Jemez Mountains Internet Awarded Broadband Grant
ESPAÑOLA, N.M., September 13, 2023 – Jemez Mountains Internet (JMI), a division of Jemez Mountains Electric Cooperative, Inc., (JMEC) announced today that it was awarded a $5.9 million grant from the second wave of the Connect New Mexico Pilot Program. JMI will match the grant for a total of nearly $12 million in funding to launch its buildout of high-speed internet services.
There will be a celebration event with JMI and the Office of Broadband Access and Expansion on Thursday, September 14, 2023, 11:00 a.m., at the Ohkay Casino and Resort in Ohkay Owingeh, New Mexico.
“We are thrilled to receive this grant which will enable JMI to begin construction on a total of 105 route miles of fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) covering about 13 square miles,” said Tomas Barela, JMI broadband manager. “While there are too few households to cover the cost of this initial construction, the grant frees up annual revenues generated by the broadband service to cover the cost of its long-term operations.”
The Proposed Funded Service Area (PFSA) includes the unserved and underserved unincorporated areas of Hernandez, Ohkay Owingeh, Chamita, Alcalde, El Duende, La Villita, Los Luceros, Lyden, Canova, Velarde in Rio Arriba County and part of the unserved and underserved areas of northern Española. An estimated 7,500 people live in the area which includes 3,171 households, 34 businesses, 17 community institutions and 12 farms.
“The PFSA area met all the stringent criteria for the Wave2 grant and then some,” said Barela. “Nearly all in JMEC’s service territory would be described as unserved or underserved as it relates to access to high-speed internet and, in this area, many are socio-economically distressed as well.”
JMI has been working with ACRS Telecommunications Engineers as its consulting engineer since 2022. The Oklahoma City-based company has a long track record of success in the broadband sector including highly regarded engineering and grant work for two other New Mexico electric cooperatives. ACRS is working with JMI to design the broadband facility, supply stakers and inspectors and oversee the project throughout.
Once the grant award detail is finalized, JMI will initiate engineering of the area. Construction will follow completion of engineering.