WASHINGTON – The Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) today announced a $10.6 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act investment to help bridge the technological divide, boost economic growth, create jobs, and improve education and healthcare in New Mexico.
The grant to the North Central New Mexico Economic Development District will fund the deployment of high-speed Internet infrastructure across the counties of Rio Arriba, Los Alamos, and northern Santa Fe, and to five Native American tribal communities. The project plans to directly connect more than 120 community anchor institutions to broadband service – including public safety facilities, K-12 schools, community colleges, government buildings, healthcare providers, and libraries – which will support uses such as distance learning, telemedicine, and improved public safety communications. The project also intends to promote energy efficiency by enabling "smart grid" applications for regional rural electric cooperatives. In addition, local Internet service providers will be able to utilize the new infrastructure to deploy new or improved high-speed Internet service to consumers and businesses.
"High-speed Internet access is increasingly important for communities to thrive in the 21st century economy," said Deputy NTIA Administrator Anna M. Gomez. "This Recovery Act investment will create jobs, support advances in education and healthcare, and help lay the groundwork for sustainable economic growth."
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provided a total of $7.2 billion to NTIA and the Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service to fund projects that will expand access to and adoption of broadband services. NTIA is utilizing approximately $4 billion of that funding for the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP), which provides grants to support the deployment of broadband infrastructure, enhance and expand public computer centers, and encourage sustainable adoption of broadband service.
Today's announcement is part of the second round of BTOP grant awards, which will continue on a rolling basis. NTIA will make all BTOP awards by September 30, 2010, and has thus far announced 114 BTOP grants to benefit communities nationwide.