WASHINGTON—About six months after Hurricane Maria made landfall and nearly four months after an initial trip to the islands, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has announced a follow-up trip to the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico to review recovery efforts of the islands’ communications facilities.
Pai will visit the islands with members of the FCC’s Hurricane Recovery Task Force as part of its efforts to learn from the devastating hurricane season in 2017 and apply those lessons to future disasters, as well as continuing to support ongoing recovery.
Recovery efforts that have already been made by the Commission since Hurricane Maria have included advancing the territories’ nearly $77 million universal service funding, accelerated the post-incentive auction transition to support broadcasters, granted temporary waivers of Lifeline’s recertification rules, expedited the experimental license for Alphabet’s Project Loon to provider internet access, approved targeted and flexible E-Rate support to restore connectivity in schools and libraries, and granted more than 500 waivers and requests for Special Temporary Authority to re-establish communications in affected areas.
“I look forward to leading a team to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to get a firsthand assessment of the situation on the ground,” said Pai in the FCC’s announcement. “It’s important to learn what has worked well and what could be done better—and to apply those lessons to future storms.”
Pai will visit the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico from March 7-10.