By Eva Artschwager of El Valle Community Center and Villanueva David Cargo Library
Thanks to the efforts of the Texas based Information Technology Disaster Resource Center (ITDRC), the Santa Fe non-profit Community Learning Network, and the coordination provided through the Department of Information Technology Broadband Program, the village of Pecos now has its first free public access WiFi. The “hotspot”, which was installed by ITDRC in the small park adjacent to the village offices on Main Street, provides free Internet WiFi signal throughout the playground park area and adjacent parking lot. The WiFi signal should be available 24/7 and can be used by visitors seeking information about local activities, services, and accommodations, as well as by people in the community, such as students needing to complete assignments online or residents needing to file electronic forms, access medical advice, or submit employment applications.
The installation of the wifi access point in Pecos is part of a larger initiative to provide wifi access across northern New Mexico to schools, government entities, and other public facilities that lack easy and affordable access to a high speed internet (i.e. broadband) connection. Broadband has become a critical service, especially at this time when more and more of our professional, personal and learning interactions require access to a reliable internet connection. Increasing wifi access points helps close the digital divide, which has left large swaths of rural New Mexico residents without an internet connection in their homes and has placed unconnected students at increasingly high risk of falling further and further behind along the educational spectrum. In recognizing and addressing this need, the wifi hotspot installation program has made a measurable difference for rural, remote, and other communities struggling on the wrong side of the digital divide.
The hotspots provided in the village of Pecos were made possible with the support of Pecos mayor Ted Benavides and County Commissioner Janice Varela. For a map of all broadband service in the state, consult the New Mexico Department of Information Technology broadband program website.
Community Learning Network is a grassroots New Mexico-born and locally based 501(c)3 organization dedicated to building stronger communities through real-life learning.