Thursday, February 25, 2010

Broadband Comes To Western New Mexico

By John Larson

SILVER CITY - A portion of the government’s stimulus package has been granted to the telephone company serving western Socorro County – including Magdalena - and all of Catron county. Based in Silver City, Western New Mexico Telephone Company has been awarded $11.5 million to provide broadband services to remote and under-served locations in its coverage area.
According to a press release from the Department of Agriculture dated Feb. 17, eleven Broadband infrastructure projects in nine states have been selected to enable rural residents to have “access to improved economic and educational opportunities.”
Funding is provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), signed into law by President Barack Obama last year.
"The broadband projects we're announcing today will create construction jobs now to build high speed Internet networks in unserved and under-served communities. Deployment of broad band will support job creation and rural economic development," Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in the announcement. "The Obama Administration and USDA are bringing broadband to rural America so that Americans can compete in a global 21st Century economy. We are opening new opportunities not only for homes and businesses, but for community institutions such as health facilities, libraries, public buildings and community centers."
In all, over $277 million will be invested in the eleven projects through funding made available by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Western New Mexico Telephone Company’s Broadband Infrastructure Project is receiving an $11,516,679 grant. The funds “for the WNMTC upgrade will bring new telecommunication services to the most rural residents in Catron, Grant, Hidalgo, and Socorro Counties. Ultimately these customers will have a state-of-the-art communications service which will promote business development, increase job opportunities and improve access to educational services,” said USDA Rural Development State Director Terry Brunner in a separate news release.
A spokesman for Western New Mexico Telephone said the company will commence the work made possible by this grant as quickly as possible.

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