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New Mexico Launches Statewide Broadband Network for K-12

The Statewide Education Network will create an internal system for sharing classes, educational materials and other resources. All of the state's districts and charter schools are expected to join the network by 2027.

(TNS) — A broadband network designed to link public schools across the state with high-speed Internet is online now.

Nearly 15,000 students across 30 schools — three Albuquerque charter schools and all 27 schools in the Gadsden Independent School District in Santa Teresa — connected Monday to New Mexico's Statewide Education Network.

Dozens more schools, including Santa Fe Public Schools and Monte del Sol Charter School, have committed to plug into the network, which is expected to interconnect all of the state's districts and charter schools by 2027.

"This has been a mammoth undertaking, and we're very excited that the network is finally alive," Ovidiu Viorica, the network's broadband and technology manager, said in a news release. "This is an extraordinary achievement that will see productive returns for our children and our state."

The Statewide Education Network will create an internal system through which schools can share classes and educational materials, as well as resources on tutoring, mental health and college preparation.

"This breakthrough not only means students will have access to all kinds of content, but it will also connect people — students, teachers, superintendents and other personnel — who can collaborate to achieve goals," Drew Lovelace, acting director of the New Mexico Office of Broadband Access and Expansion, said in a news release.

The venture is funded by a mixture of state and federal dollars, including a portion of federal infrastructure allocations to New Mexico and a $5 million investment from the state's Public School Capital Outlay Council.

Network administrators will be responsible for the system's daily operations and cybersecurity procedures, changes Lovelace said would remove the "administrative burden" of procuring Internet access from schools and districts.

There's no timeline yet for when local schools will get access to the system, Office of Broadband Access and Expansion spokesman Mike Curtis wrote in an email, although more and more districts and charter schools are slated to join the network over the next three years.

©2024 The Santa Fe New Mexican (Santa Fe, N.M.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.