FCC offers another $950 million for broadband in Puerto Rico

It's hoping this will lead to 5G and fiber internet access.

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AP Foto/Carlos Giusti
AP Foto/Carlos Giusti

The FCC isn't done funding Puerto Rican broadband in the wakes of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Chairman Ajit Pai has circulated a draft order that would offer another $950 million to "storm-harden, improve and expand" broadband in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. Not surprisingly, the FCC is pitching this using the prospect of next-gen internet access as a lure. This would help deploy 5G and gigabit fiber to the territories, the agency said, helping residents "fully participate" in the digita world.

The funding comes on top of an earlier $130 million funding increase. Commissioners will consider the order at the FCC's next monthly meeting on September 26th.

Not everyone is likely to be happy with the order. Puerto Rico in particular is still reeling from the effects of the hurricanes, including extensive building damage, lost trees, power outages and basic communication gaps. A 5G connection doesn't matter much if you're still living under a tarp and can't charge your phone. This could still lay the groundwork for long-term improvements to connectivity in the area -- it's just not the only necessary funding at this stage.

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