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The Gigabit Island Plan
The Gigabit Island Plan is a project of the Puerto Rico Broadband Taskforce, a public-private partnership of broadband stakeholders whose mission is to help define and implement policies to accelerate growth in broadband access and expand citizen adoption and use of online resources to improve the lives and economic opportunities of all Puerto Ricans.
In 2012, the Puerto Rico Broadband Taskforce, working with nonprofit organization Connect Puerto Rico, unveiled the first-ever Puerto Rico Broadband Strategic Plan. This groundbreaking plan aimed to assess the digital divide in Puerto Rico and formulate a series of recommendations regarding twenty-first century technology infrastructure and broadband adoption opportunities to strengthen the economy, increase access to healthcare, and enhance education via technology in Puerto Rico.
To achieve this vision, the Plan set 25 strategic goals for access, adoption, and use of broadband in Puerto Rico, and recommended 40 specific policy strategies aimed at achieving those goals on the Island.
Public and private stakeholders throughout Puerto Rico took note. Since the release of the 2012 Plan, investment in broadband capacity expansion has steadily increased. As of June 2014, 78% of Puerto Rico households had broadband service available at download speeds of 10 Mbps or higher, a sizeable increase from less than 25% of households in 2011. Additionally, 53% of households in Puerto Rico have broadband available at download speeds of 100 Mbps - a percentage that was zero just 4 years earlier. This significant infrastructure build-out demonstrates the evolving demand for broadband market growth.
According to the Puerto Rico Planning Board (Junta de Planificación) Strategic Plan for the Information sector in Puerto Rico, the Information sector has experienced an annual growth rate of 3.8% in Puerto Rico and accounted for $2.6 billion (2.5%) of Puerto Rico’s Gross Domestic Product in 2013, surpassing other major industries such as construction, which accounted for $1.381 billion of the Island’s 2013 GDP.
Yet, the 2012 Broadband Strategic Plan was only a step toward expanding broadband access, adoption, and use on the Island. As the Plan explained, “this process will not happen overnight and will require waves of reform, coordination, and adjustment across multiple agencies and functions of government, and the private sector. As such, this Broadband Strategic Plan – the first one of its kind for Puerto Rico – should be understood as the beginning of a dialogue and action plan, not the end.”
Learning from this recent expansion, the present analysis aims to continue moving the broadband capacity goals for Puerto Rico forward and sets new goals that provide Puerto Rico residents, businesses, and public institutions with access to broadband speeds of 1 gigabit per second – THE GIGABIT ISLAND.
The Gigabit Island Goals
“Gigabit Island” status requires a policy framework that will encourage public and private investment in broadband capacity build-out and growth. To do so, the Gigabit Island Plan proposes the following goals:
- By 2018, 90% of Puerto Rico households will have broadband available at download speeds of 10 Mbps.
- By 2018, 50% of Puerto Rico households will have broadband available at download speeds of 1 Gbps.
- By 2020, 99% of Puerto Rico households will have broadband available at download speeds of 10 Mbps.
- By 2020, 70% of Puerto Rico households will have broadband available at download speeds of 1 Gbps.