MAGDALENA, N.M. (KRQE) – A grant has been announced to help a rural community grow its tech scene. The Office of Broadband Access and Expansion (OBAE) released information on a program and the grant involved.

The grant will be given to Socorro Electric Cooperative (SEC), and it is a part of the Connect New Mexico Pilot Program.

“This project kickstarts the State’s broadband investment into Socorro County and brings connectivity to the currently unserved community of Magdalena. Its 300 residents will have access to a future-proof, scalable fiber-to-the-premise network,” said OBAE Director Kelly Schlegel. “This project’s middle-mile span will further spur Socorro’s fiber expansion into other communities in Socorro County. We can only imagine the innovation that will be stimulated by this generational investment, especially in the region’s growing space economy.”

The grant program features $123 million which will go towards accessible broadband services in ‘underserved and unserved’ areas of New Mexico. The funds are a part of the American Rescue Plan Act. Part of the project focuses on Magdalena, and New Mexico’s broadband director even visited the town along with those locally involved.

“Socorro Electric and Continental Divide greatly appreciate the funding support from OBAE and the state. This project is a game changer for the Village of Magdalena,” said SEC GM Joseph Herrera, “Approximately 300 homes, businesses, and institutions that are currently unserved will leapfrog from speeds less than 25/3 Mbps to symmetrical 1 Gbps, and potentially faster in the future as demand for high bandwidth-consuming applications grows. This project will foster momentum to build throughout the unserved areas of Socorro with future-proof technologies like fiber-to-the-premises. In doing this SEC and Continental Divide continue the tradition of cooperation among cooperatives in bringing critical services to the unserved.”

Story continues below:

During the project, SEC plans to build around 31 miles of ‘middle-mile fiber’ between Socorro and Magdalena substations with 19 other miles within Magdalena.