HANM Empowering Families to Engage in Broadband!
Health Action New Mexico is teaming up with residents in Southern New Mexico to learn about the broadband initiatives coming to New Mexico and to discover how local communities can benefit from this opportunity. Our work involves residents of Doña Ana, Luna, and Otero County areas.
Broadband is healthcare!
- The COVID-19 pandemic has made it clear that high-speed internet is an essential part of health care. Telemedicine should be available to all New Mexicans — broadband ensures that underserved populations will have access to telehealth benefits.
About Broadband Initiatives in our state:
The focus of broadband initiatives is to connect the unserved and the underserved with affordable, reliable, high-speed internet.
- Communities in New Mexico, because of federal and state funds, will have plenty of resources to achieve broadband connectivity.
- In 2023 and 2024, there will be comprehensive planning and input sessions statewide to hear from residents what the challenges are to gain access to strong-signaled and affordable internet services. And to design solutions.
- The state of New Mexico has brought forward highly skilled, helpful, and welcoming planning groups to provide guidance to those wishing to be involved: NM DoIt, the Connect NM Council and its dynamic workgroups. No matter what community you are from, these state groups are your source for guidance and encouragement.
Health Action NM’s approach to broadband:
- Broadband is not easy to understand in all its aspects. So, we are using a learning team approach with local grassroots partners who want broadband initiatives to come to their communities.
- Our learning team, the Southern New Mexico Broadband Action Team, is enthusiastic about working with grassroots community leaders. Many of our learning team members come from the Colonias, unincorporated areas in Southern New Mexico.
- Our action team remains flexible on broadband topics to cover in meetings. We have discussed how poor internet signals impede home-based businesses or schoolwork, the job training that community colleges should be offering to help prepare the broadband labor force, the big need for telemedicine especially for the homebound, and more.
Insights and Action Items:
- Counties and municipalities will be the most active applicants for funding for broadband infrastructure. Once funded, the counties will be contracting with internet service providers to build broadband infrastructure.
- Counties are relatively new to the opportunities of broadband, and they recognize that it is a complex and time-demanding endeavor.
- Health Action NM has hosted town halls and panels directed at counties to help bridge the gap of limited awareness of broadband opportunities to serve the unserved. It is vitally important that each county have at least one staff member who will be the specialist for broadband.
- Hundreds of well-paying jobs are going to be created by the large number of infrastructure projects that will be funded to bring the internet to the unserved.
- Workforce development – the training for the jobs that are going to be created under the broadband initiative will need solid support and involvement from key training institutions such as the community colleges and employer-based job training.
- The people who can benefit most from broadband coming to New Mexico are members of ethnic, racial, or minority groups, low-income families earning at or below 150% of the poverty level, rural residents, aging individuals, individuals with disabilities, and veterans.
The broadband initiative is going to have a multigenerational, positive impact on families throughout New Mexico. So, we invite you to learn more about broadband and its many opportunities that will benefit all members of your family.
Health Action New Mexico: www.healthactionnm.org, firstname.lastname@example.org
New Mexico Broadband Program: www.doit.nm.gov