The San Juan Daily Star
FCC extends efforts to bolster communication infrastructure in PR, USVI
By The Star Staff
The Federal Communications Commission has adopted an order that continues efforts to bolster mobile and fixed voice and broadband services throughout Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands by ensuring universal service support will go to harden and strengthen networks as part of the Bringing Puerto Rico Together Fund and the Connect USVI Fund.
“These programs have helped make tremendous progress toward restoring networks battered by Hurricanes Maria and Irma in 2017,” said FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. “The job is not done, as we learned from the devastation of recent hurricanes like Hurricane Fiona in 2022. Today’s action will support ongoing work to restore, harden, and expand critical communications infrastructure to keep communities connected and protected against future extreme weather events.”
Current recipients of mobile support have the opportunity to receive a portion of their current support for up to 24 months. The support must be used to strengthen 4G LTE or 5G-NR networks. In addition, while new high-cost supported networks are being deployed, the FCC is extending, until Dec. 31, 2025, the phase-down of fixed support in areas where incumbents did not win competitive Stage 2 fixed funding. Providers may only use the support for redundancy and resiliency measures to help ensure critical telecommunications networks remain operational during times of disasters and must submit a spending plan on how the funding will be used.
The FCC also denied an application for review from the Puerto Rico Telephone Company challenging the awarding of support for select areas in Stage 2 of the Bringing Puerto Rico Together Fund.