A Texas-based telecommunications company has named an executive to oversee its expansion to and operations in New Mexico. The search for locations could begin as soon as this week.

Vexus Fiber, which currently operates networks in the Texas cities of Lubbock, Amarillo, Wichita Falls and Abilene, has named Kevin Folk as its regional vice president of operations for New Mexico.

Folk, who began his career in telecommunications as part of the U.S. Air Force, started in the role on May 23, according to Vexus Fiber spokesman Kyle Alcorn.

With family ties in Los Alamos and Albuquerque, Folk spent time in New Mexico as a child, according to a Vexus news release. As a member of the Air Force, he had orders to report to Kirtland Air Force Base but subsequently received an assignment to report to the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

“The need for reliable high-speed internet is continuing to grow, and it is important to have companies like Vexus who are committed to growing and building a future-proof multi-gigabit 100% fiber network that will keep up with the demand and provide value to the community,” Folk said in a prepared statement.

Vexus, which also operates in Louisana, has big ambitions for New Mexico, president and CEO Jim Gleason told Albuquerque Business First. Those plans include designing what it calls a hub site, where it will store its electronics and other infrastructure, warehouse space and office space. Securing the real estate will allow Vexus to move forward with previously announced projects slated for Santa Fe and Albuquerque.

In announcing the plans to expand into Albuquerque, Gleason said the company will invest a total of $250 million into network infrastructure and anticipated creating 150 jobs.

The company also has Las Cruces in its sights, and Gleason said they’ve had some initial conversations with city representatives.

“We think that in a lot of cases New Mexico gets overlooked, and probably a little bit because of the population size of the state,” he said.

There’s certainly a need for broadband access in the Land of Enchantment. According to 2019 U.S. Census data, New Mexico ranks above only Mississippi in terms of internet access.

Gleason said he estimated that construction of the fiber network would begin in late July in Santa Fe, with consumer access available sometime between late September and mid-October.

“Albuquerque is probably 45 days behind that timeline,” he said.

Vexus recently merged with MetroNet, a fiber broadband provider based in Evansville, Indiana, that has a presence in the Midwest and the southeastern U.S. The two companies shared a common investor — Oak Hill Capital Partners, located in Connecticut, New York and California.

Vexus, formerly called NTS Communications, was previously acquired by Vast Broadband, which announced the close of the deal in September 2019. Oak Hill Capital Partners and Pamlico Capital led a recapitalization of Vast Broadband and NTS, according to the Vast announcement.

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