PENASCO, N.M. -- Since I first moved to this mountain valley in 2007, there's been a veritable explosion of telecommunications technology here. Back then, there was no DSL, no fixed wireless access points, and, most notably, no cell phone service in the area.
Penasco is situated along a route called the "High Road to Taos" -- more than 60 miles of scenic, high-altitude back roads that connect Taos and Santa Fe. Despite the higher elevation, there were few spots along the entire route where you could place a call before 2009.
That's when, after a decade of trying, the people of Picuris Pueblo managed to partner with Commnet Wireless, a cellular wholesale provider, to install cell infrastructure on an existing TV translator tower -- no small task for one of the smallest Indian reservations in the region, and one with few resources. Drive away from Penasco in any direction, and you'll find yourself traveling over one of four mountain passes to the next major town, so as you can imagine, even basic cell service here was a small revolution.
But it still hasn't helped me to realize my dream of true broadband Internet access at my home. … Read more