SENATE DEMOCRATS NEWS
Legislation to assess and oversee the much-needed expansion of New Mexico’s broadband services across the state passed with bipartisan support Wednesday on the Senate floor. Senate Bill 93, the Broadband Access and Expansion Act, sponsored by Senator Michael Padilla (D- Albuquerque), establishes a new state office to oversee broadband plans, negotiate broadband right-of-ways with local governments, and identify and coordinate resources to maximize investment sources as the state builds out new infrastructure to better serve everyone across New Mexico.
“We’ve heard repeatedly that what we need is a plan,” said bill sponsor Senator Padilla. “Creating this office within the Department of Information Technology is just the structure needed – not only to focus on a plan, but to deliver on it. The challenges are great but this is an important step toward equipping every New Mexican with access to high-speed, affordable broadband internet.”
Access to high-speed broadband connections is sorely lacking across many parts of New Mexico, and the COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the severe limitations this creates for students and educators, workers, and every New Mexican needing to connect a multitude of services and resources for everyday life.
Generous federal matching funds have the potential of multiplying investments made in broadband – every $1 spent in broadband by the state has the potential to unlock up to $13 in matching funds. This office would help ensure that New Mexico leverages these resources to maximize every investment as the infrastructure gets built out.