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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Proliferation of high-speed internet service is focus of alliance-building event


Part of the conversation at the forum was aimed at the Federal Communications Commission’s Affordable Connectivity Program, which helps keep eligible families and households with internet payment difficulties connected through a subsidy and a discount on equipment.

By The Star Staff


With the purpose of establishing alliances in key areas to achieve high-speed internet throughout Puerto Rico, the island government’s Broadband Program and Assistant Secretariat for Innovation, Information, Data and Technology held an event recently at the headquarters of the Engineers & Land Surveyors Association in which various organizations participated.


Among the organizations on hand were internet providers, nonprofit entities and organizations related to connectivity and the internet, such as AARP, Internet Society, Data Access, Estudios Técnicos, Alianza de Telecomunicaciones, Aeronet, Mi Gente Grande, the University of Puerto Rico, Innovatel and Banco Popular.


“Our approach is to work collaboratively with both organizations and entities, as well as municipalities to be able to identify what and where the disadvantaged populations and areas are in which the program should focus at an early stage,” said Enrique Völckers Nin, the assistant secretary of innovation, information, data and technology. “Certainly, the goal is to ensure that the entire island has a broadband connection, but to achieve this, it is necessary to establish the strategic points that help us reduce the digital divide.”


Part of the conversation was aimed at the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which helps keep families and households with internet payment difficulties connected through a subsidy that provides a discount of up to $30 per month on the internet service bill in eligible households. Those households can also receive a discount of up to $100 on equipment (computer or tablet) purchased from a participating vendor.


The Puerto Rico Broadband Program is under the Office of Management and Budget and was created by Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia through Executive Order 2022-40. Its mission is to reduce the digital divide on the island with projects that improve citizens’ access to broadband connectivity and provide all residents with access to high-speed internet at affordable prices.


Völckers Nin noted that, thanks to the alliance with AARP and other entities, similar initiatives will continue to be developed in different parts of the island with the aim of acquiring a detailed understanding of the need throughout the island and being able to strengthen the infrastructure to guarantee that objectives and programmatic benefits reach all citizens.


Additional information on the Puerto Rico Broadband Program can be found at https://www.smartsiland.pr.gov.

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