FCC Votes To Strengthen Network Resiliency in Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands

The agency moves to strengthen network resiliency in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Today, the Federal Communications Commission voted to approve a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to support mobile carriers and broadband providers operating in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to strengthen their networks’ resiliency in the face of natural disasters. Public Knowledge applauds the Commission for taking action to keep consumers connected even during disasters and other emergencies, but urges the agency to locate funds for improving network resiliency across the nation.

The following can be attributed to Harold Feld, Senior Vice President at Public Knowledge:

“As today’s FCC action makes clear, although carriers have made progress toward hardening their networks in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands to withstand increasingly violent hurricane seasons, more work remains. We applaud Chairwoman Rosenworcel and her fellow Commissioners for seeing this through rather than walking away with the job half finished.

”But while the Island territories have faced unique challenges, they are not the only places subject to the increasing violence of our changing climate. In the proceeding on network resilience launched in the wake of Hurricane Ida in 2021, Public Knowledge recommended the Commission explore other ways to create incentives for network operators to harden their networks, and provide money to smaller networks or networks that face similar geographic challenges as those in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. In particular, we urged the Commission to investigate establishing a credit against regulatory fees paid by carriers for certain types of investments in reliability and resilience. We hope the Commission will open a proceeding on how to expand access to funds to harden our nation’s critical communications infrastructure.”

Members of the media may contact Communications Director Shiva Stella with inquiries, interview requests, or to join the Public Knowledge press list at shiva@publicknowledge.org or 405-249-9435.