The New Mexico Department of Transportation (DOT) is assisting with rural broadband expansion to fill gaps exposed during the pandemic, reported Government Technology. The plan is that while roads are being constructed, the DOT will update fiber-optic infrastructure, a “dig once” approach that minimizes the impact on the environment.
“The pandemic forced New Mexico to rely heavily on internet access, making broadband even more essential,” Transportation Secretary Mike Sandoval said. “Digital expansion has been a passion project of the department for a while, but the urgent need for telecommuting, distance learning, and telemedicine has fueled the drive to make internet access for every New Mexican a reality.”
According to Government Technology, DOT partnered with the New Mexico Economic Development Department to conduct a broadband infrastructure assessment. The objective was to evaluate the connectivity opportunities for rural parts of the state and simultaneously identify state transportation needs.
“Additional fiber infrastructure would also enhance the department’s Intelligent Transportation Systems…which allows the New Mexico Department of Transportation to install additional digital message boards, cameras and weather sensors, to provide real-time road condition information through the NMRoads application,” according to a news release issued by DOT.