Immediate loading times. Unlimited bandwidth and streaming capacity. Blitz-speed uploads. Unprecedented reliability of connection. All of these features and more are the perks of connecting to the internet through fiber optic cables, something that is becoming more and more available to businesses and residents in Santa Fe.

"Fiber is the future of the internet," says Alisha Catanach, who works in marketing and sales for NMSurf. On Monday, the local company announced that they have completed installation of a cable that runs from the intersection of Fourth Street and Cerrillos Road down Cerrillos to Siler Road, then to Agua Fría Street. The cable will make fiber broadband access available to over 350 businesses.

Two recently built upscale residential developments, Casas de San Juan and Los Caminitos, both located north of Santa Fe, are the only residential neighborhoods in Santa Fe where connection through fiber optic networks available to all homeowners. Cyber Mesa, the local company that installed the networks, says that they are the first of their kind in the city.

Tom Simon of Westgate properties says that copper phone lines, which are the traditional method for connecting residences to the internet, are limited in capacity for speed, downloads and uploads. Fiber optic cables eliminate these restrictions.

Photo courtesy Alisha Catanach, NMSurf
Photo courtesy Alisha Catanach, NMSurf | Courtesy NMSurf

Simon tells SFR the fiber optic cables were relatively easy to install for the neighborhoods because the developers had already approved the installation of new natural gas lines, and they were able to simultaneously lay down fiber optic cables along the same lines. He says that fiber optic access raises property values and is attractive to new homeowners.

Some businesses in Santa Fe also have access to fiber optic networks in the downtown Railyard district, where Cyber Mesa installed a 2-mile section of fiber optic cable to improve the speed, price and availability of internet access in the area. The city awarded the company $1 million to complete the project in 2015.

Local access to fiber optic cable connection is about to expand even further. In July, NMSurf will begin phase two of the fiber cable installation project on Cerrillos, extending the cable to the intersection with Airport Road. The company estimates that installing the extension will take about two months and will make fiber available to at least 500 additional businesses.

This is exciting news for businesses in Santa Fe, where internet has been notoriously unreliable in the past. In 2015, news outlets reported that service in the city was half the speed available in Albuquerque and other surrounding communities, though costs to customers were the same. But with local businesses like Cyber Mesa and NMSurf vying with national providers to take the lead on fiber, cutting-edge technologies are becoming more and more accessible.

"For years, progress stalled due to monopoly over services," says Jane Hill of Cyber Mesa. "That's just not the case anymore, which is a good thing for Santa Fe."