New Mexico PRC Chair Becenti-Aguilar Asks Legislative Committee To Partner For Broadband In State

SANTA FE — New Mexico Public Regulation Commission Chairperson Theresa Becenti-Aguilar has vowed to partner with the New Mexico State legislature and federal agencies to go after funds for broadband deployment in the state.
“If we can partner with you and federal agencies so we can get more matching funds for broadband,” Becenti-Aguilar said before the Legislative Interim Committee on Science, Technology, and Telecommunications. “I strongly believe that the ranchers and farmers in rural counties should be represented.”
Sen. Michael Padillia, committee vice chairman, expressed concern over rules that were put together by the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission that apply to large telecommunication companies.
The PRC reported on the impact of a 2017 amendment (SB 53) to the New Mexico Telecommunications Act. Changes reported were on quality of service to customers, the drop in customer complaints, and employment drop by 16 percent in the telecom industry by the large carrier in the state. Some high-speed data services dropped from 233,847 in June 2017 to 213,989 subscribers in December 2018.
The rule making reported on was the Quality of Service and Customer Protection rules developed by the PRC.
“We’re going to pick up and add more workshops and include all telecom and wireless companies,” Becenti-Aguilar said this afternoon following the hearing on the state’s rural universal service fund. “Announcements will be made.”
The change in the New Mexico Telecommunications Act known as SB 53, requires the PRC to report to the legislature every three years. Becenti Aguilar welcomed the questions from committee members.
“We are working together this way—the committee, the PRC, and staff—to make more broadband connectivity at affordable rates available throughout the state, and rural areas everyone’s goal,” Becenti-Aguilar said.
The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission’s authority on telecommunications is found in the New Mexico Telecommunications Act and the Rural Telecommunications Act of New Mexico.