Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico debates easing requirements for small cell deployment

Bnamericas Published: Monday, February 18, 2019
Puerto Rico debates easing requirements for small cell deployment

Puerto Rico's chamber of representatives is discussing a bill that could allow for easier deployment of small cell, low-power, short range telecommunications base stations seen as crucial for the deployment of 5G, according to media reports.

Project 1976 will set the regulations and permit a framework for the deployment of small cells on the island, as the country tries to avoid a repeat of the effects of hurricane Maria that left large swaths of Puerto Rico without telecommunications for months.

The hurricane "made clear the importance of having a resilient, robust telecommunications infrastructure," Víctor Parés, the bill's sponsor, was quoted as saying. "In Puerto Rico telecommunications are an essential service, which makes it necessary to have advanced technology on par with the growing demand of wireless services," he added.

The bill will fill a hole in the island legislation to bridge the differences between regular telecommunications towers and the smaller, shorter range and sometimes indoor small cells, which use higher, more data-dense radio frequencies to provide faster telecommunications, Parés added.

Puerto Rico is a test bed for 5G services in the US, with the local unit of América Móvil planning to test the technology locally by the middle of the year, and T-Mobile planning its deployment by 2020 after launching its 600MHz LTE network last year.


The island's telecoms companies have fully recovered from the effects of the hurricane and have invested heavily on updating infrastructure. They buried their coastal fiber optics network, installed stronger telephone poles and laid a second submarine cable to connect the island via the southern coast, Zaida Cordero, the head of telecoms regulator NETPR was quoted as saying in a statement by Puerto Rico's local legislative power.

Plans to reduce the impact of a potential new hurricane include a microwave network for the more remote, insular municipalities of Vieques and Culebra, she added.

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