November 13, 2010

Critical Hub Networks (Caribe.Net) announced that it has officially activated the Puerto Rico Bridge Initiative’s fiber optic network between Puerto Rico and Florida and has begun final network testing.

“While there are many factors at play, broadband in Puerto Rico is simply too expensive and too slow, when compared to the rest of the nation. The goal of the Puerto Rico Bridge Initiative is to solve this - bringing fast, affordable broadband to all residents”

In April, Critical Hub was awarded $25.7 million in Recovery Act (ARRA) funds through the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) for the Puerto Rico Bridge Initiative (PRBI) to bring fast, affordable broadband Internet service to all of Puerto Rico. $6.8 million in matching funds was also contributed by Critical Hub to the project.

The PRBI is an unprecedented initiative aimed at harnessing the power of the Internet to help solve the island’s economic crisis. PRBI brings together broadband Internet Service Providers, government and users in an innovative solution focused on solving the problems behind Puerto Rico’s lagging broadband Internet network.

“Since the funding of the project in April of this year, Critical Hub has made great strides in deploying this first key phase of our project,” said Carlo Marazzi, President of Critical Hub. “Over the next 30 days we will conduct final network testing in conjunction with broadband providers, with a target activation date of January 17, 2011.”

Puerto Rico’s broadband Internet penetration rate is the lowest in the nation, with less than 40% of households subscribing to broadband Internet services. “While there are many factors at play, broadband in Puerto Rico is simply too expensive and too slow, when compared to the rest of the nation. The goal of the Puerto Rico Bridge Initiative is to solve this - bringing fast, affordable broadband to all residents,” stated Marazzi.

“High-speed broadband access and connectivity are vital for economic growth, job creation, global competitiveness, world-class education, innovation and creativity. The PRBI is designed to bring Puerto Rico to a level comparable to the mainland, in terms of affordability and accessibility to fast broadband service,” stated Critical Hub Network’s ARRA grant proposal.

Funding for the Puerto Rico Bridge Initiative comes from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), an agency of the US Department of Commerce, under the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009, also known as the ARRA or the Recovery Act. The Recovery Act provided a total of $7.2 billion to fund projects that will expand access to and adoption of broadband services. Of that funding, NTIA awarded $4.7 billion in grants to deploy broadband infrastructure in the United States, expand public computer center capacity, and encourage sustainable adoption of broadband service.

For more information at http://www.broadbandusa.gov>

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