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Gov’t selects 10 telecom co’s for 1st phase of Smart Island project

The first phase of Puerto Rico’s broadband deployment program is officially underway with the selection of 10 companies that will build out projects to provide energy resilience to internet and telecom services throughout the island. This is part of the initiative known as Smart Island.

For the first phase, Gov. Pedro Pierluisi — along with Enrique Völckers-Nin, director of the Puerto Rico Broadband Program; Broadband Committee Chair Juan Carlos Blanco; and Antonio Ramos-Guardiola, the government’s chief technology officer — announced the allocation of $15 million.

The funds will be divided among the providers to purchase electric generators, solar panels and batteries to ensure uninterrupted service during emergencies. The chosen projects are for rapid implementation, to provide alternative energy backup for telecom infrastructure to minimize the loss of internet and connectivity on the island.

The companies selected include: AeroNet, awarded $2 million for diesel generators; Claro, with $2.9 million for generators, batteries and a monitoring system (location security); DM Wireless, with $554,174 for a solar system and batteries; Innovatel, allocated $1.1 million for generators; IT Auditors, with $259,420 for generators, a solar system and batteries; Liberty, with $3.5 million for batteries and generators; Neptuno, with $2 million for a solar system and generators; Sky Net, awarded $212,035 for a solar system and generators; VP Net, with $1.4 million for a solar system and generators; and World Net, with $1.1 million for batteries, generators and upgrades and redundancy of emergency equipment.

The companies will be responsible for the implementation and operation of monitoring and control systems so they can remotely ensure continuity of the energy infrastructure and detect any issues before service interruptions occur.

They will also be responsible for the development and execution of training for technical personnel in charge of operating and maintaining the resilient energy infrastructure, along with designing and implementing security measures at the telecom facilities, among other details.

“The proponents were chosen following an analysis of the proposals we received after announcing a request for proposals last May,” Völckers-Nin said. “These providers included details on the design and installation of projects that can provide uninterrupted power to telecom facilities, as well as their fuel storage and distribution systems with a minimum 10-day continuous operation capacity.”

Pierluisi confirmed the government’s Resilient and Robust Internet Program has a $30 million budget.

“For my administration, it is crucial to prioritize the development of energy and resilient infrastructure, which is consistent with our public energy policy. It is essential that the energy and telecommunications networks can withstand the challenges that arise, with the aim of keeping our communities connected, informed and safe,” he added.

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