Rural Broadband Challenges and Hope for the Future


The nation’s broadband infrastructure is spotty, especially in rural states like New Mexico, but the pandemic might be the crisis to change that forever.

THOREAU—Even when clouds blanket the expansive skies of western New Mexico, the red sandstone of Owl Springs Mesa behind Sadie Perry’s home stands out. Every morning before she wakes the kids, Perry steps outside for a moment of quiet and prayer.

“I think that’s the only thing that keeps me going, is praying,” she said.

An enrolled tribal member, Perry lives in the southeast corner of the Navajo Nation on a property with three buildings, two horses and 11 family members, including her six grandsons and one of her daughters, who is ailing. When the coronavirus began sweeping across the world last year, Perry quickly loaded up on pandemic supplies, including food to feed her family, diesel to power her generator and water to fill her tank.

But there is one essential that has always been scarce in this part of the country and that she couldn’t stock up on: broadband access.

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