Broadband’s ability to expand educational and employment opportunities is especially meaningful for Americans who are deaf or hard of hearing, a community that faces unique challenges in education and that suffers from a rate of unemployment much higher than the national average. Communication Service for the Deaf, Inc. (CSD) intends to expand broadband adoption among people who are deaf and hard of hearing and provide them with online tools to more fully participate in the digital economy. The project proposes to employ a combination of discounted broadband service and specialized computers, technology training from an online state-of-the art support center customized to the community’s needs, public access to videophones at anchor institutions from coast to coast, and a nationwide outreach initiative. Thousands will gain online access to all the Internet has to offer, including sign language interpreters, captioned video services, and other content and functionalities designed especially to advance their educational, employment, and healthcare interests.
The Puerto Rico Bridge Initiative plans to provide fast, affordable broadband connectivity for last-mile Internet service providers and underserved areas of Puerto Rico, including the islands of Culebra and Vieques, by establishing a broadband “bridge” to the United States mainland and deploying a high-capacity middle-mile network on the islands. The project plans to purchase a 10 Gbps undersea fiber-optic cable directly connecting to Miami and deploy more than 180 miles of terrestrial middle-mile microwave network using 11 towers. The network will offer speeds from 100 Mbps to 1 Gbps to anchor institutions and last-mile providers. More than 1,700 community anchor institutions are expected to be directly connected, including more than 1,500 K-12 schools.
The Construction of Broadband Infrastructure project intends to expand broadband Internet access within some of the neediest areas of Puerto Rico by deploying a multifaceted 515-mile network that will include both wireless and fiber connections. The project plans to directly connect nearly 250 anchor institutions, including higher education facilities, hospitals, municipal facilities, police stations, and libraries. The project also expects to facilitate faster and more affordable broadband Internet access for local consumers, including approximately 300 anchor institutions, 136,000 households, and 600 businesses and industrial centers, by enabling local service providers to connect to the project’s open network. In addition, the project will extend free Wi-Fi hotspots to further promote digital literacy to low-income adults and youth.
Data Collection, Integration, and Validation:
This project was originally funded for broadband planning activities and two years of data collection. In September of 2010, this project was amended to extend data collection activities for an additional three years and to identify and implement best practices.