January 23, 2011

To provide quick access to the Internet for the whole Island Critical Hub Networks officially launched the project Puerto Rico Bridge Initiative (PRBI). Several Internet providers will participate to guarantee service, efficiency and economy to all broadband users.

In April 2010, Critical Hub Networks was awarded $ 25.7 million in Recovery Act (ARRA) funds through the U.S. Department of Comerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), for the Puerto Rico Bridge Initiative (PRBI) to bring fast, affordable service to all Puerto Rico. An average of $6.8 million in matching funds was also contributed by Critical Hub Networks to the project. “Since the funding of the project in April of 2010, Critical Hub has made great strides in deploying this first key phase of our project,” said Carlo Marazzi, President of Critical Hub Networks. The service for broadband Internet in Puerto Rico is 78% slower than the U.S.A. national average. "The high-speed broadband and connectivity are essential to economic growth, job creation, global competitiveness, world-class education, innovation and creativity. PRBI is designed so that Puerto Rico will be equal to the mainland, " says the Critical Hub Networks proposal.

PRBI will make broadband affordable for all, which is universally available, with more speed, and lower price per megabit. Moreover, Internet providers will offer 25% to schools, libraries, health services and public safety providers. Equally important, PRBI proposed peering (interconnection) between systems of government agencies, including the Department of Education and the Department of Health, web sites. PRBI help to eliminate the digital divide, by encouraging the development of Public Computer Access and Training Centers in unserved and underserved communities. Finally, the last PRBI goal is to foster competition and offer Puerto Ricans a wide selection of broadband providers.

Another recent achievement which benefits the project is the deal with CIARA (Center for Internet Augmented Research and Assessment) of Florida International University to establish a new point of trade for AMPATH (AmericasPath) from the headquarters of Critical Hub Networks. AMPATH serves as first point of interconnection for research enabled for science in America and the Caribbean. Through interconnection facilities in Miami, Sao Paulo, New York, St. Croix and now in San Juan, Puerto Rico's broadband services will be available to hundreds of U.S. citizens. They will also be available throughout the research and education networks to increase participation of underrepresented groups in Latin America and the Caribbean. AMPATH operates as a research center of the utmost importance, recognized by the National Science Foundation U.S..

“With the establishment of an AMPATH Exchange Point in San Juan, we are looking forward to both strengthening the participation from existing peered networks in the island - including the University of Puerto Rico – and the addition of new Puerto Rican research, education, government and health care networks in the support of international e-science.”, said Chip Cox, Chief Operations Officer of AMPATH.

“We’re thrilled to be partnering with AMPATH in the establishment of an Exchange Point here in San Juan. AMPATH’s unique cutting-edge research network and peering services with private networks including Internet2, Florida Lambda Rail and the National Lambda Rail present a unique opportunity for academic research here on the island, as well as support Puerto Rico’s transition to a knowledge-based economy”, said Carlo Marazzi, President of Critical Hub Networks.

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