Gov’t, Liberty partner to offer free WiFi to PR towns
Liberty Puerto Rico and the government announced Wednesday an alliance through which the private company will provide free WiFi Internet to residents in towns with limited internet access.
Through the “Liberty WiFi Tour,” the company will deliver along with WiFi, health, entertainment and other types of services to various additional municipalities.
Liberty’s WiFi tour begins in Corozal’s public plaza on Friday and moves on to Toa Baja’s Barrio Pajaros Oct. 23. Other stops on the tour include Comerío’s public plaza Oct. 24, Naranjito’s public plaza Oct. 25, Barranquitas’s Pavilion next to the City Hall Oct. 26 and Naguabo Oct. 27. All visits will take place for one day in each town from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. More municipalities will continue to be added on a weekly basis, company officials said.
During this tour, Liberty will visit these municipalities driving three mobile units that are used for first aid communication efforts after a natural disaster.
These units are equipped with a satellite antenna that transmits in a Ku Band frequency and provides Internet speeds of 5 to 10 Mbps for download and 1 to 2 Mbps for uploads.
“We know there are many communities that lack reliable communication services and, with these units, we can provide this essential service where it is needed,” said Gabriel Palerm, vice president of sales, marketing and media of Liberty Puerto Rico.
“The internet speeds this service provides are for primary communications needs such as checking and sending e-mails, getting on the Internet to find information and contacting loved ones. They may also fill out their FEMA aid applications,” Palerm added.
As part of this partnership, Liberty is coordinating the tour with the Puerto Rico Telecommunications Regulatory Board and the Government of Puerto Rico. In this collaboration, the TRB determined which municipalities have the greatest telecommunications needs.
The government, for its part, led outreach efforts with the mayors of these municipalities and coordinated the tour logistics. In addition, as part of this initiative, several government agencies will join the tour and provide their services.
“Thanks to the collaboration of telecommunication companies and the joint efforts between them, we will be restoring communication throughout the island. It will take time, effort and a large investment from the companies to take it to its optimum level, but little by little, we will eliminate obstacles to achieve a complete recovery in our communications,” said Board President Sandra Torres.
“By joining this initiative, we are connecting the residents of these communities with their loved ones, making available the services they are getting electronically and restoring their access to internet so they can carry out basic communication tasks during this recovery stage,” Torres said.
Meanwhile, Ramón L. Rosario Cortés, secretary of Public Affairs and Public Policy of Puerto Rico thanked Liberty for delivering WiFi to communities that are still dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane María.
“The governor thanks the help of entities like Liberty in the process of making Puerto Rico stronger than ever,” he said. “This is a good example of how public agencies and private enterprises can work together to achieve an important goal: to provide connectivity to a population that is in great need of this service.”.
Liberty’s WiFi tour is presented by GFR Media and Univision. Other collaborating entities that will volunteer their services during the tour include Bahía Urbana, Autogrupo 65, First Bank, World Central Kitchen, Intelsat, Kymeta y Erwin Hymer Group North American, Inc.
These sponsors will donate their time and services during the tour. World Central Kitchen will be preparing hot meals on site. Bahía Urbana will offer free entertainment along with the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture during the entire tour and every Saturday at Bahía Urbana.
“For the Puerto Rican Institute of Culture and the government of Puerto Rico, it is imperative to supply all human needs of all Puerto Ricans, including the emotional ones. That’s why we will have arts and culture in our Puerto Rico’s public plazas, supplying happiness through our culture,” said Carlos R. Ruiz Cortés, executive director of the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture.
Kymeta supplied the satellite antennas and Intelsat provided Internet connectivity. Intelsat is a provider of satellite-based data solutions offering internet via satellite connectivity to various organizations. Kymeta offers the world’s only commercially-viable electronically-scanning satellite antennas and terminals. Erwin Hymer Group lent one of the three vehicles used during the tour.
Government agencies joining this initiative include the governor’s Office, the House and Senate, the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture, the Puerto Rico Department of Family Affairs, the University of Puerto Rico’s School of Medical Sciences, and the Department of Consumer Affairs.