SANTA FE ― New Mexico Internet connection speed ranks 48th in the nation and is similar to the average connection speed of Iraq and Molodova. According to Federal Communication Commission study, even a 7 percent increase in broadband adoption could create an estimated 15,000 jobs to New Mexico.
The New Mexico Senate overwhelmingly approved two measures Tuesday aimed at creating jobs and opportunities through increased broadband access and increased Internet speed across the state.
Senate Bill 24 sponsored by Sen. Michael Padilla, which passed the Senate by a vote of 37-2, would streamline current statute to facilitate local government investment in broadband infrastructure.
“As long as internet speed across New Mexico trail the rest of the nation, we will continue to miss out on high-paying jobs for our state,” Padilla said. “Helping local governments provide their communities with the connectivity needed to compete must continue to be a priority.”
Senate Bill 338 sponsored by Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto and Rep. Jim Smith, which passed the Senate by a vote of 32-1, would create a statewide broadband network and make it more attractive for providers to invest in broadband infrastructure by combining demand for internet access among public and educational institutions. Lack of demand is the biggest inhibitor to broadband investment in underserved and rural communities across New Mexico.
“Today’s bipartisan passage signals an understanding that broadband access is a critical component to New Mexico’s economic success,” said Ivey-Soto said. “By creating a blueprint for how we can connect every New Mexican to high-speed internet we will be making a huge investment in our future.”
“Investing in our state’s broadband infrastructure is an important step toward ensuring our state’s economic recovery,” Smith said. “Taking these simple steps will help attract investment to underserved communities.”
Both Senate Bill 24 and Senate Bill 338 will now be considered by the House of Representatives.