As the Oklahoma Broadband Office moves ahead with efforts to seek input on how to spend $374 million on rural broadband projects, the state of New Mexico wants more funding for its projects.
Congresswoman Melanie Stansbury recently introduced legislation to reauthorize a broadband grant program and refocus on rural communities, reported the Albuquerque Journal.
“Across the country, 30% of our rural and our tribal communities don’t have access to high speed internet … And we have over 100,000 homes and businesses in New Mexico that don’t have high speed internet,” Stansbury recently said after introducing the measure.
She noted that New Mexico ranks 43rd nationally for access to high speed internet.
“Far too many New Mexicans lack access to high-speed internet,” Stansbury said. “Not having reliable internet access impedes rural and tribal communities from accessing health care, economic and education opportunities. I’m proud to join forces with Senator Tina Smith to help realize our ultimate goal of connecting all of America. I won’t stop fighting until all New Mexicans, regardless of zip code, are given the resources they need to thrive.”
Under her bill, the Community Connect grant program would be reauthorized for another five years of funding, reported the Rio Rancho Observer. The Congresswoman also explained that from 2013 to 2021, there were no New Mexico recipients listed for USDA Community Connect grant awards, but there is a lot of federal broadband funding coming into the state.
Oklahoma Congressman Frank Lucas has been a strong supporter for years of expanding rural broadband service in the state. He advocated its funding well before the Biden administration created the Infrastructure Law that distributed billions of dollars for such projects.