KUNM

fiber-optic

Katharine Egli

TAOS, NM – Molly Byrnes, 34, and Jesse Hofmann-Smith, 35, can’t reliably make phone calls on their cellular network from their cozy apartment on the outskirts of Taos, but they can host real-time webinars and build websites online for clients across the country.

 

Their casita is one of about 6,300 homes and businesses in northern New Mexico connected to a high-speed fiber-optic internet network run by an unlikely source: the local electric cooperative.

 

Katharine Egli for the Solutions Journalism Network

Quality internet service is key to overcoming poverty, according to studies worldwide. But all over the U.S., people of color and folks with low incomes are less likely to have access to an affordable, reliable connection. Plus, big corporations are often unwilling to lay line through tough terrain without a lot of customers.