El miércoles, 12 de abril de 2023 se celebró el primer Smart Island Summit en el Centro de Convenciones de Puerto Rico. Éste se enfocó en la conectividad de la Isla, creando un espacio para la industria de telecomunicaciones, y demás entidades asociadas al proyecto puedan hacerse parte de la conversación que nos llevará a Reducir la Brecha Digital en Puerto Rico.
El propósito es facilitar un esfuerzo de colaboración entre los municipios, líderes de la industria de telecomunicaciones, académicos, defensores y agencias gubernamentales para abordar los desafíos y oportunidades relacionados con la conectividad de banda ancha y desarrollar estrategias para mejorar el acceso y adopción de Internet de alta velocidad.
The Capital Projects Fund program helps state governments fund capital projects and infrastructure. It works to expand high-speed internet to deliver vital services that will ensure that all communities have access to the high-quality modern infrastructure, including broadband, needed to access critical services. This will support broadband infrastructure grants designed, upon project completion, to deliver reliable internet service that meets or exceeds symmetrical download and upload speeds of 100 megabits per second (Mbps), speeds that are needed for a household with multiple users to simultaneously access the internet to telework and access education and health monitoring. Treasury designed its guidance to prioritize connecting families and businesses with poor and inadequate service – particularly those in rural and remote areas. Projects must directly enable all three activities of work, education, and health monitoring.
Infrastructure – Planning – Adoption
• The Capital Project invests in capital assets designed to directly enable work, education, and health monitoring.
• Address a critical need that resulted from or was apparent or exacerbated by the COVID-19 public health emergency.
• Broadband Infrastructure Projects
• Digital Connectivity Technology Projects
• Multi-Purpose Community Facility Projects
The Puerto Rico Broadband Infrastructure Fund complements the existing federally funded programs to accelerate growth supporting in expansion efforts in broadband access and expand resident adoption and use of online resources, develop necessary and reliable data through an assessment of broadband availability, incentivize private sector investments in broadband build-out, and improve access to faster speed offerings in underserved areas. This fund should helpovercome barriers to broadband expansion, ensure that all residents, enterprises, and publicinstitutions in Puerto Rico benefit from this capacity, and ensure that critical public institutions(e.g., schools, hospitals, libraries) can stay connected.
• Developing and implementing a purpose-built broadband program for Puerto Rico
• Updating the Puerto Rico Broadband Strategic Assessment, and establishing a system for continual updates, data analysis and maintenance
• Providing increased penetration and faster connectivity to users, at levels compatible with the 2015 Puerto Rico Strategic Assessment (100/50) and higher than minimum federal requirements (25/3)
• Connecting critical public institutions, including schools, hospitals, and libraries
• Enhancing resiliency of infrastructure by favoring buried conduit over aerial infrastructure· Encouraging the participation of local vendors
• Providing for roll out over a shorter timeframe (3-years as opposed to 10 years)
• Enabling up-to-date and reliable local data distribution supporting FCC monitoring and assessing the digital divide
The Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program, established by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), grant funds to be utilized to build high-speed internet infrastructure where needed, supports job training, provides the equipment needed, and drives partnerships to get everyone online. BEAD prioritizes unserved locations that have no internet access or that only have access under 25/3 Mbps and underserved locations only have access under 100/20 Mbps. Because this is a federal grant each state must submit a five-year action plan, which identifies locations that should be prioritized for support, and outlines how best to serve unconnected locations and how long it would take to build out universal broadband.
Destination of funds:
Infrastructure – Planning - Adoption
• Planning for the deployment of high-speed Internet, including conducting research, collecting data, outreach, and training
• Deploying or upgrading Internet in unserved or underserved areas or improving service to community anchor organizations
• Installing Internet and Wi-Fi in multi-unit residential buildings
• Adoption and digital equity programs
• Workforce development programs and vocational training
The Digital Equity Planning Grant is a planning and implementation program that promotes the achievement of digital equality, support digital inclusion activities, and build capacity for efforts by States, & Territories relating to the adoption of broadband by residents. They aim to ensure that all communities can access and use affordable, reliable high-speed internet to meet their needs and improve their lives. The three programs include two state formula programs and one competitive program.
• Develop, implement, and oversee digital equity plans
• Make awards to other entities to help in developing digital equity plans
• Improve the online accessibility and inclusivity of public resources· Implement digital equity plans and digital inclusion activities
• Provide digital literacy and skills education to covered populations
• Facilitate the adoption of high-speed Internet by covered populations
The Middle Mile (MM) Grant Program provides up to $1 billion in funding for the construction, improvement, or acquisition of middle mile infrastructure. This means the improving or creating the segment of a telecommunications network linking a network operator's core network to the local network base. This program will expand middle mile infrastructure, to reduce the cost of connecting unserved and underserved areas. Middle mile infrastructure broadly refers to the midsection of Internet infrastructure that carries large amounts of data at high speeds over long distances. This program will also increase the resilience of Internet infrastructure.
This grant can be used for the construction, improvement, or acquisition of middle mile infrastructure:
• Construction, improvement, or acquisition of facilities and equipment
• Engineering design, permitting and work related to project reviews· Personnel costs, incl. salaries and benefits for staff and consultants
• Other costs necessary to programmatic activities