- Language: English
- Published: August 2012
- Region: Global
Country Report Puerto Rico
- ID: 2138738
- February 2015
- Region: Puerto Rico
- 17 Pages
- The Economist Intelligence Unit
On February 18th the Puerto Rican Broadband Task Force (PRBT), a public-private partnership, released an ambitious plan to roll out extremely fast Internet services across the territory by 2020.
The "Gigabit Island" plan would require millions of dollars in US federal government and private-sector funding, which has not been fully secured. If it materialises, however, it will offer some promise of boosting the island's economic prospects. The plan-which is being supported by the Partido Popular Democrático (PPP) government of Governor Alejandro García Padilla, agencies and private-sector groups-hopes to connect at least 70% of the island's households with broadband capable of one gigabit per second downloads by 2020. That speed would enable easy video downloads and facilitate large data transfers, which would hopefully spur business expansion and entrepreneurial activity. Currently, 90% of Puerto Rican households have broadband connections with download speeds of three megabits per second, or about 300% slower than the proposed plan.
The plan calls for partnerships among the island's telecom operators, public agencies and other groups. For instance, a pilot project being proposed as part of the plan would roll out a 10-mile loop of fibre in San Juan, largely using underused ducts that currently serve as conduits for streetlights. That would eliminate the need for costly digging. The ducts' owner, the Puerto Rico Department of Transportation and Public Works (DTOP,) could then auction off their use to telecoms companies. The Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority (PRASA) plans to use a similar technique to run broadband along its existing infrastructure, which will require the agency to invest millions of dollars. According to the PRBT, piggybacking on existing conduits could shave off as much as 75% of the US$100,000 cost per mile to lay fibre if excavation is required. The full costs of the project are not explicitly detailed in the plan, though it does note that the territory regularly benefits from millions of dollars in US federal government subsidies aimed at promoting rural Internet access. Though a concerted public-private sector effort could conceivably mobilise the necessary resources, firms will need to be convinced of the payoff in order to be induced to invest. SHOW LESS READ MORE >
Country Report Puerto Rico
Leaders plan territory-wide ultra-fast Internet access
Impact on the forecast