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Groups Urge FCC to Address Telecom Needs of Puerto Rico

in Broadband Updates/Broadband's Impact/FCC/National Broadband Plan/States by

WASHINGTON, April 8, 2010 – Groups advocating minority rights have sent a letter to the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission expressing their dismay that Puerto Rico does not experience the same telecommunications services that other U.S. jurisdictions enjoy.

“After more than 14 years, the FCC has yet to implement Congress’s mandate in the 1996 Act to adopt high cost universal service funding for insular areas,” wrote groups such as the ASPIRA Association, Hispanic Institute and Minority Media and Telecommunications Council.

The letter criticizes the FCC’s National Broadband Plan for failing to mention insular areas and says: “As Puerto Rico’s per capita income is approximately 30 percent of the national average and less than half that of the lowest U.S. state, affordable broadband is critical to Puerto Rico’s economy and its people.”

The groups argue that although the FCC has supported wireline and wireless telecom services in rural areas and certain high cost areas in the United States, it has not adopted a funding mechanism to address the “unique needs of high cost non-rural insular areas like Puerto Rico.”

Other authors of the letter are: Communications Workers of America, Hispanic Technology and Telecommunications Partnership, MANA, Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology Association, League of United Latin American Citizens, National Council of La Raza, National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators, National Puerto Rican Coalition and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

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