In March of this year, during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Kit Carson Electric Cooperative Inc. was concerned about the number of low-income and underserved students in KCEC's service territory without high-speed broadband internet.
KCEC's goal is to connect 100 percent of the students with the necessary broadband internet connection to participate in the new way of online educational learning without being left behind.
KCEC's student program provides low-to-moderate-income students with broadband speeds no less than 25/25 Mbps with a student or low-income monthly rate. The package also includes a free wireless router and fiber install drop at no cost. Thus far, KCEC has connected approximately 314 students in KCEC 's service territory with high-speed internet. KCEC has currently over 800 students waiting to be connected.
KCEC works with the five local school districts, Southern Methodist University, University of New Mexico-Taos, Northern New Mexico College, Taos Pueblo and Picuris Pueblo and all charter schools in connecting with fiber optic to the home.
The five school districts that KCEC serves are Taos, Questa, Mesa Vista, Peñasco and Cimarrón. KCEC is working on coordination of students, teachers and support personnel lacking in broadband connectivity with superintendents and IT professionals at each school to develop lists of those who require service.
In March, KCEC submitted an emergency fund application with the New Mexico Public Regulatory Commission for approximately $677,000 with KCEC matching 25 percent. This funding would connect 552 Northern New Mexico students.
We respectfully ask for your support by notifying the NMPRC that KCEC should be awarded the financing to connect New Mexico students for education and give our less fortunate students opportunities.
KCEC appreciates the hard work and dedication you are accomplishing during these challenging times. We can get through this pandemic if we continue to work together.
Please submit a letter of support to the following PRC commissioners:
Jefferson L. Byrd
Luis A. Reyes Jr. is CEO, Kit Carson Electric Cooperative