New Mexico Governor Signs Broadband Expansion Bills

New Mexico Governor Signs Broadband Expansion Bills

New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez has signed two bills that will further broadband expansion in her state.

House Bill 60 by Representative Carl Trujillo and Senator Jacob Candelaria is designed to spur broadband network expansion and House Bill 113 by Representative Jim Smith and Senator Daniel Ivey-Soto calls for the creation of a statewide broadband network.

House Bill 60 is notable for its establishment of a “dig once” policy which will allow for broadband fiber to be installed anytime trenches are dug to access utility lines.

HB113, in its creation of a statewide network, encourages a public-private-partnership model and has a provision that will make sure broadband expansion also includes tribal lands. The statewide network is expected to focus on connectivity at anchor institutions like schools first and also mandates state agencies to create plans for bringing connectivity to New Mexico’s rural populations.

Both bills were top priorities for democrats in the statehouse. “Investing in our state’s broadband infrastructure is an important step toward ensuring our state’s economic recovery,” said Representative Jim Smith in a statement on the passage of both bills. “Taking these simple steps will help attract investment to underserved communities.”