FCC chairman to visit Puerto Rico, USVI in March
SAN JUAN — According to a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) release, Chairman Ajit Pai will visit Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) from March 7–10 to meet with local leaders and communications service providers and “review the status of communications restoration efforts” after the 2017 hurricane season.
Pai visited the island in November and is returning with members of the FCC’s Hurricane Recovery Task Force to “learn lessons from last year’s hurricane season and apply those lessons to future disasters,” reads the agency’s release.
“The FCC remains committed to supporting recovery efforts and helping to restore, and in some cases rebuild, communications networks as quickly as possible,” Pai says in written announcement. “I look forward to leading a team to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to get a firsthand assessment of the situation on the ground. It’s important to learn what has worked well and what could be done better—and to apply those lessons to future storms.”
The FCC said that among the actions it has taken in the aftermath of last year’s hurricanes, it “advanced nearly $77 million in universal service funding,” or “seven-months’ worth of support” to help the recovery; and “accelerated the post-incentive auction transition” for Puerto Rico and USVI broadcasters.
The release adds that the agency “granted temporary waivers of Lifeline’s recertification rules, expedited approval of an experimental license for Alphabet’s Project Loon to provide Internet access to residents, approved targeted and flexible E-Rate support to help restore connectivity of schools and libraries, and granted more than 500 waivers and requests for Special Temporary Authority (STA) to help re-establish communications in hurricane-affected areas.”