Sufficient zoom | | Santa Fe Reporter


It’s hard to know how many people have moved to Santa Fe since the pandemic began, trading their frenetic city life for the open skies and fresh air of New Mexico, as much before.

Many new residents were cast as part of the ‘Zoom arrow‘, recent rib transplants who can afford skyrocketing home prices in Santa Fe by working in well-paying remote jobs.

But the city’s internet facilities aren’t meeting the needs of these new telecommuters, says James Gleason, CEO of Vexus Fiber.

Gleason says the need for a faster, more robust internet and an appropriate market size motivated Vexus to come to Santa Fe. The Texas-based internet service provider received permission from the city council earlier this month to use public rights of way to lay fiber optic cables across the city to deliver high-speed connections to homes and businesses.

“Based on market growth, a fiber broadband experience would be really well accepted,” Gleason told SFR, adding that today’s large providers such as Comcast and CenturyLink rely on older broadband technologies that can’t provide the speeds he says his company’s infrastructure project will give Santa Feans.

Vexus plans to connect the first district by August. Gleason says he doesn’t know which part of the city will be connected first because the project is still in the planning stages, but within 24 to 36 months it should be complete.

He adds that the project will require about 85 construction workers to lay the fiber, “and then about half to 50 of those jobs will turn into permanent jobs that will be permanent.”

Terry Lease, the city’s director of asset development, says the city “didn’t make a financial investment” in the project.

“We’ve granted the franchise agreements, which allows Vexus to step in and make this $35 million investment, more or less, in Santa Fe,” Lease said, outlining the expected cost.

Lease adds that “it will be a benefit for the city to help attract certain types of businesses to come and set up shop here and start their businesses here.”

Another locally-based Internet service provider is also working to improve access for Santa Fe and the surrounding community through the use of new wireless technology that can reach greater distances than traditional wireless technology.

Albert Catanach, owner of NMSurf, explains that in areas where traditional fixed wireless is “hit or miss”, the new technology can reach homes and businesses that are not in direct line of sight of a tower, typically required for wireless internet.

The difference comes from equipment from Tarana Wireless, which NMSurf uses in Santa Fe, which transmits signals differently and minimizes interference from neighboring Wi-Fi networks.

Tarana says it’s product can reach 10 times the capacity of standard wireless equipment. Catanach has witnessed the effectiveness of this technology.

“One of the things that plagues wireless is interference, isn’t it?” Catanach said. “This technology basically ignores…interference. It’s basically in a world of its own,” which he says translates into a better Internet experience for users.

NMSurf hopes to expand the technology to the surrounding area to reach Edgewood and Pacheco, rural areas that have limited options for internet access.

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