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Blog // Connect Michigan

Puerto Rico Broadband Stakeholders Awarded FCC Funding to Expand Broadband Among Low-Income Citizens

By CPR Staff

Connect Puerto Rico is proud to announce that 3 proposals from Puerto Rico broadband stakeholders were awarded broadband adoption Lifeline pilot programs yesterday by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). T-Mobile, Puerto Rico Telephone Company, and PR Wireless were among the 14 winners of this pilot program and collectively will receive $3.67 million to help expand broadband among low-income Puerto Ricans.

The FCC Lifeline pilot projects will test how best to increase adoption of high-speed Internet among low-income Americans, a group with strikingly low adoption levels. This is particularly so across Puerto Rico, where only 35% of households subscribe to broadband, compared to approximately 67% across the US. Among low-income Puerto Ricans, that rate drops to only 19%.

“The Puerto Rico Broadband Taskforce congratulates the winners of this program and thanks the FCC for partnering with Puerto Rico stakeholders in this venture,” said Eduardo Diaz, chairman of the Puerto Rico Broadband Taskforce and the president of the Puerto Rico Internet Society. “These pilot programs will bring much-needed resources to the island, targeting the most vulnerable of our citizens who increasingly need broadband to partake in society, look for jobs, get medical services, or engage with government. Our economy will continue faltering if we leave behind low-income Puerto Ricans from the digital revolution underway. We are committed to help bridge the digital divide by expanding broadband among all citizens. We will work with the winning bidders to ensure these opportunities are fully leveraged.” 

Increasing broadband adoption is a key objective of the Puerto Rico Strategic Broadband Plan, released by the Puerto Rico Broadband Taskforce (http://www.prbroadband.org/) earlier this year. The Puerto Rico Strategic Broadband Plan includes a comprehensive analysis of the current state of broadband across the island, exploring both network availability and demand factors, as well as a series of 40 recommendations that will help remove barriers to broadband expansion. One key recommendation of the Plan is to help expand broadband adoption among the discounted by every means, including leveraging federal programs such as the FCC’s Lifeline pilot program.

Connect Puerto Rico is a partner of the Puerto Rico Broadband Taskforce and has worked with multiple stakeholders across the island to ensure that this FCC pilot program opportunity was fully leveraged by eligible broadband providers. To that end, Connect Puerto Rico conducted seminars and multiple outreach efforts to ensure that broadband providers across the island had all the information on hand to submit winning bids. Connect Puerto Rico also partnered with one of the winning bidders, PR Wireless, to provide discount computer offers to participants in the pilot program.

We congratulate the winning bidders and the many low-income residents across Puerto Rico who will be able to move to the right side of the digital divide and partake in the benefits of broadband thanks to this pilot program.

For more information about the winning bids, see here.

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