Luján Secures Upgraded Broadband Connection for Alamogordo-White Sands Regional Airport

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) announced internet service upgrades to the Interagency Dispatch Center at the Alamogordo-White Sands Regional Airport, a municipal airport that also serves as a critical staging location to several firefighting air tanker crews that serve New Mexico and the region. Last May, Senator Luján toured the airport and the dispatch center and saw the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) firefighting capabilities firsthand. He also witnessed USFS air tanker dispatchers encounter several issues due to an unreliable internet connection. Following this, the staff of Senator Luján worked diligently with the USFS over several months to shore up the internet connection at the facility. As a result of Senator Luján’s continued advocacy, USFS provided the airport with a new, more reliable internet service provider, beginning March 1, 2022.

See photos from the Senator’s Alamogordo-White Sands Regional Airport tour in May 2021 HERE.

“Reliable and redundant internet is vital for our dedicated first responders who serve rural areas, especially those who protect our public lands and communities from wildfires,” said Senator Luján. “Last year, during my visit to the Alamogordo-White Sands Regional Airport, USFS air tanker crews fought multiple wildfires throughout the West and I could see up close the multiple issues that fire managers faced because of an unreliable internet connection. That’s why I’m proud to have worked with federal land management agencies to secure a more dependable internet service provider for the courageous men and women managing firefighting operations in Alamogordo to protect New Mexico’s public lands.”

“Internet services at the Interagency Dispatch Center were previously unreliable, and created challenges maintaining critical communications with firefighters and other resources. The USDA Forest Service, Chief Information Office worked with local and national internet providers to install robust and reliable internet capabilities to ensure effective response to wildfires and other emergency incidents throughout New Mexico,” said Dr. Homer Wilkes, Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment at USDA.



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