FCC approves $77 million to fix communications in Puerto Rico and VI
Two weeks after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, the FCC has approved a measure providing up to $77 million to restore networks there and in the US Virgin Islands. It said that as of yesterday, 88 percent of cell sites were still down in Puerto Rico, as well as 67 percent in the USVI. While chairman Ajit Pai said “since we’ve adopted this item so expeditiously, carriers will be able to elect to have accelerated payments begin flowing this month,” fellow commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said “let’s not kid ourselves, this is not enough. The road to recovery is long.”
The money is coming from the Universal Service Fund, and the FCC says “Any funds advanced under today’s action can be used to repair telecommunications infrastructure and restore service to customers across the islands.” This payment is intended to cover up to seven months of “high-cost support” and anticipated repair costs for companies that operate the towers, listed below.