Vexus Fiber to Bring Fiber Optic Internet Service to Santa Fe | Business
A Lubbock, Texas-based internet service provider is offering to line Santa Fe and Albuquerque with 10-gigabit fiber-optic high-speed internet service throughout the city.
Vexus Fiber’s application for a telecommunications franchise license was accepted in Santa Fe and goes through three city committees before reaching city council, potentially on December 8.
Vexus wants to start installing fiber in April, provide service to the first neighborhood by summer, and roll out service across Santa Fe in 2024-25, CEO Jim Gleason said.
Internet service providers in Santa Fe typically offer much more downstream capacity – downloading data – than upstream capacity, where downloading data can take hours rather than minutes.
“Upstream is a challenge here,” said Rich Brown, the city’s director of economic development.
Gleason said that Vexus will have equal upstream and downstream bandwidth.
Gleason estimates that they will eventually have 13,000 to 15,000 customers in Santa Fe and 80,000 to 90,000 customers in Albuquerque. These would mark Vexus’ entry into New Mexico, with the company now serving 60,000 customers in 28 mostly small West Texas cities and nine Louisiana cities east of Baton Rouge and the other side of Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans.
“We are going to build a whole new fiber optic network [in Santa Fe]”Gleason said.” We are building a network that will stand the test of time. Many networks have been upgraded many times over the years. We believe that a whole new network is needed over the next 25 years. .
Vexus has been in expansion mode since the management team of Vast Broadband in South Dakota and Southwestern Minnesota acquired NTS Communications from Lubbock in 2019 and renamed it Vexus Fiber. The Vast team that acquired NTS has since sold Vast.
Gleason said Vexus added 10 cities in Texas and other cities around Hammond in Louisiana. Vexus also built the fiber optic systems in the Texas towns served by the NTS at Abilene, Amarillo, Wichita Falls, Lubbock and Midland.
Most of the towns served by Vexus have fewer than 10,000 residents and are in the greater Lubbock area, with a few in the vicinity of Wichita Falls, Abilene and Amarillo.
Vexus started looking west to New Mexico a year ago and visited Santa Fe and Albuquerque six months ago, Gleason said.
“It seemed like what we’re doing,” Gleason said. “We really like the diversity of the economy. We also like the prospects for growth.
Albuquerque would become the largest city in the Vexus.
Santa Fe Mayor Alan Webber once met with representatives of Vexus.
“There are a lot of new growths with technology companies that would benefit from high-speed connections,” Webber said in an interview. “They want to make connections for more people working from home.”
Webber said a key to Santa Fe’s future is reliable and fast broadband.
“This network is expected to play an important role in charting the course of the future, providing cutting-edge technology that will improve our quality of life, foster entrepreneurship and promote economic diversification,” Webber said in a press release.
Gleason said Vexus, with its fiber optic system, likes to compete with telephone and cable companies with Internet service. In Lubbock, he said, Vexus is the third largest Internet service provider behind telephone providers AT&T and cable Suddenlink, and in Santa Fe, the main competitor is Comcast and CenturyLink.
Brown, the director of economic development, believes the Vexus service, not bundled with cable or phone service, would be ideal for people now working from home, the needs of young people, the emerging tech sector and the film industry.
“They bring broadband to the whole city,” Brown said. “There are people who don’t have broadband. There are places on the south side without broadband. “
Vexus fiber would be available anywhere within the city limits of Santa Fe, Gleason said.
“We will assess where we go beyond the city limits,” said Gleason, referring to the foothills to the north and east. “Some we’ll be able to build, some won’t.”
Vexus aims to install aerial or underground optical fibers along the existing rights-of-way of public services.
NMSurf, a fixed wireless internet service provider based in Santa Fe, has 4,500 customers in an area bounded by Española, Las Vegas, Edgewood and Albuquerque.
“We welcome the competition,” said owner Albert Catanach. “Having more choice is a wonderful thing. Fiber optics is a good thing, but it’s quite an expensive thing to do. I applaud them if they are able to do it.
Vexus’ modus operandi has been to serve the small and very small communities surrounding its large cities. For now, the company is focused on Santa Fe and Albuquerque proper.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if we did the same [in small towns around Santa Fe and Albuquerque]”Gleason said.
Correction: A previous version of this story included an incorrect number of Santa Fe-based NMSurf clients in an area bounded by Española, Las Vegas, Edgewood, and Albuquerque. The company has 4,500 customers in this region.