(The Center Square) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently awarded a $9.2 million grant to improve high-speed internet access in rural northern Dona Ana County from Radium Springs to Salem.
The rural county will get the funding from the USDA’s ReConnect Loan and Grant Program. To date, it has provided $1.67 billion to improve high-speed internet access for rural residents of 31 states and territories.
“I’ve said it before, and I‘ll say it again– New Mexicans know the difference between fast internet, slow internet, and no internet. From connecting to loved ones, classmates, or even their doctor, a reliable internet connection is a necessity,” U.S. Senator Ben Ray Luján, D-N.M., said in a press release issued by his office. “That’s why I’m proud to have secured this investment of $9.2 million to provide high-speed internet for thousands of New Mexicans, businesses, farms, and educational facilities right here in Doña Ana County. I’m glad this federal investment is going to bring us one step closer to our goal of 100% connectivity, and I look forward to working together to continue connecting more New Mexicans throughout our state.”
Dona Ana District 5 Commissioner Manuel Sanchez praised the USDA for providing the grant and said it will positively impact the community.
“We are thankful to the USDA for the award of the Reconnect 4 grant and are excited to be working with Ethos Broadband on this effort,” Sanchez said in the release. “As Doña Ana County works to improve infrastructure across the county, the expansion of broadband has been an effort we have worked on for several years. The importance of broadband and the lack of availability was on full display during the pandemic. I look forward to what this can bring to some of the most rural areas of the County including in the areas of healthcare, education, and employment.”
Neo Nicolaou, Senior Vice President and General Manager for Sacred Wind and Commnet Broadband, said it is happy to work with these rural areas to ensure more people have broadband access.
“Ethos is honored to work with Doña Ana County and USDA to expand broadband connectivity across Northern Doña Ana County,” said Nicolaou. “Our mission is to connect underserved communities with high-speed broadband to improve public safety, economic development, and quality of life. Broadband is the enabler that levels the playing field for those that live in rural communities across America.”