Rio Arriba County Government Collaborates to Provide High Speed Internet for Rio Arriba and Surrounding Areas
From left to right: From left to right: 1) Governor Walter Dasheno, Santa Clara Pueblo; US Senator Jeff Bingaman; Mayor Alice Lucero, City of Espanola; County Commission Chair Virginia Vigil, Santa Fe County; County Commissioner Alfredo Montoya, Rio Arriba County; US Representative Ben Ray Lujan; Michael Lopez, US Senator Tom Udall's Office; County Commissioner Daniel Mayfield, Santa Fe County; Council Chair Sharon Stover, Los Alamos County; Lt. Governor Joseph Talachy, Pojoaque Pueblo, at August 15, REDI Net Groundbreaking Ceremony
Rio Arriba County Government is currently working with several entities to provide high speed internet services throughout Rio Arriba County, Los Alamos County, Northern Santa Fe County, Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo, Santa Clara Pueblo, San Ildelfonso Pueblo, Tesuque Pueblo and Pojoaque Pueblo. The project, designated as REDI Net, entails initiating a middle-mile fiber optic broadband network in rural Northern New Mexico that will serve ~123 community anchor institutions, with a total market potential of 19,227 households and 1,332 businesses. According to REDI Net Project Manager, Tobey Johnson, the venture is expected to be running by May 2012.
“Introducing high speed broadband to this area will enhance the delivery of rural healthcare services, make public and higher education more accessible, and improve local government services, including public safety,” Johnson said.
The project cost was estimated at a total of $13,391,443; $10,565,792 of which was in federal funding and $2,825,651 in cash and in-kind matches. Along with Rio Arriba, (being a match contributor of $700, 000), Los Alamos County, Jemez Mountain Electric Cooperative, Los Alamos National Security, LLC, the City of Espanola, and Northern New Mexico College are also amongst those contributors.
“What’s most encouraging is the level of assistance and participation amongst the many project partners” said Johnson. “Without their participation and collaboration, delivering affordable broadband access in North Central New Mexico would not be a reality, and we thank them for their continued support.” According to Johnson, construction for the project is underway, as fiber optic cable is being laid along New Mexico Highway 84/285. “The network construction is going to plan and running very efficiently,” said Johnson.
North Central New Mexico Economic Development District (NCNMEDD), the council for the region, will act as the fiscal agent and the administrator of the project. NCNMEDD has partnered with Jemez Mountains Electric Cooperative and Los Alamos County Department of Public Utilities to operate the projects’ outside plant maintenance; this is expected to minimize start-up costs and escalate productions as both companies possess vehicles, equipment and linemen prepared to start the job. Northern New Mexico College is also playing a role in the construction for the project by providing training on fiber construction maintenance to linemen. Kit Carson Telecom will manage the Network Operations Center, from their state-of-the art facility already in place, also contributing to the low start up and operational costs.
-Erika L. Martinez