Claro de Puerto Rico announced Thursday the deployment of fiber optic infrastructure that will enable it to offer consumers broadband Internet in speeds of up to 50 megabits per second. The fiber-to-the-home and fiber-to-the-curb initiatives carry an investment of $150 million, which the company began last year, company officials said.
To spur the adoption of the technology becomes, Claro will offer aggressive pricing and bonus to customers who migrate their numbers to the carrier.
“Claro once again leads the charge in the island’s technological advancement by investing in advanced infrastructure such as fiber to deliver a modern ‘super highway’ to Puerto Rico homes,” Claro President Enrique Ortíz de Montellano. “In this way we enable access to all the advanced services that require high bandwidth and stability while we offer the best prices.”
The network is already available in several areas of San Juan, Guaynabo, Caguas, Fajardo, Humacao and Mayagüez, where speeds reach the promised 50 Mbps. In other parts of the island, speeds fluctuate between one and 30 Mbps, while Claro continues its network expansion into highly populated areas, urban zones, as well as new housing and building projects.
Since taking over Claro, parent company América Móvil has spent an average of $250 million a year in infrastructure projects, Ortiz de Montellano told News is my Business Thursday.
By Christmas, the company expects to have available its much-anticipated Internet Protocol Television service as well as the first phase of its Long-Term Evolution platform.
IPTV has been some three years in the making, during which the company has been defending itself before the Telecommunications Regulatory Board and several courts against other telecom and cable service providers that raised concerns about the potential competitive harm of allowing the carrier to deploy islandwide paid television service.
But in February, it was awarded its cable franchise license and several weeks ago was cleared in court to move on with its project.
As for LTE, in May, América Móvil officials confirmed the upcoming deployment, which would put Claro on the same playing field as AT&T de Puerto Rico, T-Mobile and Open Mobile. With LTE, mobile phone customers are able to access faster transmission speeds for broadband and other services. Given that there are roughly 3.2 million mobile phones in use in Puerto Rico, carriers have said LTE will contribute toward bridging the island’s significant digital divide.
Claro fundraising for San Jorge Children’s Foundation
During a press conference Thursday, Claro officials unveiled the company’s latest social responsibility effort that aims to raise up to $10,000 for the San Jorge Children’s Foundation.
Through the “A ‘Like’ for our children,” Claro is encouraging people to go to facebook.com/clarotodo and click on the campaign. For each new click, Claro will donate .25 cents to the nonprofit dedicated to providing health and education services to critically ill children and youth getting treatment at the San Jorge Children’s Hospital in Santurce.
“Through our social initiatives we’ve reached thousands of people across the island with efforts in the fields of education, technology, sports, health, music and the arts,” Ortiz de Montellano said. “Today, we present a new drive for San Jorge Children’s Foundation patients through a campaign on our Facebook page. We are convinced that hundreds of people will join us in this noble deed.”
Foundation Executive Director Gilberto Guasp said treating and educating minor patients — many of which are medically indigent — is costly, as many procedures cost several thousand dollars per shot.
“For all of us at the Foundation is of great joy and pride that Claro validates the great commitment it has with the needs of the health and welfare of children in Puerto Rico,” he said. “With every ‘like’ we receive from eacj one of you, we’ll be touching the life and family of a child in need.”
Several mobile device manufacturers, namely Samsung, Nokia, Verykool, LG, HTC, Motorola and BlackBerry, have joined the fundraising effort.