Three years after receiving $31.6 million from the Federal Communications Commission to provide new broadband access to more than 40,000 homes in Puerto Rico, Claro President Enrique Ortiz de Montellano confirmed Wednesday the project has been completed.
The award came from the FCC’s Connect America Fund, which is part of the regulator’s initiative to deliver broadband access to rural communities.
“We finished building the network to include the 40,000 homes and people are slowly looking for availability and connecting,” Ortiz de Montellano said. “At the time, the FCC required at least 4Mbps broadband speeds, but now it’s 10Mbps. We added more along the way, so it may be more than the required minimum.”
Although no announcement has been made, the telecommunications executive ventured to say that it is likely that the FCC will open more funding windows in the future, as it seeks to pursue its goal of making broadband available to all populations.
“I see the United States and the FCC competing a lot with Korea and China, to see how they can deliver broadband to the people,” he said. “It’s evident that the FCC wants to make connection points available as quickly as possible.”
On Wednesday, Ortiz de Montellano offered a rundown of Claro’s achievements in 2016, including plans to pump $370 million into modernizing its network and expanding its fiber optic infrastructure to deliver higher speeds to fixed and mobile customers, as this media outlet reported in October.
The executive also emphasized upon Claro’s commitment to customer service in the last 12 months, as well as responsiveness to client requests for more self-service options.
“Increasingly, there is less time to go to stores to get service, so we’re empowering clients through the use of applications and phone-based customer service in response to that need,” Ortiz de Montellano said.
Claro also focused on expanding its coverage through in-building, which calls for the installation of infrastructure inside heavily-used facilities like hospitals, shopping centers, entertainment venues and office buildings, he said.
On Wednesday, the carrier announced its holiday advertising strategy, which called for a $1 million investment to promote the season’s products and services.