Internet Problems Stunting Growth in Jal

Internet Problems Stunting Growth in Jal

JAL, NM. (KWES) - Businesses in the small town of Jal, New Mexico, are hurting. City officials say internet problems are to blame. The city manager says the internet problem is so extreme it's turning away companies that are considering making Jal a location. Now, officials are frustrated and say the provider refuses to help them fix the issue.

"We asked the district manager of Windstream, who is the essential service provider for this area, to come before the city council and to give a report and for us to be able to inquire about broadband," said Bob Gallagher, City Manager of Jal.

The response left officials shocked.

"You used the terminology when you and I talked 'not motivated' and my terminology is he just blew us off," said Gallagher.

He says it's going to take nearly $2 million to bring in the internet service the town thrives on. That was something the internet provider refused to bring to the table.

"There's another company in Hobbs that does the same thing and is interested in partnering with the city but federal government regulations don't allow that," said Gallagher.

So now they plan to look for funding through a grant. Officials say without a solution, the town will see a dramatic decline.

"It absolutely stunts any economic development or any economic growth that we want to do," said Gallagher.

"We feel it through the whole county. There's been a lot of companies that I think we could build on if we had good quality internet service," said Greg Fulfer, chairman of the Lea County Commissioners Board.