The Luna County Community and Economic Development office is launching an effort to get residents to officially take and record the speed of their internet service from home, school and work. Dubbed “Need for Speed” the program is meant to help bring grant funds to expand and improve Luna County internet service, enhance digital equity and inclusion, and support digital literacy for all residents.
Luna County hopes to receive grant funds from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act which provided $65billion for broadband deployment and affordability. Additional funds from the State of New Mexico will be released for a pilot program that Luna County has targeted as the their 1st effort to kick-start an economic development goal of improving connectivity to even the hardest to connect residents in the county.
“This is an all hands on deck effort for Luna County” stated Chris Brice, County Manager. “It’s easy for everyone to pitch in and help us qualify for grant funds. People can take the test and a special map created by the state will record their speed. No personal information will be saved for any other purpose than mapping speeds in the county. Residents are encouraged to test at different times of the day because speeds usually vary based on home and business usage. “We need help to map out speed in every corner of the county,” concluded Brice.
The County held a listening session last May where over 50 residents came to share their stories about slow or no service. Another 20 people joined the listening session remote from the Columbus Library. County officials heard residents’ stories about trying to work from home, and students falling behind due to connectivity. Those personal stories will help Luna County garner financial support. Officials are seeking letters for grant applications, will be conducting surveys to quantify how many residents have no service and using information to qualify for funds.
The county wants to hear from people with no internet service as well. Residents are encouraged to call 575-567-3791 and leave a message stating they have no service available. County residents that lack service due to financial constraints may be eligible for the Affordable Connectivity Program and can speak to a real person by calling 877-384-2575.
Please take the test https://nmbbmapping.org/survey/