On May 19, 2020, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Federal Reserve Banks of Dallas and Kansas City, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency co-hosted a webinar, “Collaborating for Digital Inclusion Success in New Mexico.” Next Century Cities’ Executive Director Francella Ochillo joined a panel of experts (below) who shared resources and examples to help communities develop broadband programs, identify funding opportunities, and build digital inclusion coalitions.
- Aubrey Abbot Patterson, Hutchinson Community Foundation
- Marycruz De Leon, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas
- Jeremy Hegle, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City
- Kyle Hollifield, Magellan Advisors
- Kathy Holmes, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
- Angela Siefer, National Digital Inclusion Coalition
- Alvin Warren, Los Alamos National Laboratory Foundation
- Gina Vincent, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
Over the last two years, in particular, New Mexico communities have been building digital equity initiatives to identify and map broadband needs, expand affordable broadband access, and increase adoption rates. Those efforts helped paved the way for Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham to sign HB 10 and SB 93 in April 2021. Both bills moved the state one step closer to connecting all New Mexicans to reliable, high-speed Internet.
The New Mexico Office of Broadband Access and Expansion will help centralize broadband deployment strategies and funding opportunities while promoting economic development, distance learning, and telehealth for hard to reach areas. In places like Albuquerque and Socorro, that is welcomed news when 25% of households statewide still do not have broadband. Next Century Cities continues to urge local officials, who have had to take a leadership role on their own broadband initiative, to share valuable insights with state officials and peers working towards universal broadband goals.