Sacred Winds Continuing to Expand
CIBOLA COUNTY – Early last year, Sacred Wind Communications provided private broadband Internet access to Milan residents and later in the year offered the same great deal to Grants residents. The company now has communication towers in both municipalities. The company is now looking at expanding some more.
Sacred Wind Communications started in December 2006 on Navajo Land in New Mexico and Arizona.
Regulated by the Public Regulations Commission, the company’s main mission was to provide broadband to specifics areas. “We now offer the best telephone service and broadband speed anywhere on Navajo Land in New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah,” said Sacred Wind CEO John Badal. “We pretty much completed our mission on Navajo Land.”
As the demand for high-speed Internet is greater than ever, the company decided last year to expand outside the regulatory area and Milan and Grants residents were first to benefit. “We are now providing broadband (high-speed) access to neighboring communities to Navajo territory,” explained Badal.
Sacred Wind started several years ago on a USDA loan valued at $55 million for rural telephone and electric companies. Last year, another $13.8 million USDA loan was provided to the company to improve the broadband network on Navajo land.
“We are using our revenues to expand outside the regulated territory,” said Badal, “which involves Milan and Grants. We’ve found it to be very successful.”
Sacred Wind now says they are the largest broadband provider in Milan and Grants, “And speeds are far higher than any other company can provide,” said Badal. “Downolad capacity, or speeds, enable customers to send or retrieve files, information and videos.”
The company’s home package starts at $49.95. The lowest speed is five megs, while the fasted is 20 megs. Business packages are also available. Badal was proud to announce that the company recently added VOIP (voice over the internet) service. “It’s cheaper than regular phone service and it is offered to businesses as well.”
In explaining how Sacred Wind started in Cibola County, Badal said the Cibola Communities Economic Development Foundation and the state Department of Information Technologies held a conference in Grants in 2013 during which the issue of lack of broadband throughout the county was a primary topic. Village of Milan manager Marcella Sandoval attended the conference.
While other companies reportedly attended the conference, only Sacred Wind offered a solution to the delivery of broadband to area. Sacred Wind offered a USDA grant. After a year, Sacred Wind Communications won a Request for Proposal (RFP) and within a few months Milan’s Village Hall, police department, courthouse, computer center, and industrial park were all connected to broadband high-speed internet access. Milan’s manager said she is “very” pleased with Sacred Wind’s service. The privately owned company based in Yah Tah Hey is now targeting Bluewater Village in its next expansion, and other small villages for this year and next. Badal said the owners consist of several investors in New Mexico.
“Plans are for employees to become part owners of the company,” said Badal.
Overall, the company currently has 45 employees, including CEO Badal.