Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai will visit Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands 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, the agency confirmed.
He will be accompanied by members of the Commission’s Hurricane Recovery Task Force.
This serves as a follow-up to his trip to Puerto Rico last November. It is part of the Commission’s ongoing effort to learn lessons from last year’s hurricane season and apply those lessons to future disasters while continuing to support the ongoing recovery.
“The FCC remains committed to supporting recovery efforts and helping to restore, and in some cases rebuild, communications networks as quickly as possible,” said Chairman Pai.
“I look forward to leading a team to Puerto Rico and the USVI to get a firsthand assessment of the situation on the ground,” he said. “It’s important to learn what has worked well and what could be done better — and to apply those lessons to future storms.”
The Commission has taken a number of actions in the aftermath of last year’s hurricanes. In addition to providing public information on network outage conditions and sending staff to the islands to monitor and aid recovery efforts, the Commission:
- Advanced the territories nearly $77 million in universal service funding to help recovery;
- Accelerated the post-incentive auction transition to support Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Island broadcasters, 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.