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News Release         

Pete V. Domenici

United States Senator
For immediate Release Feb 1, 2000

WASHINGTON - US Senator Pete Domenici today expressed high hopes for a newly formed telecommunications panel charged with creating a high-tech infrastructure map for northern New Mexico, as part of a bold initiative to better prepare these rural regions for the information age.

The Northern New Mexico Telecommunications Advocacy Group (TAG) Team, formed by Domenici to complete the telecom audit, was today unveiled at the Santa Fe Roundhouse in a House Memorial recognizing the team and their mission.

"This is an exciting time in the information age, when technological advancements abound. But rural communities will miss the boat if they are not prepared or equipped to catch the technology wave," Domenici said. "The purpose of the TAG Team is to first map technology already in place, educate communities on the possibilities, and then deploy telecom infrastructure where it's needed. This will be an assessment of what we have and outline gaps in the system that must be filled."

The group, which consist of information technology leaders from state government, Los Alamos National Laboratories and private sector telecommunication and technology companies, plans to survey and audit all telecommunications and power infrastructure projects needed to make rural areas of New Mexico telecommunications ready.

"I believe this is one of the most extensive high-tech mapping ventures of its kind in the Southwest." Domenici said. "The mission of the TAG Team is based on one overarching principle, which is that the most effective way to deploy telecommunications infrastructure is for private industry and government to work together."

The lawmaker said the group also plans to implement an aggressive consumer education program for various communities within the project boundaries, and craft and support legislation to promote infrastructure sharing where appropriations between state government and the private sector.

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