NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – The New Mexico Rail Runner Express is now utilizing Starlink to provide free high-speed internet to passengers.

Elon Musk’s Starlink uses thousands of satellites that are orbiting the earth to deliver broadband internet. The satellites have been launched into space through Musk’s SpaceX since 2019.

Augusta Meyers, the communications manager for the Mid-Region Council of Governments, said the switch to Starlink will hopefully help provide better connectivity on the Rail Runner. Previously, the Rail Runner utilized radio and cell towers for its Wi-Fi, which sometimes resulted in spotty service throughout the Rail Runner’s 100-mile corridor from Belen to Santa Fe.

Starlink is currently being tested on Rail Runner trains. “We are in testing mode right now, working out any bugs or issues, but we hope to officially launch the new system by the end of the year,” Meyers stated in an email to KRQE News 13.

The new upgrades cost under half a million dollars to install and $300,000 a year to maintain. The funds will come out of the Mid-Region Council of Governments’ operating budget, Meyers explained.