Thanks to an initiative by a consortium of schools and libraries in the west-central area of New Mexico, the Magdalena Public Library has upgraded its internet service and will be providing fiber-optic speeds of 100 Mbps for patrons.
A “ribbon cutting” was held Tuesday afternoon at the library to unveil the faster service. Librarian Ivy Stover said the 100 Mbps speed applies to both downloads and uploads.
She said from 80 to 100 people a month come in regularly to use the computers, “and it’s probably twice that with people using the Wi-Fi outside on the deck.”
Rep. Gail Armstrong said the New Mexico Public Schools Facility Authority, an initiative to bring better and cheaper broadband service to local schools and libraries, was instrumental in bringing the pilot project to Magdalena.
She commended Jerry Smith, Broadband and Technology Program Specialist with the Authority, for adding Magdalena to the pilot project.
“I’m honored that they reached out to our district,” Armstrong said. “This means jobs. It’s a perfect example of people working together to bring good things to New Mexico.”
By working with the West Central Consortium, a partnership of four school districts and three public libraries in Catron and Socorro counties, the library's monthly cost for high-speed Internet will be lower, thanks to funding through the Federal Communication Commission Schools and Libraries Division E-Rate program.
The universal service Schools and Libraries Program, commonly known as “E-rate,” provides discounts of up to 90 percent to help eligible schools and libraries in the United States obtain affordable telecommunications and internet access. The program is intended to ensure that schools and libraries have access to affordable telecommunications and information services.
Magdalena Mayor Richard Rumpf said the enhanced internet service would be beneficial, not only for the library but also for the town.
“It’s an excellent program and a great asset for the library, and the Village of Magdalena,” Rumpf said. “The effort to upgrade the library’s service with fiber optics has been in the works for over a year.”