FCC Chairman Commends Public-Safety Community After Puerto Rico Visit
Tuesday, November 07, 2017 | Comments

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai wrapped up a two-day visit to Puerto Rico on Monday, where he met with government and industry officials to see and hear about the status of recovery efforts following Hurricane Maria.

“The devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria has been unimaginable,” he said. “I saw some of it for myself, from a mountaintop tower in El Yunque National Forest, which is hard to reach due to storm damage but is precariously operational, to destroyed homes in San Juan. The path to recovery has met several challenges, most notably the lack of power and functional infrastructure. One thing is clear: Overcoming these challenges won’t be easy.”

Paid said he was heartened by the dedication of the public-safety community to the people of Puerto Rico. He cited Federal Emergency Management Agency staff including communications personnel in Emergency Support Function (ESF)-2, the Puerto Rico Telecommunications Regulatory Board and the FCC’s Roberto Mussenden, who has spent the past month away from his family on the mainland to help the island where he grew up. “Additionally, amateur radio operators, broadcasters, cable operators, fixed wireless companies, wireline carriers, and mobile providers have stepped up to the plate, working overtime to connect the disconnected,” Pai said.

Pai visited various parts of San Juan and towns along the northeast Puerto Rican coast. He also inspected a tower site and associated infrastructure on mountains in El Yunque National Forest. This infrastructure serves a critical role in providing connectivity in the eastern part of Puerto Rico, particularly for first responders.

He attended a detailed briefing hosted by FEMA and attended by staff from ESF-2, the Army Corps of Engineers, the National Weather Service, the Small Business Administration and others, covering everything from the status of communications networks to the state of the water supply to debris removal. Pai also met with representatives from numerous communications entities, including fixed wireless providers, radio broadcasters, wired providers and wireless companies such as AT&T, Open Mobile, T-Mobile and Verizon.

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