San Juan, PR – Last week, CIO Juan E. Rodríguez announced the launch of Puerto Rico’s first islandwide broadband availability map. The web-based map gives a preliminary view of the broadband landscape in Puerto Rico. Called BroadbandStat, the application is fully interactive and puts powerful tools and information directly into the hands of anyone interested in knowing what services are available and where the opportunities for expansion exist. The Connect Puerto Rico website featuring BroadbandStat is available in both Spanish and English versions at www.connectpr.org (English) and http://es.connectpr.org/ (Spanish).
Much like the revolutionary impact of harnessing electricity or the telephone, high-speed Internet connection is Puerto Rico’s lifeline to future prosperity. The map development is funded by a federal stimulus grant and is guided by the Connect Puerto Rico initiative, under the Puerto Rico Office of the Chief Information Officer; Puerto Rico’s designated entity under the grant award. Connect Puerto Rico is a subsidiary of the national nonprofit Connected Nation.
“The Connect Puerto Rico initiative and the BroadbandStat website place Puerto Rico on a trajectory for reaching its broadband goals — goals that will have far-reaching implications for the future of the territory, such as expanding economic opportunities and innovation, increasing trade and productivity, fostering new investments and job creation, and enabling the cost-effective delivery of essential social services to the public at-large. By increasing broadband access and use across the island, Puerto Rico is facing a brighter future, with greater opportunities for enhanced economic empowerment,” said Rodríguez.
“With this unveiling of the preliminary map, we seek to receive public feedback and encourage provider participation. So far, 8 of 16 broadband service providers in Puerto Rico are participating in the initial phase of the mapping project. Of those eight, only four are represented on the map. We would like there to be more and hope that this release will demonstrate to the service provider community the utility and value of this map,” Rodríguez said.
The goal for the initiative is to increase broadband availability and adoption across the island and link every community in Puerto Rico to economic opportunity. Findings in the National Broadband Plan reinforced this goal by indicating that, “Broadband and the Internet make it possible for small businesses to reach new markets and improve their business processes. It is a core infrastructure component for local communities seeking to attract new industries and skilled work forces. As a result, small businesses, workers, and communities must have the broadband infrastructure, training, and tools to participate and compete in a changing economy.”
“Broadband is an integral part of the modern day economy. High-speed Internet enables access to quality jobs, information, education, and vital healthcare services. We are proud to be partners with the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, through this initiative, to create an inventory of its broadband capacity and identify the areas where broadband doesn’t exist and enhance the quality of service in areas that are currently being served so that citizens may enjoy the unlimited benefits of a faster connection,” explains Brian Mefford, CEO of Connect Puerto Rico’s parent company, Connected Nation.
Connect Puerto Rico is funded through a $1.4 million award by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to launch the initiative in the commonwealth and carry out the work. Under the NTIA State Broadband Data and Development grant program, Connect Puerto Rico is charged with creating islandwide awareness, mapping, maintaining Puerto Rico’s broadband inventory, and conducting planning efforts. These funds are part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. NTIA, as required by the ARRA, will use these data to make a national broadband map by February 17, 2011.
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