Planned rural broadband infrastructure construction projects in New Mexico may soon be eligible for grant support through a new initiative.
As part of the funding provided through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, the New Mexico Department of Information Technology has secured $1.5 million to help support such projects.
The grant is being matched with up to $375,000 in local funds.
The funding is primarily intended to target local and tribal government projects, as well as utility cooperatives, expanding their broadband infrastructure.
In a statement, John Salazar, Secretary of the state’s Information Technology Department, said, “Where there is broadband, there is opportunity; a chance for better education, online work, access to healthcare, and improved economic prospects.”
The funding is coming directly from the federal Economic Development Administration, which is an arm of the Department of Commerce.
The funding will additionally help bring together interested parties in New Mexico to lay out a blueprint for building new broadband infrastructure.
In an interview with the Albuquerque Journal, Dana Gartzke, Assistant Secretary of Commerce, stated that the Covid-19 outbreak “has highlighted how important it is to connect to the outside world.”
The CARES Act, which was approved by Congress earlier this year, provided some $1.5 billion in funding specifically for economic development assistance programs addressing pandemic challenges.
By Garry Boulard
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