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5 Puerto Rico-based telecom providers apply for FCC funding

The Federal Communications Commission confirmed that five Puerto Rico-based telecommunications service providers have filed applications to receive funding from the “Uniendo a Puerto Rico” pool, which has $504.7 million available during a 10-year period to support fixed broadband projects.

In a notice, the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureu confirmed it received complete applications from: Aeronet Wireless Broadband LLC; Critical Hub Networks Inc.; Data@ccess Communication Inc.; Liberty Communications of Puerto Rico; and Puerto Rico Telephone Company Inc., which does business as Claro Puerto Rico.

The deadline to submit an application was Sept. 3, as this media outlet reported. By submitting a complete application, the companies move to the next phase, which is the competitive proposal process. However, the federal regulatory agency did not disclose future deadlines.

In the notice, the FCC also disclosed that two companies — Broadband VI, LLC and Virgin Islands Telephone Co., which does business as Viya — also submitted applications to participate in the  Connect USVI Fund.

Three years ago, communications infrastructure on the islands was devastated by Hurricanes Irma and María. The FCC responded, among other steps, by creating the “Uniendo a Puerto Rico Fund” and the “Connect USVI Fund.”  

A year ago, the FCC approved $950 million in funding to improve, expand, and harden communications networks in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

In an open meeting in September 2019, the FCC voted to allocate to Puerto Rico carriers more than $500 million over 10 years in fixed broadband support and more than $250 million over three years in mobile broadband support. 

In the USVI, the FCC allocated more than $180 million over 10 years in support for fixed networks, and $4 million over three years for mobile networks.

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 29 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other segments of Puerto Rico’s economy.

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