Welcome

Welcome to the official website of the Puerto Rico Bridge Initiative (PRBI).  Funded through the National Telecommunications and Information Administration at the US Department of Commerce, the PRBI is working to improve broadband services for all residents of Puerto Rico.   We invite you to learn more about us.

Broadband

High-speed Internet or broadband is one of the most transformative communications technologies in human history. In just over a decade, broadband has completely changed commerce, public discourse, and how we interact with each other and the rest of the world. Broadband is no longer a luxury. Broadband is a necessity.

Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome to our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) section. If there a question that is not answer here you may send it to us HERE.

What are the project goals?

  • 1.Make broadband affordable for all residents of Puerto Rico.
  • 2.Make broadband universally available to all in Puerto Rico.
  • 3.Increase broadband speeds.
  • 4.Reduce per megabit prices.
  • 5.Mandate all PRBI ISP's to offer a 25% discount to all educational institutions, libraries, health care and public safety providers.
  • 6.Provide Peering to local government agencies.
  • 7.Help eliminate the digital divide, by encouraging the development of Public Computer Access & Training Centers in unserved and underserved communities
  • Encourage competition and provide Puerto Ricans with a choice of broadband providers.


How do you plan to achieve your goals?
The Puerto Rico Bridge Initiative (PRBI) is an unprecedented initiative aimed at harnessing the power of the Internet to help address our island's economic crisis. PRBI brings together Internet Service Providers, government and Internet users in an innovative solution focused on resolving the issues which cause Puerto Rico's lagging broadband networks.

The PRBI will put Puerto Rico ISPs on an equal playing field with their counterparts in the mainland through a fiberoptic bridge linking Puerto Rico to Florida.

This bridge will have the effect of reducing the cost connecting to the backbone and optimizing available network resources through peering. These changes will allow the deployment of faster, affordable broadband services and facilitate improved access to local contents.

Why this project is called the Puerto Rico Bridge Initiative?
The Puerto Rico Bridge Initiative will be a bridge which closes both a physical, geographical divide as well as the digital divide - the gap between those who benefit from digital technology and those who do not. Through this bridge, we will tackle three of the most important divisions we face economic, geographic and racial.

- Economic Divide: As Internet access becomes more expensive, those households with lower income levels are falling behind. In the United States, only 37% of households with annual income levels less than $30,000 have broadband. With Puerto Rico's median household income less than $18,000, most households cannot afford broadband. As a result, broadband penetration on the island is at extremely low levels.

- Geographic Divide: Universal access is a cornerstone of U.S. communications law. Yet, we're a long way from ensuring that all residents of Puerto Rico have access to telephone, television and cable tv services. Similarly, access to broadband services is not universal in Puerto Rico.

- Racial/Ethnic Divide: In the United States, less than 35% of Hispanic/Latino households subscribe to broadband Internet access, while 55% of non-hispanic white households are connected. Broadband can help to address many inequities that continue to pervade our nation - in our schools, our communities, our homes and our workplaces.

What was your inspiration for making the project?
In April of 2010, Critical Hub Networks invited ISPs to a round table discussion of the state of the Internet in Puerto Rico, of which 75% attended. The meeting identified four (4) key barriers which must be addressed in order to improve broadband penetration and usage. They are:
1. Constructions of last-mile infrastructure.
2. Cost associated with crossing the island; Intra-Island-Middle-Mile.
3. Digital Divide.
4. Backbone costs: Off-Island-Middle-Mile or BackBone Interconnection.

PRBI is the brainchild of Carlo Marazzi, who took on the task of addressing these problems; PRBI will tackle all 4 problems.

How does Puerto Rico internet usage Rank against the United States and the rest of the world?
In the 2008, The Communication Workers of America (CWA) invited Internet users in the US & Puerto Rico to test their bandwidth speeds. CWA published a report ranking the 50 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. In this report Puerto Rico's rank was 52 out of 52. The United States is 15th behind other industrialized countries in high speed Internet adoption, and 28th in Internet speeds. In recently released 2009 report, this negative trend continues.

When will the benefit of the PRBI project be felt?
The impact of the PRBI is almost immediate. This is a shovel-ready project. The PRBI's first interconnection point will be operational by beginning of the second quarter of the project. Additionally, the impact over the largest part of the population will be felt within the first 6 months of operation.

I don't have access to Internet in my area – what can I do?
There is an ongoing effort by the Government of Puerto Rico to create a Broadband Map which will identify broadband coverage and which will be included in the National Broadband Map. Once this map is available, PRBI will work with the partners ISP to target those areas lacking broadband services. PRBI will also be implementing a tool which will allow you to report to your lack of service, which will be provided to Internet Service Providers for use in network expansion planning.

