The entire island of Puerto Rico will gain access to high-speed broadband through a special fund. All locations will have speeds of at least 100 Mbps. Almost a third of those will see speeds of at least 1 Gbps, according to the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau.
Two winning applicants in the Uniendo a Puerto Rico Stage 2 Competitive Process submitted bids for $127.1 million in funding over 10 years. The money covers more than 1.2 million locations through a competitive process that awarded support for fixed voice and broadband services. Winning bids were based on price and network performance, including speed, latency, usage allowance, and resiliency. Liberty Communications has committed to offering service to over 914,000 locations, and Puerto Rico Telephone Company will offer service to at least 308,000 locations.
Liberty Communications won approximately $71.54 million to provide high-speed broadband access to all locations in 43 of Puerto Rico’s 78 municipios (roughly equivalent to counties). Puerto Rico Telephone Company won approximately $55.56 million to provide the service to all locations in the other 35 municipios.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai called the results “incredible” and said the money will help bring modern, resilient broadband service to Puerto Rico. “As most people know, the island has suffered so much devastation to communications infrastructure from hurricanes in recent years, and even before that, connectivity was a challenge for many. Our decisive action to enable the deployment of resilient, next-generation broadband networks throughout Puerto Rico reflects our determination to close the digital divide.”
Winning applicants will be able to receive funding after completing the Commission’s remaining steps for authorizing high-cost support.