NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – The Jemez Pueblo is turning on its new broadband network Friday. The new system will give internet access to 500 homes on the Pueblo that previously haven’t had it. The 3,400 member tribe has struggled with internet access, making remote learning during the pandemic especially difficult.

“The Pueblo of Jemez has worked diligently to develop the Jemez Pueblo Tribal Network to provide Broadband – high-speed connectivity through fiber-optic connections and wireless networks to ensure our people have the tools necessary to address pandemic issues and pursue future educational and career opportunities,” said Pueblo of Jemez Governor Michael Toledo, Jr. in a news release.

According to the same news release, over the last five years, the Pueblo of Jemez started a plan to connect every home to fast, reliable internet but due to the pandemic, bringing fiber internet to Jemez became an immediate need. The news release states that the state provided $1.3 million in Capital Outlay and an additional $1.4 million from the state’s CARES Act funds for the project. CARES Act allocations coordinated with tribes, the New Mexico Department of Finance and Administration, and the New Mexico Indian Affairs Department, and the Pueblo leveraged state, federal and private donations to fully fund this initiative.