The Pueblo of Jemez and the Office of Broadband Access and Expansion announced Monday a grant received from the Connect New Mexico Pilot Program.

The grant award of $15.2 million ($8.56 million award plus $6.64 million match) will be used to advance the pueblo’s mission to provide high-speed broadband internet access to underserved homes within Jemez Pueblo and bridge the digital divide.

The funds will be used to  connect 687 unserved units through the deployment of a 45-mile fiber network and leverage several existing middle-mile assets to reach the internet backbone.

According to a press release, “The pueblo of Jemez has long recognized the importance of broadband access in today’s digital age. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the critical need for reliable internet connectivity for remote work, online education, telehealth services and more. This grant will enable us to accelerate our efforts in making high-speed broadband accessible and affordable for all, ensuring that no one in our community is left behind.”

In the release, the pueblo thanked  New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and Director Kelly Schlegel for their support and commitment to improving digital equity.

“We are excited to receive this grant from state of New Mexico Office of Broadband Access and Expansion and are grateful for their partnership in our quest to bridge the digital divide,” said Jemez Gov. Dominic Gachupin. “This funding will enable us to expand our broadband network, bring opportunities to our community, and empower our residents to thrive in the digital age.”