Connect New Mexico Pilot Program
Connect New Mexico Pilot Program
Announcements and Press Releases
On Friday, September 23, 2022 the OBAE hosted a Zoom webinar about the FCC Map Challenge.
The Connect New Mexico Pilot Program (“Pilot Program”) aims to bridge the digital divide and foster socioeconomic progress by providing infrastructure grants for broadband deployment to unserved and underserved communities across New Mexico.
Funding for the Pilot Program is provided by the American Rescue Plan Act’s Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund. Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and the New Mexico Legislature, through House Bill 2, appropriated $123,066,812 from the Capital for expenditure by the Department of Information Technology (DoIT) in fiscal years 2022 through 2025 to “plan, design, construct, renovate and equip broadband, including alternative and satellite broadband, statewide.”
Senate Bill 93 established the New Mexico Office of Broadband Access and Expansion (“Office of Broadband”) to coordinate state and local broadband efforts. The Office of Broadband is administratively attached to DoIT.
Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO)
The NOFO formally establishes the funding opportunity for the Connect New Mexico Pilot Program. Please review the NOFO to learn about the program purpose, eligibility factors (e.g., project types, service areas, entities), allowable expenditures, key performance requirements (e.g., network performance, service offerings), evaluation criteria, and compliance requirements.
The Scoring Guide provides a detailed overview of the selection criteria. The Scoring Guide identifies the specific categories and consideration factors by which applications will be evaluated. The Scoring Guide aims to provide a methodical, structured approach to comprehensively and consistently evaluate applications and select the most promising applications.
The Application comprises of several questions and other information requests. The Application must be fully completed. Otherwise, the Application will be determined incomplete and not be reviewed.
Interactive Broadband Map
The Interactive Broadband Map delineates unserved and undeserved areas. Areas not designated as unserved or underserved may still be eligible for funding if the Applicant can provide fact-based evidence that the proposed funded service area meet the Pilot Program’s definition of unserved or underserved. Please see the NOFO regarding the official definition of unserved and underserved.
Frequently Asked Questions
The FAQ aims to answer commonly asked questions. This FAQ will be posted soon based on feedback received from participants and other stakeholders.
Webinars and Technical Assistance
- FCC Map Challenge Webinar, Friday, September 23. Link to webinar →
- Application Intake Portal Overview, Thursday, September 15, 12:00 PM DMT. Webinar slides coming soon…
- Interactive Broadband Map Overview, Tuesday, August 23, 12:00 PM MDT, presented by the EDAC team. Link to webinar slides →
- Scoring Guide Overview, Monday, August 22, 12:00 PM MDT. Link to webinar slides →
- Application Overview, Friday, August 19, 12:00 PM MDT. Link to webinar slides →
- Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) Overview, Wednesday, August 17, 12:00 PM MDT. Link to webinar slides →
The New Mexico Office of Broadband Access and Expansion (OBAE) is currently reviewing Wave 1 Connect New Mexico Pilot Program applications. The review process consists of two distinct, but complementary tracks: merit review that applies a scoring rubric to assess strengths and weaknesses of all applications; and mapping review that closely examines proposed project service area eligibility.
The mapping review is designed to ensure that all Pilot Program projects are focused on unserved or underserved areas of New Mexico. This process includes publication of all Pilot Program proposed project service areas and project descriptions in an open and interactive map, the Mapping Review Map. The process invites feedback from incumbent broadband providers, fellow applicants, and other stakeholders – including the general public and potential customers – regarding the eligibility of all proposed projects.
Before Pilot Program grants are awarded, applicants will have an opportunity to challenge the accuracy of the New Mexico Broadband Map – that is, if areas designated as served, unserved, or underserved are appropriately classified. Likewise, incumbent broadband providers and others will be allowed to challenge the eligibility of a grant application on the basis of currently available broadband service or near-term planned broadband deployment.
Between now and 5pm on Friday, October 21, we’re asking New Mexico broadband stakeholders to reconcile these mapping layers against their own broadband service data and/or deployment plans. For instance, should any area of the map include a proposed Pilot Program project AND understate existing service levels, we want to hear about it!
Incumbent providers can offer OBAE with shapefiles and/or specific location addresses that have demonstrated wireline service at or above the program eligibility threshold of 100/20 Mbps. Information to this end should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject heading “Mapping Review: [and the unique project ID].”
The mapping review process begins a conversation between OBAE and the Pilot Program stakeholder. No awards will be made without an opportunity for dialogue on the mapping and service levels in question. OBAE is committed to making this process as user-friendly and transparent as reasonably possible, and we intend to learn and apply what we can from the processes introduced during the Pilot Program to the full Connect New Mexico Broadband Grant Program. To this end, we welcome all feedback as we seek to improve and refine this process moving forward.