The FCC's Wireless Telecommunications Bureau today granted Special Temporary Authority to AT&T to use additional spectrum to serve Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Commission is granting AT&T access to the AWS-4 spectrum, currently licensed to DISH, for 60 days to expand its network capacity to meet expected increases in network traffic as a result of more Americans on the islands working from home, social distancing, and sheltering in place. 'Staying connected while staying apart is the reality right now across America during this pandemic, and that is no less true for those living in Puerto Rico and U.S Virgin Islands,' said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. 'We have put a special emphasis on helping those on the islands stay connected following the terrible storms that hit them in recent years. And we continue that work today in a new kind of emergency. I thank DISH for consenting to this use of its spectrum and to the U.S. Department of Justice for its cooperation. I'm grateful to AT&T for requesting this STA and I'm pleased we can grant it.' The FCC has granted Special Temporary Authority to a number of carriers around the country since the start of the national emergency. This increased wireless capacity is essential to keeping Americans connected and is an essential complement to the Keep Americans Connected Pledge launched by Chairman Pai, pursuant to which over 500 broadband and phone service providers have now publicly committed to take specific steps to keep their customers online during the crisis. More information on the Pledge and associated efforts is available at: https://www.fcc.gov/keep-americans-connected. The FCC has placed a special priority on ensuring that communications networks are available and resilient for the people of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Last year, the Commission voted to allocate more than $900 million in support for fixed and mobile broadband networks on the islands through the Uniendo a Puerto Rico Fund and the Connect USVI Fund.
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