December 6, 2016

Feds Freeze Funding For Taos Broadband Project

Urgent! Fiber Optic Project Funding Suspended!

We would like to sincerely thank all those that have contacted the Public Regulation Commission (PRC) to support the Enchanted Light Fiber Optic High Speed Internet Project. The PRC has been listening. We need your help again! The PRC will be holding a meeting on Tuesday October 16, 2012 at 9:00 am. We ask all Kit Carson Electric Cooperative (KCEC) members who support economic development in north central New Mexico join us at the meeting.

Wednesday (10/10/12) KCEC received a communication from RUS (Rural Utility Service (Provider of the grant and loan dedicated to the installation of high speed internet service to every home and business in our service territory) suspending future advances of funds for the broadband project. They cite that forming a subsidiary pursuant to the NMPRC order may cause an “adverse material effect” on the project and until this is resolved the project for all intents and purposes is suspended and could be cancelled if the NMPRC continues to push for divestiture. The solution is for the NMPRC to let the (KCEC) board decide the best governance for the broadband and let the board decide if and when a subsidiary is required. We need our members to support the coop and make calls and email to all commissioners ASAP.

A small group of Taosenos is trying to slow down or stop the project. Judging by the literally hundreds of calls we have received from around the Enchanted Circle from people wanting to sign up to be first on the list to be connected to fiber and the hundreds of calls and e-mails received by the PRC in support of the project, we realize these protesters are a small minority. Now, because of your efforts on behalf of economic development in our area, the PRC knows there are many more people that support the project and wish to see it continue.

If the efforts of these interveners are successful they can bring about several consequences including:

  • The RUS has wording in their contract with KCEC that stipulates the grant and loan were issued to KCEC and divestiture will be considered to have an “adverse material effect” on the project. We are expected to complete the project or risk having the project stopped and money spent already returned to them.
  • The immediate consequences would be:
    • The loss of 100 local jobs.
    • The loss of 300 future locals jobs as the project continues.
    • The repayment of the money that has been expended so far, which amounts to approximately $12 million.
  • The loss of $64 million dollars to the local economy. The RUS is prepared to take this money and give it to another community that would not put up barriers to the completion of the project.
  • The loss of the best economic development tool for our area since electricity was connected in the 1940’s.

At best the interveners will cause a delay in the project if the PRC does not rule quickly in favor of KCEC at their October 16th meeting. With the importance of fiber optic connection to our local economic development, we need to proceed as quickly as possible.

Here’s how you can help:

  • Attend the PRC regular meeting next Tuesday in the PERA Building in Santa Fe and let them know the possible consequences of their actions.
  • Pick up the phone or e-mail today and tell the PRC you support the Taos Fiber to the Home project.

PRC Commissioners

Douglas J. Howe
Commissioner – District 3 (Our District)
doug.howe@state.nm.us
1120 Paseo De Peralta
P.O. Box 1269
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87504
(505) 827-4533

Patrick H. Lyons (Chair)
Commissioner – District 2
Patrick.Lyons@state.nm.us
1120 Paseo De Peralta
P.O. Box 1269
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87504
(505) 827-4531

Jason A. Marks
Commissioner – District 1
Jason.Marks@state.nm.us
1120 Paseo De Peralta
P.O. Box 1269
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87504
(505) 827-8015

Ben L. Hall
Commissioner – District 5
Ben.Hall@state.nm.us

Theresa Becenti-Aguilar
Vice Chairman Commissioner – District 4
T.Becenti@state.nm.us

John Montoya
Chief of Staff
John.Montoya@state.nm.us

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