$77M Available from USF to Restore Communications in Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands
Thursday, October 05, 2017 | Comments

Responding to the destruction of communications networks wreaked by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the FCC took steps to immediately provide up to $76.9 million to help restore service.

The FCC unanimously voted to immediately provide carriers with up to seven months’ worth of support from the FCC’s Universal Service Fund (USF), which helps lower the cost of deploying service in areas that are costly to serve. The funds can be used to repair telecommunications infrastructure and restore service to customers across the islands.

Maria’s direct hit of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands Sept. 20 left the vast majority of cell sites out of service and nearly all consumers without either cable or wireline services. As of Oct. 3, about 88 percent of cell sites were out of service in Puerto Rico and 67 percent were out in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The FCC’s actions are intended to enable carriers to restore essential communications services as quickly as possible. FCC staff will help coordinate network repair activities to ensure that the greatest coverage is available to the most people.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai proposed the order earlier this week.

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