Dark fiber is being put forward as the key to New Mexico’s broadband delivery woes. In a recent update published by BroadbandNow.com, New Mexico was ranked near the very bottom of the list for successful broadband outreach, beating out only Montana and Alaska. Currently under consideration, SB 360 would free up the use of “dark fiber” already in place to bring broadband to New Mexico’s numerous rural communities, reports the Albuquerque Journal.
SB 360 has the support of the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce who published the following statement: “We are business leaders, spanning six different sectors, taking part in the Leadership Albuquerque program through the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce. We believe broadband access is critical to our economic growth and well-being. Broadband brings people together – teachers to students, doctors to patients, first responders to the sick or hurting, and family members to one another. It enables the connections we need in order to learn, grow and lead productive and healthy lives.”
The group agrees with the bill’s sponsor, Senator Michael Padilla, who believes that the dark fiber network would be the quickest and most cost efficient way to get New Mexico connected. Without needing to invest in infrastructure, passage of the bill would allow the underserved, rapid access to medical, educational, and commercial opportunities. As one of the bill’s supporters commented, “Equitable access to the internet is a necessity in today’s work and school environments, not a commodity.”