Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai announced that the FCC will dedicatae $954 million toward improving connectivity in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Puerto Rico will benefit from a $750 million fund called Uniendo a Puerto Rico (Bringing Puerto Rico Together). The goal is to restore telecommunications access and to support extended broadband across the Island.
Alphabet’s Project Loon, from Google’s new technology company, brought internet service to 200,000 people in Puerto Rico. Pai’s office made this possible by expediting permissions.
Puerto Rico is hoping to rebuild its infrastructure with current technology, not just to bring it back to the obsolete and uncertain conditions in place before Hurricane Maria. With more hurricanes in its future, Puerto Rico has to have a stronger system in place.
The new funding from the FCC is intended to be part of that effort.
“I publicly committed to ‘thinking creatively and doing proactively to help restore networks on the island.’ The plan I’ve proposed today would deliver on that commitment and extend that vision even further,” says Pai in a press release. “With the 2018 hurricane season less than three months away, we need to take bold and decisive action. I hope that my fellow commissioners will join me in supporting the creation of the Uniendo a Puerto Rico Fund and Connect USVI Fund.”
Short, medium, and long-term funding are included in the plan, with the overall plan of making broadband available to all of Puerto Rico. Pai, who is currently visiting the two territories, is asking that upcoming funds not be affected by previous funds. This will require the FCC not to offset any previous funding against these new funds.