FCC Sets Process for $691 Million Investment in Fixed Puerto Rico, USVI Networks
SAN JUAN — The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Wireline Competition Bureau established the procedures for its investment of up to $691.2 million over the next 10 years to support the deployment of advanced, hardened broadband and voice networks in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
This is the second stage in the agency’s rollout of support to Puerto Rico and the USVI. This stage allocates more than $500 million over 10 years in fixed broadband support through the Uniendo a Puerto Rico Fund. It also allocates more than $180 million over 10 years for fixed broadband support through the Connect USVI Fund.
The FCC explained in a press release Thursday that this funding stage will use a competitive process to award support for fixed voice and broadband services “based on the weighting of price and network performance, including speed, latency, and usage allowance.”
The commission said it will release an application form, instructions and announce the application deadline soon, following approval by the Office of Management and Budget. The FCC allocated up to $258.8 million for mobile service, including 5G, in the islands over a three-year period.
“Laying out this clear, manageable, and predictable process will ensure we get the best impact possible from this investment of funds. Bridging the digital divide is the agency’s top priority under Chairman Ajit Pai and we’ve put a special emphasis on helping connect Americans in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands,” Kris Monteith, chief of the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau, said in Thursday’s release.
“This investment will help ensure that those living in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands will have access to and benefit from the same high-speed broadband services that residents of the mainland United States enjoy,” the release adds.
The Public Notice from the Wireline Competition Bureau laying out these procedures is available at: https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DA-20-133A1.pdf