On Monday, the FCC’s Wireless Competition Board announced that newly allocated financing part of Stage Two of the Uniendo a Puerto Rico fund will ensure that every location across Puerto Rico will have access to broadband internet with download speeds of at least 100 Mbps, with one-third of the territory getting 1 Gbps internet.
The milestone will come from $127.1 million in funding the FCC will provide over 10 years to two firms: Liberty Communications and Claro Puerto Rico. Of that $127.1 million, $71.54 will go to Liberty Communications, which will take care of connecting 43 of Puerto Rico’s 78 municipios — the equivalent to counties on the mainland. The remaining $55.56 million will help Claro build out broadband connections in the other 35 municipios. All told, the approximately 1.2 million places across the territory will get some form of high-speed broadband access through the funding.
In a previous stage of Uniendo a Puerto Rico fund announced in June, the FCC allocated $237.9 million through to 2022 to help AT&T, T-Mobile and Claro build out LTE and 5G networks across Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.
The announcement is unlikely to satisfy everyone. Three years after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico in 2017, the territory is still recovering from the natural disaster, and the coronavirus pandemic has highlighted just how desperate the need for broadband internet access is across the territory. Puerto Ricans need immediate help, not a couple of years from now.