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SF kicks off high speed Internet project

SANTA FE – With a flip of a switch, Santa Fe became much more attractive to place to base a high-tech business.

Mayor Javier Gonzales on Monday activated a $1 million broadband infrastructure project that increased Internet speeds to 1 gigabit per second along a two-mile stretch from downtown to the south end of the Railyard district, with plans to expand to other parts of the city.

“We talk about expanding our economy and diversifying into areas like science, technology and media, you cannot get there unless you have high-speed internet access that is supported by fiber and this gigabit technology,” Gonzales told the Journal. “This opens up the potential for entrepreneurs to thrive and gives business startups an opportunity to connect with infrastructure that will deliver gigabit speed and allow them to be successful.”

In addition, the mayor announced plans to introduce a resolution to the City Council calling for 9,000 square feet of unused space the city owns at Market Station in the Railyard to be turned into a business development center. He said the city has already made an investment in such nonprofit groups as Startup Santa Fe and SCORE Santa Fe that work to enhance economic and business development.

“The idea is to have space where they can operate out of and allow the entrepreneurs that are getting the benefit of their services to have workspaces to develop ideas to get businesses started,” he said.

The gigabit fiber route runs from CenturyLink’s central exchange in downtown Santa Fe to a fiber hut on the south end of the city’s Railyard district. From there, the line runs to Albuquerque, the state’s Internet hub.

The mayor said he’d like to see the fiber network expanded soon to serve St. Michael’s Drive, where the Santa Fe University of Art and Design and Christus St. Vincent Hospital are located, and Siler Road, an area zoned industrial.

The project was undertaken in partnership among the city, Cyber Mesa Telecom – a private Internet service provider that has a four-year contract with the city to design, build and operate the network – and the state Department of Information Technology, which traded fiber in exchange for connecting the network to the south Capitol.

Sean Moody of the city’s Economic Development Division said the network also serves to break up the current monopoly CenturyLink has as the owner of the regional network to “create a viable, robust competitive market” that will translate to faster speeds and lower costs to residential consumers.

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