Report on Recovery Plan for the Communications and Information Technology Sector After Hurricanes Irma and Maria

After the devastating 2017 hurricane season, the U.S. Homeland Security Operational Analysis Center supported the congressionally mandated economic and disaster recovery plan, Transformation and Innovation in the Wake of Devastation: An Economic and Disaster Recovery Plan for Puerto Rico. This report contributes to the overall plan with a focus on the communications and information technology (IT) sector.
Laying the Foundation for the Digital Transformation of Puerto Rico
Researchers provide an introduction to the sector (brief history, key assets, prestorm conditions and challenges, and governance); assess damage and needs of the sector; and present 33 courses of action (COAs) for the recovery, rebuilding, and enhancement of the sector with an emphasis on developing and sustaining a resilient, state-of-the-art communications network and furthering the vision for the digital transformation of Puerto Rico.
Developed in consultation with a wide variety of stakeholders, including governmental entities, commercial providers, citizens, and municipalities, the COAs address many different (and sometimes competing) needs and also support and benefit COAs in other critical sectors, such as health and social services. The relationships among the communications and IT COAs are outlined. The estimated cost for these COAs is $3.2 billion. Potential sources of funding are also included in the report.
Key Findings
Puerto Rico must develop and implement a state-of-the art, survivable, resilient communications infrastructure
This infrastructure is essential for continuity of essential government functions and the provision of public safety services and must be well maintained and fully resourced.
It must provide commercial telecommunication services, including voice and data services, to residents and the private sector and support affordable access to broadband internet service and emerging technologies throughout Puerto Rico.
It is crucial for furthering the economic and social vitality of Puerto Rico and should thus host applications and web services that foster government and private-sector innovation, increase economic opportunity, and improve the quality of life for the residents of Puerto Rico.
This report details 33 specific COAs addressing the needs for recovery of the Communications/IT sector in ways that are sustainable and resilient; describes how they build on and support one another; and explains how COAs will further the economic development of Puerto Rico and the wellbeing of its residents.
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