Where can I get more information about PRBI and it's progress?
Critical Hub Networks is committed to providing updates on the PRBI's progress and accomplishments. You can follow us on Twitter @bridgetwitt as well as on our website at: www.prbridgeinitiative.org.

What was the involvement of the government in the PRBI?
The Puerto Rico Bridge Initiative received the endorsement of the Puerto Rico Department of Education, the primary local and state education agency in Puerto Rico, which serves over 526,000 students with 45,260 teachers in 1,546 schools.

The PRBI and the Puerto Rico Department of Education will work together to provide affordable broadband in all schools, and to facilitate the fast, secure delivery of content which the Department of Education is developing for students and teachers. The content will delivered via peering of the Department of Education's network with the PRBI.

PRBI also receive the endorsement of government officials, agencies, community anchor institutions and Internet Service Providers. For a list of endorsing partners, visit: http://www.prbridgeinitiative.org/partners.html.

Who supported the Puerto Rico Bridge Initiative?
PRBI also receive the endorsement of government officials, agencies, community anchor institutions (CAI) and Internet Service Providers (ISPs). For a list of endorsing partners, visit: http://www.prbridgeinitiative.org/partners.html.

What law and agency made the funds available for these project?
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 ("ARRA" or the "Recovery Act") provided the Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service (RUS) with $7.2 billion to expand access to broadband services in the United States. Of those funds, the Act provided $4.7 billion to NTIA to support the deployment of broadband infrastructure, enhance and expand public computer centers, encourage sustainable adoption of broadband service, and develop and maintain a nationwide public map of broadband service capability and availability.

Who are Critical Hub's partners and what is there role in this project?
The founding partners of the PRBI are: Caribe.Net, AeroNet Wireless Broadband, Culebra.Net, Ayustar, PRW.NET, AWS Communications and FLASSH Communications. These Internet Service Providers will be among to the first to connect to the bridge and offer the benefits to the public. All of them have committed to providing a 25% discount to all public and private schools, libraries, health care and public safety organizations in Puerto Rico. All Puerto Rico ISPs are eligible to join the PRBI.

How does this project provide a better future for Puerto Rico?
All Puerto Rico residents will benefit from the PRBI, with the expanded availability of fast, affordable broadband services from a choice of providers. PRBI will increase the competitiveness of Puerto Rico in the global economy. The availability of reliable, fast, and affordable broadband service throughout the island will create new businesses and investments opportunities, which in turn will generate additional jobs and lay the foundation for Puerto Rico's future economic growth.

How can I contact PRBI?
For more information visit: http://www.prbridgeinitiative.org/contact.html

Where can I get more information about the federal funds PRBI used?
PRBI funds are ARRA fund distributed by the National Telecommunication and Information Administration (NTIA). The NTIA has several web sites with information about these funds, including:www.broadbandusa.gov and www2.ntia.doc.gov.

Who is Critical Hub Networks?
Critical Hub Networks, Inc., a Puerto Rico corporation, is the owner & operator of Caribe.Net, Puerto Rico's first Internet Service Provider (ISP). Since its creation in 1994, Caribe.Net has recognized the importance of universal Internet access. Cariibe.Net has dedicated time, resources and money into ensuring the expansion & growth of the Internet on our beautiful island - including the support, training and facilitation of the development of other ISPs. Caribe.Net believes competition is good, and has gone out of its way to support its own competitors. Caribe.Net's leadership in the industry makes it ideal to champion this historic, unifying effort between ISPs, government, unserved & underserved communities, and our four million residents.

Through its history, Critical Hub has operated using brands including: Caribe.Net, NetBand, PuertoRico.ORG, CaribeWeb, MatrixPR, PSINet Puerto Rico, Conectate Puerto Rico and Web TV Puerto Rico.

Today Critical Hub Networks has the largest independent public data center on the island, which provides local and multinational hosting and collocation services. It also operates Caribe.Net, the first Internet backbone on the Island.

Critical Hub Network's service offering include:

  • High Speed Internet Access (Broadband)
  • Residential Broadband (up to speed of 25Mbps)
  • Colocation Hosting
  • DialUp Internet Access
  • Web, email and Application Hosting
  • Disaster Recovery Services
  • Network Management Services
  • Network Security Services
  • Wholesale/Carrier Network Services
  • Voice over IP (VoIP)