The heads of the Puerto Rico Telecommunications Regulatory Board and the Federal Communications Commission met last week to coordinate a joint agenda to promote faster and better access to broadband communications services on the island, through a $4 million annual allocation.
“The FCC is currently completing the final stages that will transform the Lifeline–Universal Service Fund into a program that will promote access and adoption of wired and wireless broadband services,” said TRB Chairman Javier Rúa-Jovet. “This project will consist of a federal funding allocation of at least $4 million annually.”
The funds will focus on facilitating access to high speed wireline and wireless Internet. In the short to mid-term, Lifeline/Broad will result in monthly savings of at least $10 for households qualified for this program, he said.
“The FCC is set to vote on this plan by spring’s end and we have made sure that Puerto Rico’s needs and priorities are on the record and taken into account by FCC staff and Commissioners,” said Rúa-Jovet following his meeting with FCC Chairman Thomas Wheeler and his technical team to coordinate the joint agenda for this initiative.
Since 2014, the TRB has developed comprehensive initiatives as part of the agency’s “PAIS BandaAncha” platform, to improve consumers’ access and adoption of technology and advanced telecommunications services.
Programs such as “TecnoAbuelos” have educated thousands of senior citizens seeking to learn proper use of mobile phones and tablets as part of a digital technology literacy immersion program.
Other initiatives include the installation and provision of WiFi services and internet centers in public areas and maximizing access to State infrastructure available for deployment of fiber optic networks in San Juan (known as “Vía Digital.”)
“The FCC acknowledges our efforts in Puerto Rico and with increased Federal/State collaboration, we will continue to expand and improve services to benefit all of our constituents,” Rúa-Jovet said.