The Roundhouse in Santa Fe. Post file photo
SANTA FE — House Bill 10: the Connect New Mexico Act, which institutes a centralized fund for the state to deliver broadband internet to communities statewide, was signed into law today by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.
House Bill 10: the Connect New Mexico Act is sponsored by Rep. Christine Chandler (D-Los Alamos), Rep. Natalie Figueroa (D-Albuquerque), Rep. Joy Garratt (D-Albuquerque), Rep. Susan Herrera (D-Embudo), Rep. Candie Sweetser (D-Deming).
The bill creates the Connect New Mexico fund and the Connect New Mexico council, which will ensure that projects prioritize unserved and underserved communities and coordinate with the broadband office established by the Senate companion bill.
“We need fast and reliable internet in every corner of the state,” Rep. Chandler said. “This talented group of women legislators have been meeting and conducting research for months to determine what access, policy and legislative issues need to be addressed to achieve statewide broadband. House Bill 10 is the culmination of those efforts and for us to now be across the finish line is an extremely proud moment.”
“New Mexico has a serious internet access problem, and it’s widening the economic and education gaps in our communities,” Rep. Figueroa SAID. “The Connect New Mexico Act creates a fund to draw down matching federal monies to implement a comprehensive plan to provide every corner of our state with access to the high-speed broadband that’s essential to life today.”
“Every New Mexican deserves to live, learn, and work with access to affordable and quality high-speed internet,” Rep. Garratt said. “House Bill 10 provides a durable framework for achieving this goal, thanks to the hard work of our diverse and dedicated group of sponsors who came together to solve this problem plaguing so many of our rural and underserved communities.”
“While those living in New Mexico’s cities may think of internet access as a given resource that’s widely available, many of those in our rural areas live without it in their homes or must travel many miles to access it,” Rep. Herrera said. “If we truly want to uplift all New Mexicans out of poverty, we must provide them the tools to remain connected and competitive in today’s society, and that certainly includes high-quality internet access. Today’s signing is a big step towards connecting our communities and developing new opportunities throughout rural New Mexico.”
“Whether it’s for your education, business, job, ranch, or farm, we all need access to high-speed, affordable, broadband internet,” Rep. Sweetser said. “With the Governor’s signature today, the Connect New Mexico Act will be the foundation for which we can build and connect every New Mexico community with reliable internet access that’s essential to modern life.”
Also signed today is Senate Bill 93, which works in tandem with House Bill 10 to clear the pathway to achieve statewide broadband internet. Together, these measures will move towards all New Mexican having access to high-speed broadband.