Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Ajit Pai has proposed to direct approximately USD954 million toward restoring and expanding communications networks in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands that were damaged and destroyed during the 2017 hurricane season. Specifically, he has proposed to create a USD750 million ‘Uniendo a Puerto Rico Fund’ (‘Bringing Puerto Rico Together Fund’) and a USD204 million ‘Connect USVI Fund’. Each of these funds will provide additional short-term assistance for restoring communications networks in the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria and longer-term support for expanding broadband access throughout the islands. The plan includes:
· an immediate infusion of approximately USD64 million in additional funding for short-term restoration efforts
· a proposal to allocate approximately USD631 million in long-term funding for the restoration and expansion of fixed broadband connectivity in Puerto Rico and the USVI
· a proposal to allocate approximately USD259 million in medium-term funding for the restoration and expansion of 4G LTE mobile broadband connectivity in Puerto Rico and the USVI.