Myriad studies show New Mexico has an internet connectivity problem – the only real debate is how to finally fix it.
U.S. Census Bureau data released two years ago determined 73.7% of New Mexico households had broadband connections, just ahead of Arkansas and Mississippi. BroadbandNow ranks New Mexico 49th, with only 66.5% of New Mexicans having access to wired broadband and rural parts of the state really suffering – just 2.1% of Hidalgo County, 5.7% of Socorro County, 10.2% of Colfax County and 14.6% of Catron County residents had broadband coverage.
And New Mexico’s Legislative Finance Committee found this month that none of the state’s nine broadband goals of 2014 have been completely achieved despite the investment of hundreds of millions of public dollars.
Lest anyone think this lack of logging on is simply depriving residents of trending TikTok and cat videos, the COVID-era has laid serious inequities bare. From remote learning to telemedicine, never has internet connectivity been more important, or more missed, than when it comes to providing basic services. Around 76,000 New Mexico students don’t have internet service at home, according to the state Public Schools Facilities Authority.