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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Feds approve Puerto Rico’s Digital Equity Plan

Enrique Völckers-Nin

By The Star Staff

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has approved Puerto Rico’s Digital Equity Plan, La Fortaleza Assistant Secretary for Government Innovation, Information, Data and Technology Enrique Völckers-Nin said Tuesday.

“Since receiving a Digital Equity Act planning grant in September 2022, Gov. Pierluisi’s administration has been working with communities across Puerto Rico to develop our Digital Equity Plan, which NTIA officially approved this week,” the official said in a written statement. “With this approval, which represents a great achievement for the Smart Island program, Puerto Rico will have access to the Digital Equity Capacity Grant, which we estimate will be around $14 million.”

The approved plan, PR Vol. 1, is under the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) funding program, established by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), which provides earmarked funds to build high-speed internet infrastructure where needed, while also supporting job training. It allocates aid to provide necessary equipment and boosts local associations so that everyone can be connected on the network. It also prioritizes underserved locations that don’t have access to the internet or only have access to less than 25/3 Mbps and unattended locations that only have access to less than 100/20 Mbps.

The Digital Equity Plan is a planning and implementation program that promotes digital equality, supports digital inclusion activities for territories’ efforts related to residents’ broadband adoption. It aims to ensure that all communities can access and use reliable and affordable high-speed internet to meet their needs and improve their lives.

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