The cost of broadband service in Puerto Rico has dropped by more than 75 percent since 2009, when carriers charged between $40 and $65 per Megabit per second, to less than $10 per Mbps in 2012, said Carlo Marazzi, President of Critical Hub Networks, which released Monday the “Puerto Rico Bridge Initiative’s Project Summary & Achievements” report detailing the impact that its ARRA-funded broadband project has made in improving broadband services on the island.
The PRBI is Critical Hub Networks’ flagship project, which in April 2012 received $25.7 million in ARRA funds through the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to deliver fast, affordable broadband service to all of Puerto Rico.
“Broadband providers are investing and growing their networks, and this trend of faster speeds and lower cost per megabit will continue,” Marazzi said.
In addition to reduced broadband costs, a recent report from Connect Puerto Rico demonstrates how broadband providers are expanding their networks, he said.
“In 2010, there was no household in Puerto Rico with access to 25Mbps broadband access. Now, 48 percent of households have access at speeds over 25 percent and 24 percent of households can subscribe to 50Mbps broadband services,” Marazzi said. “We have a ways to go to reach the FCC goal of 100Mbps to the home, but Puerto Rico is now on its way and working to achieve this goal.”
The PRBI is moving forward this year on its mission to support economic development, competition and broadband expansion efforts in the island. So far, PRBI has entered into interconnection agreements with 17 broadband wholesale and “last mile” solution providers, and has established Puerto Rico’s first Internet Exchange Point (IXP). In addition, the PRBI is working with the Puerto Rico Broadband Task Force to increase broadband adoption on the island, Marazzi said.
“One of PRBI’s goals is to establish local peering at our IXP between all broadband providers – including traditional wired broadband, fixed wireless and mobile broadband services. As Puerto Rico’s broadband networks upgrade to be able to deliver faster speeds, local peering becomes essential,” Marazzi added. “Puerto Rico must ensure that its Internet networks are interconnected and autonomous, and can continue operating even if our communications off-island is interrupted.”
While the federal funding of the project is scheduled to end in March 2013, the PRBI’s success has ensured its sustainability and ongoing operations once funding ends, the executive noted.