New Mexico’s Office of Broadband Access and Expansion has awarded $17 million to four small broadband providers for fiber and fixed wireless deployments to unserved and underserved rural areas. The providers will contribute an additional $7.2 million to total project costs of $24.5 million.
The funding for the awards came through the federal Capital Projects Fund, which is administered by the U.S. Treasury, and which was created in the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).
The awards were made through the Connect New Mexico Pilot Program. The funding will go to make high-speed connectivity available to over 2,500 locations in 10 rural communities.
Three of the projects are for fiber broadband deployments and one is for a fixed wireless deployment.
The companies receiving the awards are:
- SWC Telesolutions (dba Ethos Broadband) will receive $1.04 million to bring fixed wireless supporting speeds of 100 Mbps symmetrically to 435 locations in mobile home communities. SWC Telesolutions is a unit of Sacred Wind Communications, which was acquired by Commnet last year. The total project cost is $2.1 million.
- Tularosa Communications will receive $7.4 million for a fiber deployment costing a total of $9.9 million that will serve 1048 locations.
- Western New Mexico Telephone Company will receive $5.1 million for a fiber deployment costing $6.8 million that will serve 221 locations.
- Valley TeleCom Group will receive $3.7 million for a fiber deployment costing $5.7 million that will serve 822 locations.
According to a press release, approximately 80% of the targeted locations do not have speeds of 25/3 Mbps available to them at this time. The other 20% are underserved, meaning the fastest service available to them is no more than 100/20 Mbps.
The funding announced represents only a portion of $117 million in total that was awarded to New Mexico for broadband deployments from the Capital Projects Fund.
The state previously awarded $38.6 million in the Connect New Mexico Pilot Program to four service providers. Three of them were small providers, including Ethos Broadband. The fourth was Comcast.