The high-speed Internet service announced last year is beginning to take shape.
In July 2021, the City of Socorro announced that it planned to enter into a franchise agreement to bring high-speed internet to the city with internet service provider TDS. The company already provides cable service in the city and has pledged to invest in fiber infrastructure.
According to TDS associate public relations manager Cheryl McCollum, the company is involved in the paperwork for the contracts. TDS had already found a contractor to build the network, but that contractor was bought out by another construction company.
“Right now we are working on signing construction contracts,” McCollum said. “When that happens – and we are close to that – we will start construction. This goes through many different layers when working on construction contracts.
She said the construction would involve both burial and aerial cables.
“Part of that is decided when we get the construction contract signed. It’s part of what we’re working on,” McCollum said. “We can’t announce who we’ll be working with yet, as we’re working with external vendors to do the build, so that’s what we have to wait for.
“But I would say we definitely start construction in 2022,” she said. “That remains the plan.”
TDS will be able to serve 4,500 residential and commercial customers “but it could go up to 5,300,” McCollum said.
Ultimately, broadband, cable and telephone services will be available to Socorro residents. “We will offer television service, and that will include Internet, television and telephone services,” she said.
Entry-level broadband will be 300 Mbps symmetrical, meaning a subscriber will be able to upload and download at 300 Mbps simultaneously. The entry level will start at $40 per month.
McCollum said the plans go up to 2GB in upload and download speeds, at a higher price. The company also participates in the federal plan that offers discounted Internet service for households that qualify at speeds of 100 Mbps.
Landline service is also part of the plan.
“People like it in case their cell phone service goes out or their batteries run out and the phone needs a charge,” she said.
Polo Pineda, City Clerk/Purchasing Manager/IT Manager/Grants Administrator of Socorro, said TDS remains committed to the fiber expansion project.
“We are finalizing our construction contracts and expect to begin construction in 2022 as announced last summer,” Pinnerda said. “We are excited and excited to bring world-class fiber technology to the city, and we look forward to working with city officials as we establish ourselves as a trusted local service provider.”
The rest of the county — outside of the city limits — may also be in store for high-speed internet.
Socorro County Executive Michael Hawkes confirmed that research is underway to find the best internet service provider that can provide the coverage, but that’s only part of the process.
“In the city, TDS will have a concentrated service area,” Hawkes said. “It’s very different for the county. We are the largest county in the state and the cost per mile is much higher. »
“At this time, we are waiting for the state to release the entire application process,” he said. “We are still holding meetings, meeting with the state purchasing office and meeting with representatives of other ISPs.”