The Puerto Rico Telecommunications Bureau and the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority signed an agreement through which they will work with service providers to expedite the restoration of services in the wake of an emergency.
The agreement establishes a mechanism that assigns priority levels to energizing critical telecommunications facilities divided into three timeframes — between 24 and 48 hours, 72 and 96 hours and 120 and 144 hours.
The schedule aims to avoid the prolonged collapse of telecom services that the island experienced after the brunt of Hurricane María in September 2017.
“The telecommunications sector plays a vital role in Puerto Rico’s transformation and reconstruction and is part of one of the pillars of the island’s socio-economic development to advance access and better use of technology to serve the people,” Gov. Ricardo Rosselló said during the signing of the agreement.
“Strengthening telecommunications is critical to increasing the scope of its impact at all levels, which also includes education, access to information, emergency response and community empowerment,” he said.
Sandra Torres-López, president of the Telecommunications Bureau known as NET for its initials in Spanish, said the agreement recognizes that the energy and telecom are an integral and essential component of the economy, which underlies the operations of all companies, public safety organizations and the government.
She also emphasized the importance of the telecom sector in Puerto Rico’s recovery and transformation during the emergency response.
“As an essential service, telecoms not only keep us connected to the world, but are the platform through which the scope and impact of all socio-economic sectors on the island increases,” said Torres-López.
Meanwhile, PREPA deputy executive director Jaime A. López, said “we recognize the importance of telcom as critical infrastructure. As such, this agreement establishes specific steps and actions so that PREPA proactively suppots, telecommunications recovery after an emergency.”
A second agreement was signed between NET and the Telecommunications Industry Emergency Management Committee, to combine efforts between public and private entities to restore and protect telecom and cable television infrastructure and meet communication priorities arising from disasters or emergencies.
The agreements were signed during the first on the Telecom Preparation Conference, sponsored by the NET. At the event, major telecommunications companies presented state of the status of the island’s infrastructure two years after the passage of Hurricanes Irma and María, as well as emergency response plans.