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A resident checks her cell phone on her rooftop at dusk about two weeks after Hurricane Maria swept through the island on October 5, 2017 in San Isidro, Puerto Rico. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images
A resident checks her cell phone on her rooftop at dusk about two weeks after Hurricane Maria swept through the island on October 5, 2017 in San Isidro, Puerto Rico. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Puerto Rico set for $180 million to support 5G, Fiber to the Home expansion

The effort to introduce 5G in Puerto Rico gains traction as local telecommunications company, Claro Puerto Rico, plans a major investment.

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América Móvil — a telecommunications corporation based in Mexico — has started an effort to establish 5G and Fiber to the Home (FTTH) options through its Claro Puerto Rico unit.

Claro Puerto Rico is one of Puerto Rico’s largest telecommunications services.

5G is the fifth generation technology standard of broadband cellular networks, and its implementation began in South Korea in April of 2019. 

FTTH is a service that provides fiber-optic access solutions designed specifically for residential deployments. The networks are directly connected to individual homes or multi-tenant buildings.

The investment was reported first in El Vocero, a free local newspaper based in San Juan. The newspaper attributed the announcement to Claro Puerto Rico CEO Enrique Ortiz de Montellano.

Montellano said the investment will go towards improving 5G and FTTH networks in Puerto Rico, and be utilized to prepare infrastructure for the new hurricane season.

In the past six years, Claro Puerto Rico has put approximately $1.4 billion towards its operation. 

Now, it is expecting a rollout of over 17,500 km of FTTH cable, aimed to reach over 450,000 homes and businesses by the end of 2021. 

The telecommunications company also hopes to activate 5G networks on all Puerto Rican locations by doubling the capacity, and coverage of its over-860 antennas. 

The investment was also announced as problems with the island’s electrical grid — run by LUMA Energy — reached a boiling point with its residents.

Not only has electricity been inconsistent under the management of the private company, but electrical bills have also skyrocketed.

In response, Puerto Ricans have hit the streets in mass protests against LUMA, their government, and the U.S., which forced the privatization of the island’s power grid.

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