Mar 12, 2012 — Little Rock, Ark. – Windstream has begun construction of its first broadband stimulus project in New Mexico. The work southeast of Ruidoso is being funded in part by a federal grant under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
The stimulus grants were designed to bring broadband to sparsely populated and remote areas where extending high-speed Internet service is cost prohibitive without a public-private partnership.
“This is an exciting day for Windstream and our customers in the Ruidoso area,” said John Hanners, local manager for Windstream. “This project will expand our broadband network into unserved areas and make a high-speed Internet connection available to approximately 340 potential customers.”
Broadband access to the Internet gives users a powerful tool for education, commerce and entertainment.
Nationally, Windstream was the largest single recipient of broadband stimulus grants awarded on a competitive basis by the U.S. Agriculture Department’s Rural Utilities Service.
Windstream won grants totaling $181.3 million for projects in 13 states, including New Mexico. The grants cover 75 percent of the cost of installing broadband. Windstream will invest the remaining 25 percent, a total of $60.4 million.
Windstream has now begun stimulus work in all 13 states where it has grants, and multiple projects are underway in most states.
Statewide in New Mexico, the federal grant totals $2.3 million, and Windstream’s investment is almost $758,000.
In the Ruidoso area, the grant totals approximately $105,000, and Windstream will invest $35,000. The project involves upgrading Windstream’s existing network with more than 2 miles of fiber optic cable as well as electronic equipment along U.S. Highways 70 southeast of Ruidoso. Construction is scheduled to be completed by the end of March and the new service should be available by the end of May.