Building A Resilient Telecommunications Sector in Puerto Rico in the Aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria

Published in: Journal of Critical Infrastructure Policy, Volume 2, Number 1, pages 75–96 (Spring/Summer 2021). doi: 10.18278/jcip.2.1.7

Posted on RAND.org on August 03, 2021

by Amado Cordova, Karlyn D. Stanley, Ajay K. Kochhar, Ryan Consaul, Justin Hannah Hodiak

Read More

Access further information on this document at Journal of Critical Infrastructure Policy

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

In September 2017, following two catastrophic hurricanes, Puerto Rico's wireline, wireless and cable networks were rendered largely inoperable. As this article will illustrate, the causes of this devastating failure of the telecommunications sector were not attributable to Hurricanes Irma and Maria alone. The hurricanes revealed the fragility of Puerto Rico's telecommunications infrastructure, which failed, leaving the majority of Puerto Rican citizens without a means to communicate by phone or by Internet or to reach 911 for emergency services for weeks or months. This article will also summarize the 33 courses of action (COAs) for rebuilding the telecommunications sector that were proposed by the Homeland Security Operational Analysis Center, a Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC) operated by the RAND Corporation and adopted by the government of Puerto Rico. These COAs were prepared as part of the Congressionally mandated Puerto Rico economic and disaster recovery plan. Even though significant progress has been made toward recovery in Puerto Rico, substantial investment is still required to achieve a resilient and robust telecommunications sector. The estimated cost for the 33 COAs was $3.2 billion. The overall cost estimate for the Puerto Rico recovery plan, including all sectors, was $139 billion.

Research conducted by

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/principles.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.