supported, we also have seen the impact of inadequate internet service at every level in our state.

 

The lack of broadband infrastructure has proven to be an immense barrier to health care, education, job opportunities and economic development, especially for our rural communities. According to the New Mexico Department of Information Technology, between 13% to 20% of New Mexico’s homes and businesses do NOT have broadband available. [ 1]

 

With accessible internet, 196,000 locations, many in rural communities hit hardest by the pandemic, could finally have access to schooling, work, health care professionals, and e-commerce. No longer would hotspots have to be purchased, adding an already burdensome expense on households and organizations. Medical appointments could be conducted, eliminating driving for hours to be seen by a doctor. Businesses could conduct sales and entrepreneurs wouldn’t have to leave their communities to fulfill their dreams.

 

We do have opportunities to benefit from federal funding to increase connectivity. There are grants from the USDA and FCC that can be leveraged with $200 million dollars in capital outlay funds from the state. This would result in $800 million dollars in federal grants that are designated for rural communities, schools and libraries, and healthcare professionals. In our rural communities and reservations, the COVID-19 Pandemic has especially elevated the need for investing in technology.

 

Representing businesses, nonprofits, community organizations, city and county governments, reservations, and more, we humbly ask you to designate $200 million dollars in capital outlay funding to invest in providing statewide broadband. We request that rural communities and reservations be considered first for these much needed improvements.

 

Sincerely,

 

Lori Martinez, Executive Director
Ngage New Mexico

 

Carrie Hamblen, CEO/President
The Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce

 

Tracy Bryan, Executive Director
The Bridge of Southern New Mexico

 

Center for Community Analysis: The Digital Divide in New Mexico

Explore the interactive dashboard on the digital divide in New Mexico, provided by our partners at the Center for Community Analysis.


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