Santa Fe New Mexican: Rural areas see progress on high-speed Web access

Officials from Northern New Mexico gathered Friday in Española to mark the progress of a telecommunications project that is bringing reliable high-speed Internet capabilities to more remote and underserved populations.

The Regional Economic Development Initiative Middle-Mile Broadband Network, or REDI Net, is beginning to provide direct Internet access through fiber-optic cables to schools and educational institutions, libraries, health care facilities, community centers and government bodies along an area called the “middle mile” — locations not adjacent to regular high-speed Internet capacity.

“These are all institutions that people of the community utilize and benefit from every day. And this is where you start. You do the backbone of the community,” said U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., who spoke at the REDI Net event. “This is for infrastructure, and then everyone can benefit there,” he said. “Personal and business uses grow out of having the backbone available.” Udall emphasized that broadband is important for economic development.

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